It is frustrating and embarrassing to miss an appointment, be late or even forget a meeting, or fail to submit a crucial report. You might have told yourself you’d get organized countless times. But how?
There are 3 things you need to know:
- Understanding your organizational issues and goals.
- Using organizational tools.
- Managing daily tasks.
Whether you are using your personal organizer, a computer scheduler, paper and pen, sticky notes, or a hand-held computer, take some time in planning your day every morning. Have a clear idea where you spend the majority of your workday and where you would like to spend your time. List down all your primary work responsibilities, how much time you spend doing these, how much time you should spend to actually do your primary responsibilities and identify what gets in the way of doing these priority responsibilities faster. Then start working on your daily appointment calendar.
Prioritize your regular day-to-day work functions. Always do the most important things first. Consider color coding your daily office tasks in their order of priority.
Whether paper or electronic, to use your time wisely, you have to see it. A calendar with a full month view is the best. You can also have a daily appointment calendar that is broken up into 30-minute time blocks.
- Enter all your known appointments, meetings, deadlines, submissions and other pertinent information on your monthly calendar. Keep this visible and accessible.
- Use your daily calendar to jot down specifics like exact meeting and appointment times. A good practice is to list the phone number of the person you are to meet. This is for your daily reference.
- When scheduling appointments, allow appropriate time for document preparation, travel time and some time to compose yourself.
- Do not over-pack your daily schedule. Spread appointments evenly throughout your workweek.
- Consider giving yourself a break during each workday – for relaxation, meditation, exercise or even a short power nap to keep your balance and work more efficiently. Factor this is your daily calendar, too.
- Give yourself advance warning. If you jotted down that a report is due on a particular day, you should have a preceding entry that tells you when you need to write that report.
For the more tech-savvy you, personal information managers are paper-less versions that provide even better options than pen and paper calendars. Your database of personal and business contact information can be accessed from one place and can be synchronized so that you only need to enter data once and it does the work of rearranging your schedule and data change for you. These devices even have appointment reminders, either a tone or a pop-up message. And there is a model to suit your personal preference and budget. Examples are Entourage, GroupWise, LotusNotes, Outlook, Palm, and Daylight. You can even use one of the free GoogleApps – Google Calendar – for intra-company use.
Whichever option you choose, the paper version or the paperless version, following these simple steps will help you get organized and keep tabs on your daily appointments, be reminded of your meetings and submissions and provide you with a general and specific view of your work schedule – by day, by week, or by month.