How to Be More Effective and Organized

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How to Be More Effective and Organized

Achieving goals in an efficient way is possible when you are well-organized. Here are some ideas that will help you become more organized.

  • Use a personal pocket calendar that you carry with you at all times to help keep yourself organized.
  • Use check lists and check sheets regularly for those things which must be done in a correct way.
  • Have different-colored checklists for easy identification.
  • When people come back to you asking the same question they have asked several times before, ask them to set up a standard operating procedure by simply writing down the statement that you are to make about how the situation is to be handled. They can then keep that at their desk, and will not have to ask you about it in the future.
  • Create a visible time line for key projects.
  • Make a daily "to-do" list of activities that you must do and set priorities on it every day. Then do the activities in priority order.
  • Use a tickler or follow-up file allowing you to file items until the day that you can act on them.
  • Set up a system to handle repetitive tasks.
  • Avoid over organizing to the point where your perfectionism interferes with your achieving results.
  • Identify and post reorder quantities on office supplies to prevent running out completely.
  • Carry 3x5 cards or a notebook or note paper or your pocket calendar to make notes of things that you would like to remember.
  • When doing work on a computer, have a regular routine of backing up your work at least twice a day to ensure it does not get lost.
  • Dictate your notes or thoughts for projects on a cassette, then either have it transcribed by your secretary or personally pay a student to do it for you.
  • Work on only one item at a time.
  • Keep only one project on your desk at a time to avoid distractions. Time is lost sorting through other items while you're working on one.
  • If you are working on several projects, keep each one in a clearly labeled file by itself so you do not have to look through a mixed project file to find things.
  • Do not schedule every minute of the day; keep flexible for the unexpected items that will come up,
  • When you sense things are out of control-STOP. Sit quietly, relax, re-establish priorities in writing, decide what action to take, then go again.
  • Sit down and do all trivia in one sitting to get it over with.
  • Build flexibility into your schedule by purposely overestimating the amount of time needed on each activity. 
  • Use a people page-a page that has an individual's name at the top on which you write down the routine things you want to ask this individual. Then call this person once a day, or at most, twice to ask all the questions that have accumulated on the page.
  • If you are responsible for several key projects, use project pages in your calendar or planner. Keep one page on each project. Whenever you think of something that is relevant to that project, jot it down on the appropriate page. This way you will be organizing your thoughts as you have them.
  • Schedule a meeting with yourself every day. Then during this meeting work uninterrupted on your top priority project.
  • Carry a project with you so when kept waiting in a doctor's office, airport or on a bus, you can be productive.
  • Before leaving the office at night, put the most important project for tomorrow on your desk. It will be there ready and waiting for you in the morning.
  • Establish an efficient working routine that matches you and your job. Do a certain activity at the same time each day or on the same day every week.
  • Organize items you reference frequently in a ring binder in protective plastic. It will enhance its usability and present ability to customers or to yourself.
  • Keep a log of requests made. Be sure to note the day and hour they are to be completed.
  • Each day make a Call-See-Do list. Who you should call. Who you should see, and what you should do.
  • Consolidate support staff where possible. For example, typing staff could be reorganized into a pool to equalize their work loads.
  • Create specific useful forms such as time sheets and other record keeping sheets that are helpful to a specific job, but do not bog down the people with redundant paperwork.
  • Keep only one calendar and keep it with you at all times.
  • Combine all personal and work related items into your one personal calendar.
  • Gather all needed materials and supplies for a project. Then when you sit and do the project, you won't have to run for this item or that item.
  • Capture a few minutes from every activity you do. They accumulate to be extra time for your high priority projects.
  • Use the computer where practical for reports and processing of information gathered.
  • Instead of using a standard form it may pay off to make a customized form for a special customer. Assess the situation carefully.
  • Trade days. Work on Saturday when it is quiet and take another day or two half days off.
  • Implement flex time to help employee motivation.
  • Once you are sure you are doing the most important thing, then ask yourself: "How can I do this more efficiently?"
  • Use short, simple, written directions for routine procedures.
  • Move your in-basket off the desk so it will not be a temptation or distraction.
  • As things you must do come to mind, write them down in your pocket planner or calendar immediately so they do not get lost.
  • Look for ways of automating office procedures.
  • Work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. It gives you an extra day at home and better concentration at work.
  • Use a steno pad to list thoughts, duties, interruptions or questions. Use a highlighter to cross them off as you deal with them.
  • Keep a notebook with pages headed "Thanks giving,"
  • "Christmas," "Office party," or the name of other special projects. Then when you think of something that must be done or bought, etc., you can jot it down on the appropriate page.
  • Make up daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly lists of routine duties with blank spaces to fill in responsibilities and special duties.
  • Group like tasks together to prevent job jumping and wasting time.
  • Provide adequate private work space as well as central areas and conference space to maximize effectiveness.
  • Buy ahead so you have supplies on hand.
  • Ask people who are not closely involved with a problem or process how they think it could be done. You will get fresh ideas.
  • Use the proper tools for the job even if you have to go out and purchase them.
  • Develop personal systems that work for you, then follow them. Be sure to update them periodically.
  • At night put classified material in a secure place. Do not leave it out where it might walk off.
  • Clean your desk the last five minutes of the day and prepare it for getting started first thing in the morning.
  • Keep papers you are not working on in the filing cabinet, not on your desk.
  • Keep supplies and materials in a storage cabinet, not on your desk.
  • Establish an organized filing system that anyone can use and see that things get into it immediately.
  • Save simplistic, repetitious, routine, manual jobs, (folding papers, stuffing envelopes) for times when you choose to simply relax and chat with others, or listen to cassette tapes.
  • List key activities on 3x5 cards, one to a card. Review them in priority sequence several times each day.
  • Stick "Post-It-Notes" on projects to show status or progress of a project.
  • Role model as an organized person. You will soon convince yourself.
  • Devise a problem resolution log which keeps track of progress on solving problems within a department.
  • Schedule a block of time to be dedicated to major projects.
  • When you think other people might forget something important, use multiple reminders to jog their memory. Use such things as notes, lists, tickler reports, status reports, briefings, phone calls, special bulletins, and so forth.
  • Look for two or more complementary activities that can be dovetailed and done at one time.
  • When you receive a person's business card, write notes about your encounter on the back of the card.




10 areas of leverage that every small business has

1. Customer-base

Ask yourself: If I just bought this company, how would I sell more/expand what I sell to this customer base?

2. Cash

Ask yourself: If I could invest this cash in any one part of this business/niche/product line for the biggest cumulative return/profit over the next 5 years, where would I invest it all?

3. Market Leadership

Ask yourself: To remain the market leader for the next 25 years, where should I invest my time and company's resources right now?

4. Reputation

Ask yourself: What can I do to double the strength of our current reputation, within the next 6 months?

5. Momentum

Ask yourself: What's working well right now and how can I keep it working well?

6. Key Staff

Ask yourself: Who are the 5 key people in my organization and what game/plan can I create with them so they'll stick around for a long time?

7. Systems

Ask yourself: What systems work so well that we take them for granted? How could we improve them?

8. Responsiveness

Ask yourself; How quickly and completely do we respond to changes in our customers, market, technology, staff needs or economic conditions?

9. Intellectual Property

Ask yourself: What do we have, IP-wise, that just isn't being as leveraged as it could be?

10. The X Factor

What do we have that's very, very special and that we could really maximize, just for the pleasure of it?


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