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5 Step Plan To Eliminate Clutter At Work

When you’re at work, does it seem like your desk is always cluttered? Do you have assignments just dumped on you daily and it seems like you never get to see all of your desk? Clutter can easily happen at work, especially when someone is extremely busy. Even in the busiest times, however, there is always a way to work on eliminating the clutter so that you can be your very best at any given moment!

This 5 step plan can help you effectively eliminate clutter quickly:

Step 1: Carve Out a Routine

Even if today is your very first day at work, it is important to develop a routine that will help you manage your day. People are routine-based, even if that routine is an “anti-routine,” which means you will be more effective at what you do when it is familiar to you. Think about it: if you don’t get to do what you usually do in the morning, it kind of throws off your entire day for a while, doesn’t it?

The same is true with work responsibilities. The better the routine you have, the less clutter you’ll end up having too.

Step 2: Use Your Calendars

Taking the time to input all of the information into an online calendar or writing it down on a paper calendar seems like a waste. It can take an hour or two if you’re really busy! Yet this time investment will pay off in long-term benefits because you’ll know how each day is structured, have dedicated time for specific projects to get done, and this will effectively eliminate the clutter that builds up when people fall behind on work.

Step 3: Create a To-Do List Every Day

One of the best reasons to utilize an online calendar is that many of them can produce a to-do list each day for you. Part of the reason that clutter begins to build is because people feel overwhelmed. This feeling occurs because people feel like they aren’t getting enough done with their day. This creates the feeling that someone is having a “bad day” and the typical reaction to a bad day is to procrastinate on work.

If clutter has a twin, it would be procrastination. Check off items on your to-do list every day, feel the success this brings, and you’ll reduce clutter immediately.

Step 4: Stay On Top of Your E-mail

If you pulled up your inbox right now, how many new messages would be in there? The average person keeps over 20 new messages that are unread in their inbox every day! Many also use their e-mail as a filing system, which means there is probably over 200 e-mails sitting unorganized in your account if you’re like the average person. Set aside some time each day to just organize your e-mail. When there’s less electronic clutter, there’s often less clutter overall.

Step 5: Claim Your Own Space

Don’t allow other workers or even your boss to dictate how your workspace needs to be. You know how you work most effectively. When people can claim ownership of their space, there’s automatically less clutter.

By following these steps, you’ll be more organized, more effective, and ultimately more productive at work. That might not make you any extra money, but it may just make the money you do earn a bit easier to get!

Here’s How You Can Make Sure You Meet Every Deadline

Deadlines loom over everyone in some way every day. You’ve got to get to work on time, deliver a project on time, or get the kids from school on time. Dinner needs to be made, bills need to be paid, and let’s not forget about watching our favorite television show! The deadlines we all fear the most, however, are those work deadlines. We’ll all stay up late, drink way too much coffee, and ultimately deliver an average result.

Here’s how you can relieve the pressure of a deadline and deliver a consistently great result instead:

1.     Know What You Need Before You Start

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to know what the expectations are for a project at work before you even begin working on it! This helps you get the information you need before you begin so you don’t have to waste time tracking people down when a deadline is looming. Ask specific questions, get specific answers, and you’ll be ready to start.

2.     Put Things In Writing

Unfortunately the days of a smile and a handshake formalizing a deal are gone. Get the expectations for your next project outlined in writing so you have no doubts about what is expected of you and what you expect of them. Document any variables that you foresee occurring. Make sure that everyone understands their role on the work that is about to begin, when it is due, and what the final expectations are.

3.     Create Milestones

Deadlines are difficult because people are “deadline orientated.” This means that if only one deadline is set, all the work will wait until the last possible moment to get done. Now is the time, when the work is just starting, to set milestones that need to be met up to the final deadline. This will create new deadlines for you to meet and this will make the workload seem easier – because you’re seeing successes already!

4.     Add 50% To Your Time Estimates

Nothing ever really goes as planned. Even when a project is fine-tuned to the smallest details, something invariably goes wrong. For most people, the primary issue they have is that they don’t give themselves enough time to really get something done right. As a general rule, add 50% to the time you’d normally quote for a project so you can find work-arounds for problems that creep up. Worst case scenario? You deliver early with high quality.

5.     Communicate

Projects tend to work best when they’re taken step-by-step. When you keep everyone in the loop about your progress, not only can team members coordinate their own work that needs to be done, but the people waiting for your project can feel satisfied in your progress. The more you communicate, the more you’re likely to get a little relief from a deadline if you’re running late as well.

Deadlines don’t have to be scary. With a little planning, the work can be structured appropriately so you can meet all of life’s other deadlines as well!

Are You Taking Effective Notes?

