You have client appointments to keep, emails to answer, phone calls to return and a staff luncheon to attend. Your little yellow sticky’s are everywhere and you have even jotted down a few notes on a napkin or two and will transcribe them later. Your voicemail mailbox is full and there is a stack of “snail mail” on your desk awaiting your attention. How did it get like this when you were caught up two weeks ago? Are you experiencing high-anxiety because you fear losing important work information or missing that critical phone call or client meeting?
In our “fast food” society, more and more we are sucked into the work zone and can’t seem to get enough done. There are simply not enough minutes in each hour and certainly not enough hours in each day. Organization is critical; not only to your business success, but for mental stability!
Few Quick Tips For Success
Here are a few quick tips that will save you time and ease your mind. Not only will they help keep you organized, they will prevent the chaos from snowballing and pushing you further behind. Yes, they can seem tedious in nature, but if you are not already well-versed in project or time management, your profit margin and your mental health will suffer!
In the old days, I lived by my “Daytimer”. It was the little six-ring binder with my calendar, contact information, business cards and more. It was my little “brain book” and I was lost without it. Okay, so I have evolved a bit and don’t use the traditional “Daytimer”, but something similar in my iPhone. The iPhone is mainly for my contacts these days, but it also can synch with your email client and do more. Technology is fantastic, if you will take the time to use it.
I’m all about lists! Lists do many things for you. They help you track your most important “To-Dos” as well as allowing you a small form of accomplishment as you mark things off. It assures you that things are getting done. Make lists! Use one notepad or one computer file and keep it updated. Add to it, mark things off and understand that it is a dynamic document. Check it before you begin your day. Check it again, before you end your workday to ensure you are lined up for the following day. You will sleep much better at night as your subconscious prepares you for the upcoming day.
Keep your desktop organized. If you must daily deal with actual paper documents, have an “inbox”, along with a “To Be Filed” box, “Immediate Attention” box and so on. Then, when something hits your desk, immediately place it in the appropriate box and don’t allow your “snail mail” to pile up. Do Not put it off until later. Later costs you more time as you have already looked at the envelope and thought about what the item is and where it will later go. If you wait until later, you will have expended more than twice the amount of time.
Scheduling Repetitive Tasks
Many of us have certain tasks that we must perform each week to sustain an on-going project. Schedule it – every Tuesday and Friday from 1 to 3 p.m., for example. Don’t keep putting it off. This routine will make you more efficient and allow you to mentally prepare for that specific task.
With many projects…, from building a house to creating a short list of things to do, they can first be overwhelming. As my old Physics teacher used to say, “Better to begin with something and change it, than try to complete the task with nothing.” Take a birds-eye view and jot down the major points of what needs to be done. Then, rearrange these points by timing or importance and create and outline. After the outline is complete, you can then attack each component and break it down again.
These are my top 5 organization elements for success. If you can learn to do these things, with practice, you will become much more efficient and a lot less likely to shoot the messenger or have a mental meltdown! Additionally, it will impress your co-workers and quite possibly your clients!
CEO – IT and Innovation