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
- Use check lists and check
sheets regularly for those things which must be done in a
- 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
- Avoid over organizing to
the point where your perfectionism interferes with your
- Identify and post reorder
quantities on office supplies to prevent running out
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Ask yourself: If I just
bought this company, how would I sell more/expand what I
sell to this customer base?
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
Ask yourself: To remain the
market leader for the next 25 years, where should I invest
my time and company's resources right now?
Ask yourself: What can I do
to double the strength of our current reputation, within
the next 6 months?
Ask yourself: What's
working well right now and how can I keep it working well?
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?
Ask yourself: What systems
work so well that we take them for granted? How could we
Ask yourself; How quickly
and completely do we respond to changes in our customers,
market, technology, staff needs or economic conditions?
Ask yourself: What do we
have, IP-wise, that just isn't being as leveraged as it
The X Factor
What do we have that's
very, very special and that we could really maximize, just
for the pleasure of it?