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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

June 27, 2023

Juggling Act: How Extension Agents Can Manage Busy Summer Schedules

Submitted by Carla Nemecek

Extension agents play a crucial role in providing expertise and educational resources to families, farmers, gardeners and communities. However, the summer season often brings a surge in demands for our services, as agricultural activities peak and youth are out of school and eager to participate in summer activities and camps.

To effectively navigate busy schedules, extension agents must employ strategic planning, efficient time management, and effective communication. I hope you can utilize the tips and tricks that I'll share below to explore the challenges faced by extension agents during the summer months and discover how to manage hectic schedules while delivering valuable support to constituents.

Extension agents wear multiple hats, juggling such responsibilities as field visits, workshops, seminars and administrative tasks. With summer bringing a flurry of activities, agents need to prioritize tasks based on urgency and impact. By setting clear priorities, agents can ensure their time and effort is selectively dedicated to the most pressing needs of stakeholders.

Effective time management is essential for summer schedule management. Carefully planning schedules, considering the geographic distribution of clients, the timing of seasonal events, and the availability of resources can ensure that you can be where you are needed most.

Extension agents often work as part of the larger KSRE team, which provides an opportunity for collaboration and delegation. During busy summers, agents can divide responsibilities among team members in the local office to ensure that each person's expertise is utilized efficiently.

By sharing the workload, agents can collectively manage the demands of the season and provide comprehensive coverage across various areas. Delegating tasks allows extension agents to focus on core competencies, while also fostering professional development within teams.

In today's digital age, technology plays a pivotal role in managing busy schedules. Extension agents can utilize various tools and platforms to streamline work processes. Online scheduling applications, project management software, and mobile apps can help to stay organized, track progress, and communicate with clients effectively.

Clear and concise communication is crucial for extension agents to manage their summer schedules successfully. By proactively reaching out to clients, agents can establish expectations, share information, and provide updates on their availability.

Agents can leverage various communication channels -- such as email, phone calls, newsletters, and social media -- to keep their stakeholders informed and engaged. Effective communication ensures that clients and those you work with are aware of your schedule to reduce the need for unnecessary follow-ups, and optimizing the use of agents' time.

Finally, don’t forget to take time for yourself and enjoy summer events and activities with family and friends. Utilize professional scheduling, plan for annual leave, and take the time you need to reconnect and recharge so that you can enjoy the bustle of K-State Research and Extension in summertime.