Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Getting Organized in the New Year

Happy New Year! Things have changed throughout the economy and in the workplace. With more employees doing more for the same salary or reduced salary, it is important to get yourself organized so you become more efficient, reduce your level of stress and spend more time doing things outside of work.

Here are some common problems and solutions that can help in getting organized in the New Year:

Problem: Having meetings scheduled back to back with not enough time for you to prepare in between. Not blocking appropriate time to manage the business and your staff accordingly. Spending more time at meetings than you do at your desk.

Solution: Make your calendar work for you and not against you. Most company systems have an electronic calendar and if you are in a role that doesn’t have one, a paper calendar will do. Be sure to block off time for you to go to lunch and get away from your desk. Create a to do list of items and prioritize what you need to complete for the current day and what needs to be carried to the next day(s).

Problem: If you don’t have a blackberry or pda, email is the first thing you read once you get in the office. Have you also noticed that when you check email first to see what is taking place, you start putting out fires before you even had your first cup of coffee?

Solution: Take a few minutes to get yourself settled in and have your first cup of coffee or the beverage of your choice. Then, set aside about 20 minutes to go through your email to see which emails need immediate action and the emails you can delete. Set a schedule to check email throughout the day (either on the hour or half past the hour). If something is really urgent, the person will most likely call you.

Problem: There are way to many meetings to attend in one day. At times, people often wonder why they are even there. Does this sound like your situation? Why not get back some of your time that you can devote to other aspects of your day.

Solution: There is nothing wrong with asking the person running the meeting for the objectives and what role you would play in the meeting. Delegate to another staff member or peer if the meeting allows and follow-up with that individual if appropriate.

Career Development
Problem: So much time is spent in meetings and focusing on the needs of the clients which are to be expected. Employees subsequently spend little time in the work day to focus on professional and personal goals.

Solution: In order for people to become better organized, provide better service and grow professionally, be sure to focus on your career development as well. Focus on some short-term and long-term goals. Create a plan with your boss that focuses on helping you build your foundation and meet your needs. This can be done through external training classes, seminars and workshops, conferences and even going back to school for a certification.

File Management
Problem: No categories or consistent file management system is in place. Having a filing system that not even you can understand. Files that you currently have are located in multiple locations (electronic, hard copy, offsite, etc).

Solution: Create a system that allows you to incorporate electronic and hard copy files. This will help you be more prepared for meetings. Create categories (projects, career development, etc.) for your file management system. Store your files in a file cabinet or storage system so they are easily accessible when you need them. You can also scan your documents if this is an option at your company.

Getting organized for the New Year can help you become more efficient, reduce stress and allow you to spend more time doing the things you love with the ones you love.

Happy Organizing and Happy New Year!


Reggie Waller is the president of RWJ Consulting Group a provider of business and personal coaching, consulting and training services to individuals and businesses. For additional information call 267-254-6800 or visit
RWJ Consulting Group

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