Filing to do? Letters to sign, reports to finish, your office looks like a bomb has dropped and the phone won’t stop ringing. Sound familiar? I know this scenario too well. The days been filled with interruptions and your report for the meeting tomorrow, isn’t close to ready. Suddenly your boss comes storming though your door. He needs you to go and see a client, right now, to prevent the s… hitting the fan. But it’s 4pm and what about your report? You think to yourself. ”Why is it that nothing is done in this place until, there’s a potential crisis?” you complain to your girlfriend, while phoning to break, yet another dinner date. ”I’m going to end up having to type my report myself, now, so may as well forget about dinner altogether”. There’s an awkward silence, and next you hear click, then nothing. If only you had of been organized enough, to have your report complete, prior to the day before due, you wouldn’t be letting down, the persons whose number one in your life. Leaving things till the last minute will always have you running from one crisis to the next. Will always have you letting down, the people that you love. Thing is, this is preventable and I have a solution for you.
No matter how highly placed we are in the organizations that we work in, or even, if we work for ourselves, repetitive tasks are a part of life. In the office, if your lucky enough to have an assistant, a lot of the everyday, bread and butter type tasks, can be done by your support or the office junior.
Still, we all end up, having to deal with these mundane tasks, in some kind of capacity.
Often getting around to doing them, can take some time.
The problem with this is, that these tasks, when pushed to the side, can build up into a monumental job, that just the thought of doing, and catching up on, is enough to have us sighing in despair.
The way to handle all repetitive daily tasks, is in batches, in a routine, which will lead to a habit, if done frequently enough.
Until such time, schedule blocks of time, make appointments with yourself to do them, use a checklist and a timer to develop the schedule.
Brainstorming Notes with Digital Notebooks
Let’s do some brainstorming here. Grab a note book and pen, or click on your One Note notebook, or Evernote. For those who aren’t familiar with these programs, OneNote is a notebook, program, from Microsoft, which allows you to enter notes into as many different notebooks, as you like to have to deal with your note system.
It allows you to enter media in any form From typed, to copy and pasted from the web, to handwritten and translated into typing, to voice messages, audio, video, pictures, absolutely any form of media that you can think of, and in any order that you would like.
For around $70 you can purchase OneNote from Amazon clicking here.
I use OneNote, it came with my Microsoft Office 10, professional software package. I love it and use it non stop. It syncs with my iPhone and the One Note app is free from iTunes. Here’s the link for OneNote for iPhone from iTunes here.
Evernote Free Note Taking App
Alternatively you could use Evernote. This is a free program that you can use on your PC and also your phone or tablet. It is very similar to OneNote only, it doesn’t use colour coding, and you keep all your notes in the one notebook. I use Evernote also. I was using it before I started with OneNote. I am mainly now using it for capturing research material, when I’m at work. My work computer doesn’t have a copy of OneNote at the moment. I still have lots of notes to transfer out of Evernote, but that’s another story.
Finances and Memorabilia Storage
The main reason I have started using One Note is because, I decided to go digital with my finances, and to archive all my old papers, cards, tickets, letters, recipes and a host of other bibs and bobs.
I scan these papers into their own Notebooks, and have a WP passport external drive, to backup the system.
I decided on going this way when I went digital, so that I didn’t have to rely on an online business, to have my most important, financial and memorabilia papers on their servers and on-line.
It’s really a safer option I feel, to store these things on my own PC and then have them backed up on an easy to use external hard drive.
What papers do you still need to keep?
I no longer keep any papers, unless I need them for tax purposes.
I have cancelled all the financial statements that I can.
I don’t keep the new ones that still come in the snail mail, once I have paid the account. I simply take a photo of the paid statement, or the receipt, and scan it into my finances notebook, and shred the original.
There are still some important documents, which you must keep, as originals and in their original paper form. These include, but in no way are the only documents: (each persons requirements are different. Check with your accountant, or get legal advice for your own personal situation)
- birth certificates
- marriage certificate
- insurance policy’s
- superannuation policy’s
- medical insurance policy’s
- car insurance policy’s
- car log books
- home and property deeds and mortgage papers
- investment certificates
- school/education certificates
- warranty certificates for currently owned property
- valuation certificates
Keep all these papers in a plastic sleeved display book. Take a digital copy to add to your records also.
On a yearly, or alternatively, each time you have to add a document to the file, flick through all the pages and remove any documents which are no longer are in date.
Make certain to replace it with the new document..
Once complete, choose a safe place to store this very important book.
You have also to decide where to store your back -up digital copy of these files as well. Ideally a safe, is a good place to start, but if that’s not possible, consider keeping an extra digital copy, locked in a file cabinet at work, or at a relatives place.
Your original copies, you want in a display book, a good hard bound leather one, would be the absolute ideal.
If these documents are on your computer, consider putting them all into one file and password protecting that particular file. You can then transfer a password protected, locked, version of the file onto 2 micro sd cards or usb sticks. Why not keep one of these at work, and one with a friend or relative.
