Overwhelmed with the paper on your desk – perhaps all those “to do’s”? Have your New Year’s resolutions not delivered on their promises? I know not all mine did! If paper does not have a home to go to then it will create its own – a “Pile”! Even paper that just needs to be filed is a “To Do”. Our “BOS” (Business Organizational Solutions) approach recommends setting up a standard set of “to do” or “action” files based on your own unique business activities. If you are a piler, place these files in a visible place such as a desk top filing rack (so it is in plain view and you won’t forget about it) or if you are a “filer” then tuck them away in hanging folders in a desk drawer that is easy to access. Some of the action files you could choose to set up for your own system might be: File; Pay; Read; Research; Plan; Errand; Write; Input; Review or Call. Now, file away all those loose “to do” papers and feel confident that you will know where to find them when you need them. You can also use these categories to set up your electronic “To Do” or task list in Outlook so you are consistent with your approach across both paper and electronic documents. If you need a reminder to look at your “To Do’s” set up a reoccurring event in your Outlook calendar. Send me an email email@example.com if you would like to know more about “BOS” and how you can conquer the piles.
In attempt to try and reduce the number of emails in your inbox and perhaps others, try following a few of these quidelines:
Don’t break the thread - When creating messages, be sure to include meaningful data in the subject line. Be precise, yet informative, as to the nature of your message. This then means that you only need to save the most recent email in the series and delete the rest.
Reply All Button - Before using the Reply All button, ask yourself “Does everyone really need to see this e-mail?” When replying to e-mail messages that have been sent to large groups, it may be more appropriate to reply only to the author and let them disseminate this information to the entire group, if necessary.
Most important information first - Messages should be concise and to the point leading with the most important information. Some people only briefly scan the first few paragraphs of their messages and your request could get missed or deleted. Tell the recipient early on what you need them to do.
Visit www.productivitysquared.com or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about our services and in particular our training programs for managing email, organizing electronic documents as well as records management.
If, like most of us, you have clients who are asking how to manage their computer time more effectively, there is now software available that does just that. The seductive and competing demands of Facebook, Twitter, email, games, and shopping on-line can often be overwhelming for the best of us. Amy Cameron, in her June “Chatelaine” article called “More Hours in the Day”, suggests some new web tools to help control your inner impulses while boosting your productivity. One to note:
RescueTime audits the time you spend on your computer so you can identify “problem spots and trends”, highlighting the programs that are your biggest time wasters. According to Colette Robicheau, a Halifax-based professional organizer, the secret to RescueTime is accountability. As she says, “We can’t manage time, but we can manage our approach…we are happiest when we have a sense of control.”
Please make sure you try out this or any product or service ideas yourself before recommending them to your clients.
We look forward to any ideas you are using that we can pass along to all of our organizing colleagues…