In my March 2009 article, “Efficient, Proficient and Self-Sufficient: 3 Skills to Help You Survive an Employment Crisis,” I shared insight with you on the three characteristics of efficient, proficient and self-sufficient that can help you to survive and thrive in this current employment environment, while making you a more valuable asset to your company.
In this article, I want to spend some time looking at the characteristic of efficient as it relates to being either an employee or an entrepreneur. As I mentioned previously, “Efficient employees (or entrepreneurs) are those who are productive without waste. They are able to work smart by producing desired results without wasting their vital resources of time and energy.”
A mastery of organizational and time management skills will position you as an efficient employee or entrepreneur. This article will provide you with specific strategies to help you embrace, enhance and elevate your ability to be “productive without waste” through four key organizational techniques.
Following are the four organizational techniques that will help you to elevate your level of efficiency in your workplace or business environment:
ORGANIZATIONAL TECHNIQUE #1: File to Find Information Quickly
File to find information quickly means that you will categorize your files by subject (e.g. vendor, project) to find the information you need fast. It doesn’t matter if you are organizing file folders or e-mail folders, it is important to categorize your folders appropriately so that you can file and find information quickly. Of course, following the rules for alphabetizing and even using color-coded files will help you to clearly delineate one file from the next so that you can find the information you need when you need it.
ORGANIZATIONAL TECHNIQUE #2: Use a 31-day Tickler File
Use a 31-day tickler file to manage your tasks, assignments and projects. A 31-day tickler file will help you to see more distinctively your upcoming deadline dates. It is a physical, visual reminder that will keep you on schedule to meet your upcoming deadlines. Whether you use a brown accordion folder with 12 file folders for the months and 31 file folders for the days of the month or a 1-31 file sorter, using a 31-day tickler file will keep in plain sight the tasks, assignments and projects that you must put your attention to immediately.
ORGANIZATIONAL TECHNIQUE #3: Work from a Clean Desk
Work from a clean desk gives you a clutter-free space in which to work and think. Yes, I know there are some of you who like the “organized chaos” method because having the piles and stacks of disarray make you – in your opinion – work more productively. Yet, try to clear an open space for yourself in which to focus solely on the task at hand. Don’t just make it a clean desk, make the surrounding work space (i.e. space in which you will need to maneuver to place your documents, retrieve your files, use your stapler, and get paper clips) clean, as well. Removing the clutter and working from a clean desk will enhance your ability to think more clearly, logically and strategically; thereby improving your efficiency.
ORGANIZATIONAL TECHNIQUE #4: Complete Most Important Task First
Complete most important tasks first to increase your productivity in your day. Creating a to-do list of what must be done in your day will give you a snapshot of where you must put your time, energy and effort in your day. But what are the really most important tasks that you must accomplish in your day? Ask yourself, “What must I make certain I get done before I leave the office today?” The answers to this question will highlight for you those tasks that are most important and should be the tasks you spend the time and effort completing first. Once you have the most important tasks accomplished, you’ll be able to put your energy and effort into completing the other tasks on your list.
In short, the four tips provided in this article are provided as a way to help you enhance and elevate your organizational skills so that you can increase your level of efficiency for your company or entrepreneurial endeavors.
Try them out and see how your efficiency improves.