The average worker spends almost 25% of their work week in some sort of meeting. These meetings are intended to do one primary thing: provide everyone in that meeting with specific information to use later on. Taking notes during a meeting, therefore, is an important skill to have! Yet many workers either try to rely on their memory or take ineffective notes and lose the information that they received.

You can take effective notes at each meeting. Here’s how you can do it:

Actively listen. The more you pay attention during a meeting, the more likely you’ll capture information in your notes that can benefit you later on down the road. Put down your iPhone, ignore the text messages, and focus on what needs to be written down. Ask questions if you don’t understand something!

Treat your notes like a blog. Give each meeting its own title and even subheadings if you wish. Make sure you date each entry too. This gives you the chance to always go back and reference previous entries to make sure you’re staying the course.

It’s not about finding answers. Meetings are always a great place for a question and answer session, but good notes don’t try to create inspiration to answer difficult questions. Instead they are simply a means of capturing the information that was passed along at the meeting. Nothing more, nothing less.

Establish accountability. Taking notes over the entire content of a meeting, no matter who is participating in that meeting, creates another level of accountability. If something is said, it will get recorded. If follow-up is required, that will be documented. If ideas are asked to be perculated in a mind for a week, you’d better come back with ideas for the next meeting!

Use a dedicated notebook for specific meetings. If you’ve got multiple types of meetings to attend each week, keep a dedicated notebook for each type of meeting so you don’t get mixed up with what your follow-up responsibilities might be. Also use a notebook system that works well for you. It could be a diary type of notebook, a standard lined journal, or some other format. Once you find that system, don’t change it!

Make notes easy to follow-up upon. Come up with specific symbols that you can use to quickly scan your notes to make sure you’ve fulfilled your responsibilities. If you need to bring ideas back to the next meeting, you could use a star. If you need to ask questions, put a question mark next to the note. If you need someone else to follow-up on something, you could use an exclamation point. Whatever you use, utilize symbols that work for you.

Review your notes every day. Where most people fail in the note taking process isn’t in the actual notes they take, but in the follow-up on their notes because they forgot to review them. Take a few minutes each day and review the notes in each notebook. Make sure you don’t have anything that is pressing that needs to be done or schedule time on your calendar to accomplish tasks that have an upcoming deadline.

With better management and a little more engagement, everyone can be an expert at taking notes. Implement these principles in your next meeting and you’ll discover that you can retain even more of the important information being passed along to you

Ace Your New Job By Avoiding These Common Mistakes

It’s exciting to start the first day of your new job! Did you know, however, that how you start your new job could set the tone for the rest of your time at the organization?

You can ace your new job by avoiding these common mistakes:

Getting Involved With Office Politics

Every office has politics that go along with it and to some extent; you’re going to have to participate in those politics at some point so that you can be effective at your job. When you first start a job, however, the inclination we all have is to trust everyone as we’re training because these office veterans must know what they’re doing, right?

Unfortunately misery loves company and there are several office veterans out there that can be pretty cynical. Some will even send you in the wrong direction just to get a laugh at the fact that you got into trouble! Take instructions with a grain of salt and if something doesn’t make sense, don’t do it.

Being a Maverick From Day 1

Even if you’re hired to bring about change in the office, you’re not going to create change from the first day. In many offices, you need to evolve the office atmosphere instead of create a revolution because relationships will help to motivate people more than tyranny will. Being excited about a job is one thing. Being overeager to tell everyone why they’re wrong and you’re right will just create workplace enemies.

Refusing Help, Even When You Need It

It’s almost embarrassing to ask for help sometimes, especially if it feels like what you’re doing is one of the simplest tasks the office has. It’s always better to ask for help when you’re new, however, then to assume or guess that the way you choose to do something is the right way. You might guess right and come out looking like a star, sure… but you could completely miss and end up looking like a fool. Better to just ask and claim rookie status now.

You Don’t Communicate

If your new job has a probationary period associated with it, then times can really be tough because it feels like you’re being micro-managed, right? When that probationary period wears off and people aren’t breathing down your neck so much, it’s really easy to just start doing your own thing on a daily basis. You’ve still got to keep your team and your boss informed of what’s going on, however, because no one likes surprises – especially bad surprises.

There’s a Lack of Appreciation

Gratefulness goes a long way when you’re a new employee. There’s a good chance that your new co-workers were really good friends with the person you just replaced and they’re likely not too happy right now that you’re filling their friend’s shoes. Even if the job you got is a brand new position, you’ve likely beat out dozens of people for that job, some of whom may be your new co-workers! Be humble, be grateful, and you’ll win over your co-workers over time. Well… most of them, anyway.

Avoiding these common mistakes as your start your new job will help to put you on a path toward success. Start your journey today!

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