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Bill_Lumbergh's avatar

Do you have any work week organizational tips or tricks?

Asked by Bill_Lumbergh (1468 points ) August 10th, 2011

I work in a busy production business, and I am constantly inundated with meetings, approval requests, and project resolutions. I am asking my fellow Jellies for some work week organizational tips or tricks. I need to schedule updates on my Outlook calendar with “me time”, in an effort to catch-up on my heavy workloads.
Please share with me some recommendations on some of your ideas on how I can schedule some time on my calendar to let my team know that I am “busy”, but in reality I need a break from the constant chaos that sometimes surrounds my executive position.

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3 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

Make sure that your subordinates present you with “solutions” instead of “problems”. They should recognize problems, do whatever research and analysis has to be done, and present you with one or more “best resolutions” that you then only have to decide upon or simply approve. If they’re presenting you with problems, then you’re having to do their thinking for them, too.

Have “stand-up” meetings. They go way quicker. Also, ditch the doughnuts and refreshments, which tend to have people come simply for that reason, and once there they think they have to “contribute” by saying something, no matter how inane or off-topic.

Block out parts of your calendar that are just for you, or to schedule work that you need to do alone. Close the door to your office from time to time, and let people know that this has a meaning.

Make lists and prioritize, but surely you already know this.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Three tips that really helped me:
1.) I started holding weekly meetings with my supervisor, my direct reports, and people in other depts. that were working on projects with me.
2.) During meetings, we would use a form that had spaces for Tasks/Action Required, Responsible Party, and Due Date. At the end of the meeting, we’d review what was documented, and everyone would get a copy. At the meeting the following week, we’d review these completed forms and update as necessary. It really helped in getting buy-in, and we’d hold each other accountable.
3.) Every time I was scheduled to attend a meeting, I’d block out time right after it for follow-up. This was a huge benefit for my sanity. It provided time to process, organize, answer e-mail, take a bathroom break, and prep for the next meeting. Otherwise, I’d find myself stuck going to back-to-back meetings and being overwhelmed by the end of the day.

Bellatrix's avatar

I am very much an open-door policy person, but people abuse my open door and just drop in and it throws my time management out, so now, I have a period every day in the morning where I close the door and get on with things I need to do in an uninterrupted way.

Email is not the first thing I do. I do my email after I have had my own undisturbed work time and have achieved the things I have to get done.

I use my calendar slavishly. If I have an appointment, a task to be completed, it goes in my calendar. I also use an electronic to do list and keep a notebook next to me in which I make many lists of things I need to get done. I don’t rely on my memory.

When I check email and there is something I need to respond to but can’t do it straight away, I often print off that email and keep it with my paper to do list. Otherwise, things get buried in my email box.

I also have weekly meetings with people I am working on projects with. Those meetings don’t need to be in person though. Phone is fine to touch base and is more efficient from a time perspective than a physical meeting. I also get one person to make notes of what is decided and to email it to all participants with clear information about who was nominated to do what when.

I agree with @CWOTUS. Rather than people just presenting problems, I encourage them to also suggest solutions. I do this with my own boss.

Delegate where you can. Look at what you are doing, the meetings you are attending. Can someone else do those more menial tasks? Do you have to have a physical meeting or can you meet over the phone or something like Skype? Spend a little time each week looking at what took up most of your time and whether there was another way you could have managed that time.

Factor in some time to go for a walk, spend time with your family, have a coffee with a friend. We all need to do these things and in the end, I think those little breaks make us more productive. Sometimes, my meeting with my friends might be as simple as “I will meet you here and we will walk up to the car park tonight together”. Not ideal, but it means I can touch base with people I care about. Put things like this in your calendar. Don’t leave it to .. if I get time.

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