Although many successful people feel that they work best under pressure, there is no doubt that honing your organisational skills makes your business life a lot easier. You need to be able to manage your time and resources to successfully juggle all the tasks in your diary. Organisational skills don’t come naturally to everyone, but you may be relieved to hear that they can be developed. There are a few key things you can do to improve your organisational skills and make your day to day work life a little more manageable. With the help from Live Recruitment, an event recruitment agency, we have put together nine great tips.
1. Avoid fire fighting
Preparing for the day ahead means planning your schedule and deciding what tools you will need to complete your daily tasks. Without this forward thinking and preparation, you may end up facing each day in a reactive rather than proactive way, which means you are fire-fighting each situation rather than planning for it in advance. Not only does forward planning reduce your stress levels but it also enables you to problem solve in a calm and rational way rather than always being required to think on your toes.
2. Plan your time
Whilst you are planning your day and preparing for each of the tasks ahead, schedule in how long you think each task will take. This allows you to break up your day into manageable chunks. If one of the tasks is taking a lot longer than you had anticipated you can then foresee the impact this will have on the rest of your to do list and either cut the task short, delegate or reschedule the plans you had made for later in the day. This allows you to successfully meet your deadlines.
3. Successful planners make lists
Lists enable your mind to remain tidy. Busy people have ideas buzzing around in their heads all the time. By downloading these ideas or tasks on to a list, your mind can move on to think about other things without the risk of forgetting anything. As you complete a task or follow-up an idea you can then cross that item off the list. This has the added satisfying benefit of enabling you to see the list reducing. A fully crossed off list gives a great sense of achievement at the end of the day. This also helps with the forward planning and scheduling of your day as you have clear sight of everything that needs to be achieved.
4. Begin tasks early
Those of you who enjoy working under pressure may need to feel a deadline snapping at your heels before you are able to settle down and complete a task. However, if you begin work early then you will feel much less stressed if another more urgent task pops up which needs to be dealt with first. It also means that you won’t necessarily be working through the night, missing meals and cancelling other engagements to complete the task.
5. Decide when you work best
It can help to be very honest with yourself about when you are most productive. This will differ for every individual. Some people work best when they get up early and begin working as the sun comes up, whilst others are more productive in the evening. Schedule in the work which requires most focus at the times of day when you are most productive. This means you will be at your most efficient.
6. File smart
We have all found ourselves in a situation where we’re desperately trying to meet a tight deadline but cannot find the crucial file that we need to complete the work. Creating and maintaining a clever filing system is one of the best things you can do in order to work efficiently. This can be paper filing, or more likely digital filing but using an intuitive system and ensuring that items are filed away correctly can save you hours of frustration which would otherwise be spent looking for lost files.
7. Avoid distractions
Avoiding distractions is a great way of organising your time well. Having your email server open can create a long line of distractions if you check your emails each time you hear a ping. Scheduling in times of the day when you look at and respond to your emails is a good way of organising your time to ensure minimal disruption. If you are completing a particularly important piece of work you may also find it beneficial to turn off your phone.
You can give your full attention to your messages when you have finished. If you are a manager who otherwise welcomes an open-door policy, don’t be afraid to choose a time when the door is firmly closed, you can let colleagues know when you will be available again. If you travel a lot for work this can be disruptive but ensuring in advance that you have the right tools with you including charger, laptop and headphones, and booking yourself a seat in a quiet area can really help to increase your productivity.
8. Make your workspace work for you
Do you find yourself sorting through piles of paper to locate the one document you need? Do you have to leave the room each time you need to use the photocopier or collect more stationery? Allowing yourself enough space at your workstation and organising your props in a logical way to help you work most efficiently can maximise your productivity and minimise your frustration.
Delegation doesn’t come easily to many people, but it is an incredibly useful skill to learn if your time is precious. If you have a team around you then allow people to work to their strengths, they may be better at some tasks then you are. Enabling people to develop their skills by delegating tasks to them means that they will be more useful to you in the long run. Although you might feel as though doing tasks yourself will save you money, delegation will ultimately save you huge amounts of time and effort.
With all the tips above, you’ll soon find you’re more organised and your working day seems to progress much more smoothly than it did before!