Nothing gets done by thinking about it. I have lots of projects in my head. I know what needs to be done to accomplish each one of those projects. I could easily write a to-do list for each one. However, until I actually start a task – until I take action – the project will be nothing more than a great idea.
The key to keeping your office organized is to create systems – series of actions – for each function you perform. Here are some key activities:
Don’t rely on your memory.
Use a to-do list to capture everything that need to get done. If you write it down, it clears all those worrying “I know there’s something I need to do” thoughts that haunt our daily lives. Create one master list where you write ALL the projects, errands, tasks that need to get done. Review the list to determine your weekly and daily action plans.
Designate an “inbox” for the mail and any other papers that need your attention. Keep a letter opener and wastebasket nearby. Use Stephanie Wilson’s TRAF (think “traffic”) technique to process the pile. For each piece of paper, decide what needs to be done: Toss it in the trash, Refer it to someone else, Act on it, or File it for future reference.
What’s the next action?
For the papers in the Act pile, ask yourself what action is required. Do you need to make a phone call? Is it an invitation that needs an RSVP and entry into your calendar? Do you need to enter the address in your contact list? Is it a bill to pay? Is it homework to sign? Make an action decision about each item and sort them accordingly.
Know the difference between urgent (time sensitive) and important (significant consequences). Don’t get caught up in small, urgent matters and ignore what’s important.
Practice the two minute rule.
If an action can be done in two minutes, do it. It will take longer to sort and file the item than it will to simply do it.
If you put these systems in place, you will streamline your workflow and allow your office to operate smoothly and efficiently.