Better to be safe than sorry
Unfortunately we can never be too careful, when it comes to protecting the most precious and important, of the things that we own. We never think it will happen to us, but things happen to people all the time. We had major floods where I live in January 2011. We were fine, thank goodness, however, something like 20% of the residents of the town where we lived, had their homes, completely flooded. How many of those people would have had backups of important papers. Maybe 5% if they were lucky.
With micro SD cards and USB sticks being as small and as inexpensive as they now are, we should all look to make backup files of our photos also. How sad for people when they lose those types of things, especially for the ones who were aware of and new how to create digital backups. I’m going to do it.
Display book for Operation and Warranty cards
The other thing I like to keep in a display book, is the warranty card and the operation manual for any electrical items that we own. It’s worth having a system (or a routine habit) of keeping any new manuals, in your display book, so that if ever the time comes, and you need to refer back to the book, you’ll know where it is.
Make a habit of filing your manual, in your display book, as soon as you have finished reading it. While placing your new manual in your book, have a quick check for any obsolete manuals and remove and throw those away. You can keep your manual/warranty book, either in your bookcase or in your office. Just make certain to choose a spot for it, and decide, that will be the home of that book.
Familiar Routines for Daily Work
Just as we have daily office routines which involve, getting to work each day, a certain way. Buying our coffee from our favorite coffee shop, and drinking it from our special cup. Sitting at our own desk, using particular pens, note books, even down to wearing our work clothes, creating familiar routines for dealing with daily office type tasks, can make you more productive.
Daily Routines make office workers more productive and less stressed
In this report from the BBC news on office workers being more productive and less stressed, by sticking to daily routines.
It went on to say that a report, by recruitment firm Office Angels, found that slavishly keeping to office rituals and familiar routines can make people more productive.
Sitting at the same desk everyday and even by following small routines, such as labelling office belongings and wearing lucky clothes, employees feel more able to cope with day-to-day stresses and strains.
Here’ s some mouse tricks to make your daily office tasks a little easier
This first tip is from how to geek. How to geek have wicked help for any computer tasks, or problems, that may ever come your way. They have been around for ages, and can totally be trusted when it comes to helping with virus’s or any other types of computer malfunctions.
- Dragging a file from a volume (Drive Letter) to another location on the same volume will result in a move operation.
- Dragging a file from a drive to another drive will result in a copy operation.
But what if you want to make a copy of a file on the same drive? Sure, you could use the context menu but that’s just extra clicks–
- instead drag your file or folder with the right mouse button, when you release the button a hidden context menu will appear, allowing you to choose what operation you want to carry out.
Keyboard routines to learn for easy work
- ‘Ctrl+left click’ : to open links in a new tab
- ‘Ctrl + scrollwheel : zooms in and out to make objects and text on screen bigger or smaller
- “click scrollwheel : anywhere on a tab to close it.
- hold ‘Ctrl’ : select multiple pieces of text, if you choose to copy them they will be concatenated on the clipboard. (For ms office)
- to open two windows at a time in windows 7 drag the first window to the left, it will snap to half the page.
- to open more than 2 windows, and to open them vertically, open up Task Manager via any of a number of routes, Ctrl+Shift+Esc—and then hold down the Ctrl button while you select multiple applications in the list.
- use the Ctrl+Z keyboard shortcut, or use Edit Undo on the menu to undo an accidental move or delete.
The best and easiest way to organize your daily office work, whether at your desk, in your office or at your computer, is into daily, routine tasks. By doing this, you are setting yourself up for less stress. Repetition makes you more efficient. By bounding away, through your easy, mundane, tasks, that are all the while essential to your work, you leave more time for yourself to focus on creative, innovative and executing exciting new projects.
Planning and preparation is extremely important, when it comes to daily routine tasks. Weekly planning, as a minimum is essential, along with time each day, blocked out in your schedule to complete your daily routine tasks. Handling your daily tasks in this manner, makes for certain that you wont only be putting out fires everyday. Doing the tasks that are urgent, critically urgent and deadline oriented.
Planning and preparation is then, the keystone habit, that needs to be put into place. Spending an hour each week, to plan for the week ahead, along with a few minutes each day to check and update your schedule, should be what your aiming at.
Check out this post on business office administration, for more details, on working your daily tasks, into daily routines, and how to go about it.
You can see our complete 9 part series on an organized office here.
Blog Challenge Day 56
We are currently doing a blogging challenge called “Blogging while Angels Sleep“, 90 posts in about 90 days. If you’d like to take part, your most welcome to. You can jump in and begin right here, and work your way with us to blog challenge 90. Once there, turn around and go start at 1. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below, or contact me using the contact button on the top of the page.
Today, go to your Google Webmaster Account, and take a look at your 10 most popular posts. Knowing which are the most linked to, gives you a good indication of what you should write more of . Once you know, write a post as a follow up to your top post, or a different take or angle on your top post. For me, the most linked too posts on my site, are to do with office and administration organization, routines and habits, and that’s the reason why our blogging challenge for today, is wrapped in a post, like this.
Call to action
How much time do you spend each week planning and preparing your work? I’m also interested to know of any other great shortcuts that you use at your keyboard. Would love to know in the comments.
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As always, thanks for reading,