You have to take time to make things better. Do you have one of those jobs where you feel like you have more and more demands to the point you need to bring work home to keep up? Many times we take on a number of tasks at once and feel overwhelmed. About a year ago I put some thought into how I would make my work life more enjoyable so the workload was not so unbearable. I used some of the 5S techniques of sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. It helped but there was more work to be done. Things where organized and that helped but I still needed more. So what helped?
I started taking 10 minutes a day to do anything I thought would make myself more efficient. Like printing out the next day’s meeting materials, making a list of things I didn’t want to forget and organizing any supplies I needed for tomorrows meetings. The important thing is I was taking out time for myself to make things better. In essence it was advanced planning and it had a cascading effect when I did it every day the effects where magnified. Each day I found myself working on something different than the day before to make myself even better or add quality to work such as writing thank you cards, or adding additional touches to make work life better for everyone.
Make a quick list or edit your calendar the day before so you know what’s on the books and can build a mental strategy.
Go digital – I had a file cabinet 5 feet tall, 24 inched deep, and 48 inches wide. Why? I felt in customer interactions I would need them again because many were tied to projects and activities I had done over the last 3 to 4 years. I started scanning in the documents that had signatures or drawn diagrams etc. and shredding the remainder. In this day and age everything should be digital and backed up to another source if you are worried about loss. The benefits of getting rid of the paper where many. I gained about 8 square feet of office space, I gained efficiency because if a client, colleague, or I needed a paper I had to find it, I was helping the environment by no longer printing so many materials.
Another efficiency maker was email. I had rules, I had auto delete, and I got rid of junk mail but the email box became a 08:00 to 4:30 job. Why? Because we let it, society has become email driven in the workplace and we make a job out of drafting emails and making attachments. It’s a common work language. You have to take charge of it and I used a tip from Tim Ferris, Author of the Four Hour Work Week. I checked just the ones I needed info from to start the day then I dispositioned email at 12:00 and 3:30. I no longer spent all day at my email box. I went out and got the things done that needed to be done and were probably going to wind up in my email box anyway. Half of the time I had already done something someone had emailed about.
For me taking 10 minutes a day, going digital, using 5S and managing email instead of it managing me turned out to make great improvements in my work life, I hope it helps you too.