Archives for posts with tag: Organising

I’ve more or less banished paper from my work practices. I rarely keep information sheets that people give me in meetings, and take all my meeting notes in a notepad or text editor and arrange them in company or customer folders.

It’s a more organised way of carrying on I think, especially if your job is very mobile. No files or folders to remember to put in your bag, just your laptop and a power cable – happy days.

With one exception though. When I’m working in the home office I make to do lists as I go or as the thought comes to me: things I need to do, buy or ask. Once they’re done there’s no need to revisit the list or save it for digital posterity. And it’s great to take the scribbled list and shove it in your back pocket so you don’t forget any of the half dozen items or errands you need to complete while you’re in motion.

I have a tower of different coloured paper notes on my desk. They sit in a Jenga-like plastic dispenser, so there’s no need to buy ones with adhesive which either sticks them to a spine or to the sheet below and then to the laptop or wall once you’ve removed them from the block.

There’s also something cathartic about crossing stuff off a scribbled list and then recycling the paper note, that you don’t quite get by deleting an item off your digital TDL – that’s one of my most used TLAs – for ‘to do list’.

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You’re busy. Super busy. We get that, we all are, or most of us anyway. You work in a business large enough where there are teams, cross-department projects, interdependencies, contingencies, the usual array of complex, human interactions.

You have a full plate of things to do, stuff is coming at coming at you from all sides, and is continuing to do so. Some of it can’t be both urgent and important. You simply can’t get to it all, can you?

Although it’s tempting to put the blinkers on and focus on one thing at a time, you can’t let people down and you can’t leave everything until the last minute, or it won’t get done. So what do you do?

2 things. First, you need to quickly triage every project in which you have a part to play, or where you need something to happen, or where people are relying on you for something. Second, you need to work back.

Yes, work back. Think about the end point, then figure out how longĀ it’s going to take to get to the end point, then work back and figure out when you need to start something, or ask someone to start something. It’s no use putting off the creation of an important piece of collateral for an event until 2 days before the event. It probably takes a week to produce this kind of thing, so delegate it out and brief somebody now, so that they’ve the time to get it done for you. Failing to work back means that you have to ask someone to do the impossible, to pull something out of the fire for you because you didn’t triage – or quick plan – properly.

Get into the knack of working back. It will help you go forward.