What are your best tips for being organised at work?(19 Posts)
Anyone got any?! I just have a giant list at the moment and its growing by the second! Hundreds of emails, large projects to manage, small ones too, recruitment on the go, small tasks, planning to do, a team to try and manage... The usual really!
Please share your best tips!
Nothing productive to add. I've bought a filofax, still waiting forever to magically change my life!
Right click on emails and colour code red for urgent/to do, blue is for answered and waiting for reply/result. Green is for can wait for next week.
To do lists
Put email folders into place and file stuff ruthlessly and set up auto file using specific subject words (Tools/Options/Rules/New Rule and follow prompts)
Put deadline dates in your outlook calender then week before each deadline put reminders of deadline in.
Per project , a milestones/deadline spreadsheet with tasks down side and dates of milestone/deadline along top. Colour coded. Red is to do/issues, blue is in process, green is completed.
Block out diary time to catch up on emails needing longer, considered reply or reseach before replying, minimum of 2hrs per day.
Use 1 hour a day usually first thing to do emails that are a one line or short 5min tasks. Aim to do around 10 at least, put your phone on voicemail if need be. First thing is often quietest time and you can get lots of annoying small stuff out of the way.
Great tips from Sazzle.
One thing that my boss does when he knows he needs to get work done is to turn off his email notifications and also set up out of office on his email to say he will not respond to emails sent between 1pm and 5pm (for example).
He then has a huge block of time to get his work done without the distraction of emails popping up.
My main tool is lists in order of priority. The more lists the better!
Stuff like Sazzle said.
I also put followup reminders in my outlook calendar. Or flag Outlook to remind me to followup a week later if I have emailed someone and need their reply.
Read "your brain at work" by David rock - it's made me much more productive
Hermione - just had a look at that book online. Looks really useful, thanks for the tip.
I book in meetings with myself to block time for things that will need more than a minute or so - it also means I can set reminders. If you've got something that's got to be done by Wednesday, you need to be reminded about it before then - if your first reminder is when it's due, you've no time to do the work.
I've got a lot of work planned for Tuesday, so Monday has some time booked in for preparation, because that will mean I've more chance of keeping to time for Tuesday.
It's worth spending a few minutes at the start of the day to review what needs doing that day - I also do it for a week - also, priorities change as deadlines get nearer, or if other people escalate something for some reason.
Learn to say no. If someone asks you to do something, are you really the best person to do it, or can someone else? Does it have to be done now? Their lack of organisation is their problem; it doesn't automatically make it yours. I also say to people, I can't deal with that now, but come back to me at 15:00. A good side effect is that people seem to be more respectful of my time since I've started doing that. Obviously you shouldn't be just getting rid of work that is really yours - but depending on your role, there may well be more appropriate people. Also, if you supervise others, look at what can be delegated - not only does this reduce the burden on you (at least in the longer term; in the shorter term, you'll have to invest some time in showing them what to do,) but it also gives them development opportunities, so they an show they can handle the responsibility of some of the things at your level.
5446 thank you! Years of practice as a PA organising flappy, panic merchant male bosses ! The current one I have to go hold his hand every time he approves a request on our internal system! Its terribly tricky pressing the approve button y'know!!
One other thing, ALWAYS put it in writing or confirm conversations in writing. Often what was 'agreed' in principle doesnt get done and then its a blame game. For audit, legal and cover your backside reasons, it pays , even if its a one liner. It also covers you if there are HR issues and 'he said, she said'.
Good tips, thank you! Will check out the book mentioned too
I use trellis.com to organise my todo lists and keep track of complicated projects and have found it extremely helpful.
Half an hour in the morning on 'do not disturb' to go through your emails (I get a few hundred a day.) write to do lists, organise and plan.
Colour code emails.
Use the calendar function on outlook to book out 'red' time where you turn off your email/ communicator/phone and STICK to it.
Write lists - get the easy stuff ticked off first and then hit the bigger stuff.
Delegate, delegate, delegate. Good support staff are worth their weight in gold. If you've got someone good you can stretch them with harder tasks - it's good for their development and great for you!
Reduce meetings. Don't let people waffle, stick to your agendas and don't be afraid to cut people off and ask them to take things offline.
Learn to say no without seeming like you're saying no.
if you can answer an email straightaway, answer it straightaway. Don't read it, close it then come back to it - that's double work. Flag the ones that need a bit more consideration before you reply using colours for urgency / priorities
Always include something on your daily to do list that you know you will get to do - it's so depressing not being able to cross anything off!
Daily Urgent high priority must do
Daily list of second priority
Daily list of aim to complete, but can roll over to next day
Work towards & stick to deadlines
Use outlook to set calender reminders for tasks that need doing in the future, even if reoccurring tasks - short term & long term reminders
Use folders to store emails that you need to keep
Use notepad on computer to keep tips
Use internet to save useful web sites
Do the tasks that need doing, not the tasks that you like doing !
Dont get distracted
Set up filters to automatically move emails into folders
I have a rule on my Inbox that copies every email I send to myself. If I need someone to reply to that email I add a due date when I need a reply. I have my inbox sorted by due date. When I clear my inbox, I then get down to today's due items and if someone hasn't replied (and I need an answer today) I email them again and give them a nudge. I delete the copied emails I don't need a response.
I also use Sazzle's colour coding in the calendar but call them my traffic lights; green for confirmed and ready for meeting, yellow for pending and waiting on people to confirm details/send agenda/etc. and red where I need to do stuff/confirm to other people/pull together paperwork. I keep a close eye on my calendar and can see at a glance what is confirmed, what I'm waiting on and where I need to do stuff. Set up shortcut keys to make this easier so... Ctrl+F2 for Action, Ctrl+F3 for Pending and Ctrl+F4 for Confirmed.
Also, save every tit bit of contact information about people as you receive it. New contact on email? Save them in contacts. Found out someone is a veggie? Save it in their contact. If you don't have much time, copy and paste the info in the notes box and just record their name. Ctrl+F2 for Action and then I go back and tidy up my contacts when I've got time.
Always do stuff on email or back up a conversation with an email.
Another one with years of looking after flappy male bosses here...
Oh, and if you want to jump to a date in the calendar then use Ctrl+G and type in the date. To go to 9 August you just need to type 9 in the box...
No luxury of voicemail here (company doesn't allow it) and there are times (when everyone is out) when I'm expected to cover eight telephone extensions. All while trying to get work done... ha!
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