When we get busy or overwhelmed with projects and deadlines at work, it is easy to let our desks, files and even our computers get disorganized. here are tips on how to organize your workspaces to maximize your efficiency.
Manage Your Time
· Use a planner to track appointments and tasks. It can be a paper-based notebook, a computer software program, or an electronic handheld device.
· Create at least one hour of uninterrupted time per day to tackle projects and action items.
· Allocate twice as much time for a task as you think it will take. This accommodates for interruptions and stopping to get more information.
· Break large projects down into small, sequential steps. Schedule these steps into your day with your planner.
· List making, list making, do it every night and/or morning to get your day on track and on Sundays a general idea of what your week will look like.
Tame Your Desk
· Keep only supplies you need on a daily basis on your desktop.
· Create a paper flow system for your incoming and outgoing documents.
· Use your in box only for items that haven’t yet been reviewed.
· Avoid looking at documents and placing them back on the desk. Follow through with the decision you have made about the document.
Supercharge Your Communication
· Write an agenda before making a phone call so you don’t forget the important points.
· Keep a record or schedule follow-up calls of what you’ve delegated so it doesn’t fall through the cracks.
· Be clear about the response you need when sending messages to colleagues. They can then provide a full response, even if they don’t reach you directly.
· Sort email daily, delete first, then file into your outlook folders, lastly respond in order of importance. Have a separate email account for personal and business. If you get a personal email in business account reply or forward to your personal account.
· Create folders before sorting of course clients or accounts, a/p, a/r, marketing/advertising and so on, just like you would your filing system in your filing cabinets. Personal is a bit different, one for kids, home, banking, travel, shopping/items purchased. Each person their occupation and their lives are different so it gets setup accordingly.
Conquer Your Filing
· Create a filing system for your electronic documents that mirrors the one you have for paper. Sort, file, and purge electronic information regularly! Go through mail and email every day or at least once a week, and chuck it at the time of sorting, less to read and deal with later.
· Keep a file index (a master list of file names). Check the index before creating a new file to avoid making duplicates. Also use it when deciding where to put new documents.
· Refer to your company’s records retention plan for guidance on how long to keep documents typically 5-7 years as a business owner and 3-5 years for personal.
· Keep the most recent papers in the front of the file. Whenever you open it, the current information will be on top.
· Including your email and desktop, minimize and only have out what you use daily or refer to regularly, everything else should be saved on your hard drive or documents as the easiest title you will remember.
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