office zen

January 4, 2007 at 7:59 am (career)

I’ve been an Executive Assistant for more years than I care to recall.  If there’s one thing I am, it’s organised.  Here are my top tips for being organised at work!  What’s yours?

  1. If you don’t need it, get rid of it.  I’m a visual person, and visual clutter is painful to me.  Don’t be afraid to purge.
  2. If it’s not a job requirement, don’t check your email every 10 seconds.  Use it as a ‘sanity’ break every half hour or hour.  If it will take less than 30 seconds, reply right away.  Otherwise, drag it to a folder marked ‘!today’ or something similar and set aside time once or twice a day (say before lunch and mid-afternoon) to deal with the rest.  Unless it’s from the CEO, you probably don’t need to drop everything and deal with it right away.
  3. Keep a ‘bring forward file’.  This is simply either 5 files labeled Monday through Friday or 31 files labelled 1 through 31.  Use it to drop reminders in (ie bills to pay, rsvps) the day BEFORE it’s due.  Check the next day’s file each afternoon as you prepare for the next day.
  4. In the afternoon, check your managers schedule for the next day.  Send emails or voicemails confirming meetings, pull out the necessary files, confirm meeting room or restaurant bookings, car park requirements etc. 
  5. Keep a ‘pending’ file.  This should contain everything you are waiting for people to get back to you on before you can proceed.  Set up an email box as well as a paper based file/drawer.

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