Monday, January 6, 2014

An Entrepreneur’s Tips to Getting Organized at Work

My dear friend Jess started her own business in her mid-20's.  Despite the demands of running a company she amazes me with the thoughtfulness she shows to those around her.  We get a card for every occasion from her (including Valentine's Day and Halloween cards and treats for each kid!) and she always takes the time to check in with a simple text or email to stay connected to us. 

If anyone has an excuse for forgetting the little things it would be her given all she has on her plate, but she is uber organized at home and at work which allows her to be successful at work and in her personal life.

I asked Jess to give some of her tips for plowing through the endless demands at work and here are her Get It Done Tips:

I was honored when my dear friend Stephanie asked me to write a short piece for her blog. She believed that perhaps I could offer some tips since I have been called a serial multi-tasker over the years. So as I say with all advice, take what you like, expand on what inspires you, and scrap what you think is useless.

Each day we step into our offices with what feels like an insurmountable task list and sharp deadlines.  If only we had more help, more time, more of something to make the day easier. But alas it is only you against the work day.

Throughout the years, I have often reworked my organization skills with that in mind.  Here are a few tricks that work for me.

#1. Use a notebook daily.
It helps keep you grounded and organized in one spot.  Moleskins makes great professional notebooks.

The right side is for the priorities of your work day and the left side is for phone calls to make or return. Each day requires a new a page and rewriting the list of tasks still outstanding (which helps in the visualization process of completing a task).

#2. Start your day at the close of the day prior.
Take the last 5 minutes of your day to rewrite the list of outstanding items. This will make the next day smoother and more manageable. You will already have your workday mapped out which will reduce your stress. It also will help you prioritize your day so you can hit the ground running. 

#3. Come into the office 10 minutes early.
Starting your day with a positive attitude is essential to being productive. And when you have 10 minutes to clear your mind, get your priorities set and get some caffeine it helps.

#4. Spend the first hour of your day reading email, adding new tasks to your list, and sending any follow up needed for the day.
This way by the close of the workday all outstanding feedback needed should be in your in-box and it allows you to make headway with your daily workload. It also allows you to meet deadlines and be cognitive of your colleagues time giving them a chance to respond effectively to your request.

#5. Use your calendar.
Block time to complete big projects. When someone is checking your availability, it will allow you uninterrupted time to accomplish your priorities. The blue line will indicate you are busy and it won't interrupt accomplishing your goals or meeting your big project deadlines. It also provides you time to 'think', proofread, and ensure you meet deadlines.

#6. Organize your in-box.
File, file, and than file some more. If you only use your inbox for items that are outstanding, than each day when you scan your inbox and it will provided a quick snapshot. Once a task is completed file the email in corresponding file.

#7. CC: yourself on any emails you send.
This way you don't need to scan your sent box ever. And when you file your completed tasks, this makes it easy. It also lets you know the email went out and didn't get stuck in cyber space.

#8. Collaboration is key.
Think in a team mentality. We are not experts in every aspect of the business we work in. Ask for feedback, support, and even insights from your team or colleagues. It helps break up your day, aid in mental stimulation, and helps reduce stress. You would be amazed how many people are willing to help when your day is stressful. The same applies when you have some down-time, return the favor.

#9. Group your questions or follow-up in a well organized single email.
Use bullets, provide clear deadlines, and ensure it is comprehensive. It is difficult and time consuming to send multiple emails and ultimately something falls through the cracks. This avoids mistakes and keeps your tasks on point.

#10. Use the subject line with purpose.
Each time you send an email put the same project name in the field along with a deadline or added note about the situation. This way if you sort your email inbox, you can always find what you are looking for quickly.

#11. Take a break even if you think you don't have time.
Creativity can get stagnate if you lock yourself to your desk. Often when you take a short walk the answers appear. It also makes you smile which is good for your soul.

#12. Use your commute time for catching up on industry news with social media. Some of my favorite apps are: Flipboard, Pulse, and Twitter. I also set google alerts and read them en route to work in the morning so I am up to speed on the latest news in my industry.

Working smarter is a lot easier with a little organization.  The time you save can be spent making memories with family and friends.
Thank you Jess for sharing your Get It Done Tips!

No comments:

Post a Comment