As you are reading this post, I am on leave (yay!). I wrote the post before I left and set it up to publish automatically at a particular date and time.
As I thought about doing this, I recalled a comment made in the chat during the faculty meeting a few weeks back. I don't have the chat on hand at the moment, so I can't remember who offered this suggestion, but someone suggested using a similar technique for announcements in Blackboard. If you use BB announcements to give your students weekly encouragement, reminders of deadlines, etc., you can save yourself some time by creating all the announcements at one time. Then, in the options for the announcement, just select the date you want it to be available, and it won't appear to students until that day. You can still always edit them later as needed, or add other announcements along the way, but preparing several key announcements at the beginning of the semester helps ensure that you get those announcements to students right when they need them, without having to remember to do it during the crush of the regular semester.
What other tips do you have about using announcements effectively--or about things you can prepare in advance to save time later?