You know you saw a certain piece of paper on your desk, but can’t find it when you need it. You waste countless hours looking for this and other crucial documents amid piles of papers and ‘stuff.’ Does this sound like you? Just as there are exercises to get you into shape, this article gives simple tips to do the same with your business. Organization always increases productivity.
Here are some easy ways to make this happen:
- Prioritize – There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished, so make a to-do-list for the day and then prioritize your tasks so you know what absolutely has to get done today. Your to-do list can be handwritten, on the computer, your smartphone, whatever works best for you.
- Calendar control – Make the calendar your best friend. Include all projects/deadlines/meetings so, at a glance, you know what each month looks like and there aren’t any surprises.
- Revisit open-door policies – While it may sound good to be accessible to people all the time, the constant interruptions may make it difficult for you to concentrate or complete your own work. As a manager, you certainly need to be available to your staff, but consider setting up time periods where the staff can bring issues to you for discussion. Empower your employees to resolve or work through the issue and come to you for confirmation or approval. This shows you trust they have the skills to work more independently.
- Open mail once – Does it seem like mail multiplies on your desk, or that you end up with more piles after you’ve gone through the day’s mail? The author suggests a “three-part file system of do now, do later, and file.” If that doesn’t work for you, develop another process or consider asking your staff for suggestions. The key is to open the mail, and deal with items as they come up; not to postpone them until later and pile correspondence on your desk.
- Order online – Instead of losing productive time by sending an employee to the store, utilize company websites and order office supplies online. Also to make sure you don’t run out of supplies at inopportune times, keep a list where the staff can write down needed items as the supplies run low, not when they run out.
- Make an emergency plan – In the event of a disaster, power outage or anything in between, you want to be prepared. Keep an updated list of current phone numbers for all employees, the building manager, your insurance contacts, etc. so you can be in touch wherever you are.