Let’s face it – there are never enough hours in a day to get everything done. Many of us spend 8 or more busy hours in the office, with a million things to do. And managing the work day can be tough! People are expected to be multitasking masters in busy work environments, without missing a step or falling behind. Talk about challenging!
I’ve put together a list of 3 things that I do on a regular basis at my job to help keep me on task and organized. As an overview, I work in an office and am new to my job, but you could also use these tips if you’re a student or someone who’s spending too much time in the office, and trying to get their hours down to the 8 hour work day. Friends and former coworkers have asked me about some of the things I do because I’m always juggling so many things. Keep reading if you want to learn more!
Tip 1: Prioritize your day
Depending on how busy I expect my day to be, I’ll either do this in the morning right when I get into work, or in the afternoon.
Basically, I think about what I need to get done based on time sensitivity – immediately, before the end of the day, later in the week, etc. I write all of these down in a notebook and cross things off as they get done. It’s honestly, SO satisfying to cross things off the list!
If there’s something on going for a short period of time, or it’s a project or something I know will take me longer than a day, I’ll write it on a post it note so that I can transfer the same note to the next day without having to rewrite it.
I know this sound really simple! But the goal is to think thoroughly about the tasks that are important, and figure out what needs to be done first. Or sometimes it’s easy to just get through the quick tasks to make room for things that need more time.
Tip 2: Utilize your inbox functions
In my opinion, if you use Gmail in a business environment, it can definitely increase your productivity and help you use email in an extremely efficient way! I’ve used Gmail for business at a previous job and it helped SO much. I miss it dearly! (I’m also thinking about listing a few of my favorite features of Gmail in a future post.)
Well…back to the “real” world, and using Outlook. HA! Not that this is a bad thing, I just don’t see myself being as compatible with Outlook 😉
I use my email inbox as a “checklist”. Email (for me) is a type of checklist for requests that are coming in and things that I need to respond to, research, or do. I also receive emails that I may need to use as reference in the future.
When you first start a new job, it can be difficult to gauge what types of emails you might be getting. Asking your manager or coworkers in a similar role can help you to figure out how you want to set up folders in your email inbox. An organized inbox doesn’t always mean that you have 100 folders that are dedicated to their own specific things. I’ve done something similar before, and it became EXTREMELY difficult to manage and reference when you need to dig up historical information. I try to feel out the types of emails I get after a couple of weeks, and slowly build the folders from there.
Two folders I always create are “archive” and “reference”. “Archive” is a place where I hold miscellaneous requests or pieces of information that don’t really have a designated place. “Reference” are where I save processes/procedures, templates, sample documents or pieces of information that I might need in the future.
My approach with inboxes definitely leans towards keeping things simple in terms of folders to sort emails in.
Tip 3: Keep separate notebooks – one for notes to reference, another for your to do list.
When I first started my new job, there were lots of procedures and details that I had to learn to use specific software systems and complete assignments. There were also things that I needed to get done – tasks, follow ups, etc., which were essentially on my to do list.
What I found helpful was to keep separate notebooks. I had previously written everything in one notebook, but found myself frustrated when I had trouble finding something I had written previously.
I use the same logic here as with email inbox folders and keep this simple. Notebook #1 for my to do list. Notebook #2 for any procedures, things I might need to reference, notes from seminars/workshops, etc. Mayyyybe Notebook #3 if I have a special project or need to do some brainstorming.
Hope you found this helpful or maybe it gave you some ideas on how you can incorporate some of these in your work/home/student life! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
For more posts about organizing/career/work life, subscribe to my blog and check out some of my other posts! I reviewed the Passion Planner and have previously posted tips on How To Prepare For Your 1st Day At a New Job.