A disorganized individual spends more of their day trying to figure out where they are and what they should be doing, and never get around to actually doing anything at all.
Do you spend less than 60 percent of your day focused on the most valuable work for your job?
To ensure that you are spending 60 percent or more of your day on your most valuable work, you need to plan each day before you start work. You may not follow your plan exactly, but the act of creating your plan will help you to stay more focused on the important work.
Learn to prioritize. There are some things that really can wait, and others you just need to do, and do right. Often, this person will get behind, and will do the bare minimum to call a task done, resulting in having to go back and do it again, or worse, someone else has to go back and do it again, whch leads to my next point…
Do it right the first time. Don’t tell yourself you will come back later and do a beter job on a certain task, becuase you will find yourself falling further and further behind, and odds are, you won’t ever get back to this task to do it right.
Do client/supervisor requests often linger unanswered for more than 24 hours?
Even if you’re just sending an e-mail or making a quick phone call saying that it will take another day to get back to someone, contact within 24 hours is essential for good client/supervisor relations. Schedule 15 minutes after lunch and at the end of your work day to process these requests.
Keep your clients, supervisors, and coworkers informed on what you are doing. Never ever leave someone wondering what the status of their project is, and never leave a coworker in the position of having to do the legwork to resolve one of your projects.
Do you ever feel like you don’t know where to start working on a project?
If you work in an office that has a preferred project management software, take a class or online seminar and learn how to effectively use this system. If your office doesn’t have such software already in place, research online project management tools and find the one that works best for you. Then, learn how to use it and take advantage of its features.
Honestly evaluate if you are in a position to meet the needs of the position for which you are in. You should be the first person to know if you are unqualified for the task. And the first to speak up. If someone has to come to you later and “let you go” because you can’t do the job, don’t be surprised. Step up and learn it, or step out, saving you and your supervisors a lot of stress.
Do you have action items on your to-do list that have been there for more than a week? a month?
When planning your day, schedule 30 minutes to focus on these lingering tasks. Keep scheduling time for these activities until you are able to cross all of them off of your to-do list. Then, make a commitment to never let an action item linger on your to-do list for more than a week (or two, based on your type of work). These lingering items create a great deal of anxiety, and that anxiety can slow you down.
Just do it. Stop putting things off, if you don’t get to it now, odds are you never will. (I can’t say this enough!), and if you can’t do it, go back and re-read my comments above.
If something happened to you, and a qualified replacement would need to step in to work for you for awhile, would she be constantly frustrated or have to pick up the phone to have you help her find things she needed?
If you’re out of the office for any reason (emergency, illness, vacation, sudden promotion), someone should be able to come in and take over your work without much difficulty. Unless you are self-employed (and even then, you may have legal responsibilities to your clients), you do not own your work or the materials used to complete that work. Keeping this simple fact in mind can often help to keep you more diligently organized.