A good office manager is someone that can first organize his or her time best and then the time and space of others working in the office. After all, if you cannot take care of yourself, then how can you expect to excel at the job of taking care of all the other workers?
Whether you need just a bit more help to make the most of your time at work or you feel like you have already mastered all the productivity skills one needs, dig into this chapter. You never know what tip or trick might make things even easier for you.
1. Keep tabs on your tasks
Even if it just means writing them down on a piece of paper. Alternatively, you can use various pieces of software such as Google Tasks, Google Keep, Basecamp, Trello, or just a plain phone app that lets you create lists.
Depending on the complexity of your job, you might just make do with a simple list or with a basic app, but if needed you can also use software or apps that allow you to color-code or organize your tasks visually, such as Trello, amongst others.
It might seem like a very basic starting point, but without freeing up your mind from remembering tasks and making sure everything is organized, you will never be productive enough.
2. Have an email reading time
If you need to go through a lot of emails, and who doesn’t nowadays, then take some time in-between more concrete tasks or meetings for doing just that. It will help with your work process if you know you will answer emails from 11:00 to 11:15 and then move on to another task, without having to worry about constantly checking your inbox or of letting emails get in the way of your tasks. This way, you won’t postpone tasks or have mental interference from emails and other types of messages.
Quick pro trick: only go through your emails chronologically, from the oldest to the newest, if you know there is no degree of importance. Otherwise, create labels in your inbox to help you prioritise which emails you deal with first.
3. Keep your most productive time for difficult tasks
This ties in nicely with our next productivity tip, but before we get to that, you will need to identify what is your most productive time - are you a night owl or a morning bird? Whichever it is, make sure you place your difficult task during that time period you find to be the most productive for you.
Certainly, this won’t always be possible, but whenever you can do so, plan your tasks accordingly. This way you will be able to give that task your best and be done with it in a shorter amount of time.
Some people recommend tackling the most difficult task first - and if you are more productive at the start of your schedule, then this is probably a good piece of advice. All the more so if you are someone that stresses a great deal about what needs to be done next. But if mornings are your least productive time, you will only be setting yourself up for failure. As such, we don’t recommend this approach unless you are an early bird. But what if you’re not, what to do with all that morning time? Well…
4. Keep your less productive time for multiple easy tasks
There’s nothing like starting the day with some easy-peasy tasks that take up little time and give you a sense of achievement on top of everything else. If you adopt this way of organizing your schedule, then you are on a straight path to productivity success.
But not everyone has multiple easy tasks to deal with every day. In that case, just tackle a more time-consuming but easy-to-do task first. The same principle applies – do what’s easy during your least productive time of day and keep the difficult parts for the hours of most productivity.
5. Say ‘No’
Most people fail miserably at their jobs because they have an inherent need of pleasing everyone around them, including or especially their bosses. But these people either end up breaking down in time, or take work with them at home way too often, at the expense of their personal lives.
This is why it is important to learn to say ‘No’. A true professional understands that he or she is not indispensable and should not be so outside of working hours. You can be just what your company needs, within the working schedule allotted to your position in the company.
If your work schedule is that of 8 hours or 9 hours per day, then all your tasks should fit within that schedule. If that is not the case, then simply say ‘No’ to deadlines that are too short or to tasks that cannot be accommodated into your work schedule.
If you choose to say ‘Yes’ more often than should be the case, then you will inevitably end up not respecting deadlines or pushing them. While at first this might not seem like a bad thing, especially if all parties are lenient, in time your performance will drop significantly and everyone around you will start having complaints about you or your department. So, say ‘No’, otherwise you will be a lousy employee and a lousy professional.
6. Delegate (or be selfless)
If you have other people working with you or under you, then make sure you delegate some of your tasks to them. After all, that is why those people are employed, to ease off the burden of work. At the same time, you are also allowing them to grow and blossom professionally by having more tasks to deal with and learn from, making you better at your job.
It is important to understand that not delegating tasks makes you not only less productive but also bad at your job. You might be under the impression that you are the good guy or good girl because you are keeping the burden onto you, but that is actually a selfish and not a selfless behavior. By keeping all tasks to yourself, not only are you making your life miserable, but you are also making yourself the center of attention, to the detriment of those working alongside you. So, be selfless to become more productive.
Implementing most or all of these productivity tips will make a huge difference, albeit in time, and you will be able to enjoy a less stressful work life, while also demonstrating a greater capacity for work. On top of these 6 tips, you can add as many others you can find that suit your exact professional needs - from turning off alerts to limiting your internet time.
Nonetheless, we believe that for significant results, the tips we have offered you here are enough. The rest is just the cherry on top. It doesn’t make the cake taste better or be better, it just makes it look a bit nicer. So, whether you choose to decorate it with the cherry or not, make sure that cake tastes good because no cherry is going to make it tasty by itself.