Office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday. Not because they aren’t smart, but because they were never taught organizing skills to cope with the increasing workloads and demands according to the Wall Street Journal Report
Does your workday evaporate and suddenly it’s the end of the day? Do you think you lack skills to manage quickly multiplying projects? Does your day feel chaotic rather than organized? It all comes down to learning skills for prioritizing, organizing and planning to help you manage your work and your work load.
Prioritizing: learning the skill of knowing what to do
There are many good ideas for your work. Not every idea has equal benefit. Some times these ideas can be linear in implementation and some times these depend on preliminary successes. Start by gathering all these ideas together in a list.
This is strategic planning time where you create a big picture of what will move your business forward. This planning can be accomplished annually or monthly with an overview of goals for the year and specific actions assigned to a month. Without this planning, you may be working on tasks that keep you from bigger accomplishments and increased revenue. With this planning you are prepared for the weeks, months and quarters ahead that yield the results you want to see.
On your planner, schedule this time on a mid-month morning for a monthly overview. You can use a dashboard with data to drive your assessment of successes and next steps for planning. This dashboard can be consolidated data from customer information, income and expenses and marketing information. By assessing your successes, you are celebrating and setting plans for next steps.
Intuitively you may know the priorities and may be ready to list these. However, an additional professional tip is that you may need to talk through your priorities to set these. Having a list may not be enough to help you strategize. Partner up with a trusted colleague or advisor to help you sort through and sequence your list.
Organizing: learning the skill of when to do
Drill down to the specific tactics to gain traction on your plan. Week by week specific tasks will accomplish this. Set aside weekly planning time to be prepared for the weeks, months and quarters ahead. That weekly planning time should occur at the same time every week. Use time blocking during your weekly planning time to schedule these tasks.
With the best plan, limiting distractions is key. Set a time in your day to check email and update information received by text or other communication. These distractions take time and energy away from your actual work. If you find yourself low in energy, drink water or take a short walk outside or around the office. At times a “warm up” is needed to move into a work flow. Add time at the end of a work session to leave yourself notes on where you ended to jump start your next session.
Organizing: learning the skill of how to access and categorize resources
This is the most frequent flaw for work. With multiple projects, you want to have outstanding organizing to find what you need when you are ready to work. This organizing pertains to how to access and categorize your resources and materials to work. You will have to organize your resources and documents digitally and on paper. Set up your resources by the name of the projects and the name of the client. Create digital files for the documents that parallel paper files. These can be on your device desktop digitally and should later move to document files. Paper files can be easily accessed in a file cart or a physical desk top sorter.
Planning: learning the skill of tracking
Next, keep this plan easy to see and accomplish. There are many ways to organize this information. Digital planners and apps such as Asana and Trello help you schedule your work, consolidate the information and keep you accountable with reminders. Paper planners such as Planner Pad, Bullet Journal or Blue Sky week at a glance planners offer you visual support for your plan. Write in and record as much as you can to keep you on track on your work. A professional tip is to color code your projects. Color coding is instant recognition of a project. Use post it notes in colors that coordinate with each project or dry erase colored markers on a white board to keep your work easy to see.
Planning: learning how to manage multiple priorities and work as a team
Workloads are increasing exponentially. How we do keep going with more and more to do?
- Collaboration with colleagues for a team approach. Your skills may not match the work requirements. A colleague could help you learn a new skill and become more efficient.
- Communication with your colleagues with real data on time allocation. Share the time it takes to accomplish a task so that those you work with know this information.
- Delegation with an assistant can help you do the most important work. Carefully delegate with small tasks leading to bigger tasks. Provide check points for your collaboration to ensure you are both on the same page.
- Further planning to ensure your priorities are on track.
The skills of prioritizing, planning and organizing will all help you be more productive each day. In addition, remember to prioritize self-care to maximize your efficiency, your effectiveness and your productivity. It is most important to get a good night’s rest every night. By combining your new skills and priorities you will reap the benefits.