What is man's best friend ( besides the dog) ? The waste basket ! - Business week
Your work space
Okay ! Clear your desk ........NOW. Despite what some people believe, a cluttered desk does not indicate genius. It signals confusion and creates stress. Even mini-clutter will grow and eventually fill every inch. Keep your desk clear of everything except your project du jour and your family photo.
Get rid of that paper. Shuffling and reshuffling paper from pile to pile or file to file wastes time and keeps you from focusing on what needs to get done. Find a gigantic waste basket and fill it up. The larger the waste basket, the more you will use it. Throwing thisngs away then becomes an art. Enjoy !
Files should not be an obstacle course. Put your most often reviewed files at the front of the cabinet. Here is a test to see if your current filing system works. Within two minutes, can you retrieve any paper you need? Go. If you failed the test you are wasting time searching through your files.
Never clear off your desk by randomly throwing things in a drawer. You will eventually have to go through that drawer. Instead, create a logical system for storing these items in your desk.
A picture or two on your desk is probably not distracting, but limit pictures to a special few. The more pictures on your desk, the more distractions and interruptions you invite.
Organise your desktop. If you are right handed, make sure the phone is located on the left side of your desk. You have to keep the right side of the desk ( and your right hand) free to take notes. Just opposite for the lefties. Right handed people should place the calculator on the right side of their desk. Ditto above for the southpaws, the proud and under represented.
Avoid glass desktops. They glare and hard to keep clean, You don't need to spend your valuable time wiping off finger prints.
If a report comes across your desk that you can't use, notify the sender and ask to be deleted from distribution. The key question to ask is " would I pay for this report if I had to?" If not, get rid of it.
If you only use four lines of a report, ask for reformat, if possible. Four pages when you need four lines just does not make sense - does it?
If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keeping putting off doing it
The work Environment: Make it productive !
Now hear this ! Never say " yes" without considering the time time investment you are committing. Having the courage to say " no" to requests that are inappropriate or unnecessary could be your most effective time management tool !
Take the time to understand the role of every department in your organisation. This time invested up front will eliminate your
" panic" when some one has an urgent request outside your department.
" Perfection paralysis" is expensive. Sometimes it is not worth the effort to make things " perfect" . Take a look at time costs involved and weigh these against the benefit of perfection. Many times second best in operation is better than first best on the drawing board.
Copy the world every time you send a memo? But, realistically, does " the world" really care? When writing a memo or sending an e-mail, only distribute to the people who really need to know the information. Some of " the world " feels obligated to respond and then evey one's time is wasted.
Want to get your written point across - fast? Limit your sentences to fifteen words.
Are you really listening? Every time you say, " But I thought you said" you might as well be saying, " I wasted all this time doing, the wrong thing." Listen, clarify, and make sure you understand the task before going forward. It is good time investment for both the parties.
Is it your job to pick up every ball that some one drops? Avoid the label at all costs. Think about it !
Don't try to solve other people's problems. You may be empathetic to their situation, but if you spend your time solving their problems, Surprise! Their next problem will become yours, too! The best thing you can do is, help others learn how to solve their own problems.
" Got a minute?" never means just one minute. Before you answer, always ask " What is this about?"
" Hey, you got a minute?" . That is a question, not a demand. Don't get angry with the interrupter if you answered " Sure" to their question. General rule. If you cannot eliminate the interruption, make the interruption as short as possible.
When people arrive to interrupt, meet them at the door and talk outside your office. Letting them in may add minutes to the interruption.
Stand up ! When some one shows up unannounced, keep standing until you decide if you want the conversation to continue. Standing is not comfortable to most people and the length of most interruptions is in direct proportion of the comfort level of the interrupter.
Signal the end of the time allotted by politely saying " One more thing before you go" . Be respectful but take control. Remember that this is your office and you are responsible for the time here.
Get rid of extra chairs in your office. You can always pull one from somewhere else if you need it.
Arrange your office so that your desk does not face the door. People are less likely to interrupt if they can't see your face.
Keep track of the origins of your interruptions. Don't be surprised to find your biggest interrupter is your boss ! After getting over the shock, sit down with your boss and see if you can find ways to decrease the number of interruptions so that you can be more productive.
Schedule " one to one" sessions with your staff and boss. Gather everything you need to talk about and take care of it at one sitting rather than interrupting each other the minute some thing comes up.
When you don't want to be disturbed, put you candy dish away. It is an interrupter magnet.
Give yourself a break! You can accomplish 60 minutes' worth of interrupted work in just 20 minutes of non interrupted work. Is there better investment of your time?
Want to make a positive difference in the time investment of your company? Ask your peers and subordinates, " What do I do that wastes your time and hinders your performance?"
Henry Ford was always dropping into the offices of his company's executives. When asked why he did not have them come to him, he replied," Well ! I will tell you. I have found that I can leave the other fellow's office a lot quicker than I can get him to leave mine".
Guard your own spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds.