Twenty years ago when I first began my career, almost all managers had secretaries or administrative assistants. Welcome to the age of the computer, where most managers in their 30s and early 40s have become quite self-sufficient. However, not having an assistant means having to be more organized, as you do not have someone to organize for you.
Are you disorganized?
The first thing you must do is to determine if you are disorganized. Below are some clues that perhaps you could use a little work in the organization area:
Do you have tons of pens in your purse, but the caps to the pens are all at the bottom of your purse?
When you have change, do you just toss it in your desk drawer and where it lands is where it stays.
Do you have a filing system or a piling system?
I like to believe that I, as a manager, am “functionally unstructured” and a multi-tasker. If you and your company are happy with your organizational skills, there is no need to change. If fact, some managers are so organized that they spend the majority of their time getting organized and planning. This is the reverse of disorganization, but is just as incapacitating. One manager I know reviewed their daily routine and discovered that they spent 80% of their time getting organized!
If the above example does not describe you and you think now is a good time to get a little more organized, here are some tips to help:
If you tend to misplace things that you need inside and outside the office, attach them to your body.
An example of this is your cell phone and important phone numbers. Even if you are wearing a dress you can always hang your phone around your neck. This may be unflattering, but it is functional. If you have company badges, laminate a list of key phone numbers and attach it along with your badge.
Keep things you use daily nearby.
In another life I did time and motion studies and what you find is that extra movements to retrieve items add up to time wasted.
Keep a day planner/organizer with you at all times.
It does not have to be one of those big ones, just something with a calendar and note pad.
Keep a phone book in your car.
If you must have a piling system, make it functional.
The most recent documents should be in one pile, and if they are particularly important, use a highlighter to mark them, or put a sticky note on the document.
Keep a large supply of sticky notes and highlighters on your desk.
If it’s really important, tape the information to your computer screen or if you are going outside, tape it to the front inside cover of your day planner/organizer.
Don’t, let someone who is “organized” come into your office to “organize” you.
They will set up a system that works for them — not you.
Make your car a mobile office/home.
This will help you avoid trips back and forth from your home to the office. You should be able to go from your office, to the gym, and to a formal function without ever having to stop by your house.
By Karri Perez