Start 2015 as you mean to go on with these tips for getting organised at work. Make this your most organised work year ever! Well, you can try, can’t you? Who knows what state we’ll be in by February…
Organise your diary
1. Block out half a day a month.
Book a meeting with yourself for half a day a month and call it ‘process review’. This is your reflection time for how things are working. Think about what you could be doing differently to get more done. Refine your processes. I use a Wednesday afternoon for this as Fridays are too liable to be spent dealing with last-minute tasks for the week.
2. Book time to write reports
Book a recurring meeting to schedule the time in your diary for reporting. I have to write weekly project reports and I have half an hour every Thursday morning set aside for this. This works for any recurring tasks such as updating project risk logs or anything else that you might ‘overlook’ if you don’t have time deliberately set aside.
3. Set up calendar reminders
Forward-schedule anything you need to be aware of this year such as conferences or team members’ birthdays. You can set alerts to remind yourself that these dates are coming.
4. Create a To Do list
You’ve probably got your last To Do list from the end of last year, but rewrite it. What has been stuck on there for the last six months that you have no intention of doing this year? Ditch it. Streamline as much as you can and put your priority tasks for January at the top. I put longer-term actions in the back of my notebook so I can split them off the daily To Do list (and because I’m not wired enough to have an online task management system).
Organise your team
5. Book team meetings
Yep, get them in the diary now. If you don’t, you risk de-prioritising them in favour of plodding on with the work. Put them in and invite the right people. You can always cancel them if they aren’t required.
6. Review your resources
Have you got everyone you need to make your projects a success in 2015? What other resources do you need to secure? Review your resource gaps now so you can put forward a plan to either recruit or ‘borrow’ people from other departments so that you can achieve your objectives.
7. Book training
Actually, you can do this for yourself as well. While everyone is still thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and there is a training budget, get yourself and your team booked on the relevant courses. Even if they aren’t happening until much later in the year. Organise it now, pay for it and then forget about it until your pre-course work turns up. Otherwise you’ll never get round to scheduling that training.
Organise your projects
8. Agree your priority projects
Do you know what your priority work should be for 2015? Think about all the projects you have on the go or know are coming your way. It should be clear which is the priority but if not take advice from your manager. Knowing what is a priority will help you focus on the right tasks this year.
9. Sort your filing system
Set up your project filing systems for the year. Create new folders labelled with project names and dates. Grant access to new members of the team and remove access from old folders for people who have moved into different roles.
10. Check your templates
Many organizations update their financial templates from time-to-time. Check that you have the most recent templates for raising purchase orders, creating capital expenditure requests, preparing business cases and reporting accruals.
11. Put key project dates in your main diary
This might sound like duplication of effort – after all, you have a prpoject schedule to manage your critical project milestones. Why put them in your diary too? I put major events like training courses for end users in my Outlook calendar. It means I don’t double-book the resources required and I’ve got another reminder of what’s coming up on the project.
12. Book your meetings
As well as scheduling your team meetings, book all your Project Board or steering group meetings for the duration of your project. Project sponsors and senior executives are busy people so give them lots of notice for your upcoming meetings and decision points.
Organise your environment
13. Sort out your tech
Don’t start the year with a phone that doesn’t work. Upgrade your phone, get the IT help desk on speed dial, buy a new charger so you can always keep one in your bag. Gadgets are an essential part of office life now so make sure they work for you and don’t hold you up. Oh, and review these pointers on gadget etiquette so you don’t make a faux pas at work.
14. Give your team the tools they need
Make sure that your team members have the tools they need to do the job. If you don’t know what they are, ask the people involved. You could speed up a lot of tasks if only they had the right piece of kit. Get it on the procurement radar before the budgets run out later in the year.
15. Tidy your desk
Chuck out the Christmas cards, the novelty freebies you got from your last conference and the glossy brochures from suppliers you aren’t going to use. I found some receipts that should have been included in my expenses when I did this. Shred any confidential paperwork and put anything else in the recycling. Start the year with a clear workspace, ready to face the challenges of your first days back in the office.