Become More Efficient.. Get Organized

To get more done, here’s what you will need to do:

Avoid interruption: If possible, leave your phone on voice mail during times you have scheduled to work on projects. If you have a private office, close your door. You might even place a sign saying something like “Hard at Work: Please Come Back Later.” If you are interrupted, help keep the interruption short by remaining task-oriented.

You’ll need to keep track of appointments, when you placed phone calls, and what date you should be following up with people you speak to. Use whatever system works best for your personal style: a pocket datebook, a smart phone, or task management software on your computer (e.g. Outlook) are all appropriate choices. Use sticky notes to highlight important deadlines or projects. You could also keep the same material in a three-ring binder prominently displayed on your desk.

Schedule time to make phone calls and return e-mail. When you leave a phone message, list times that you will be available by phone. Ask the other party to do the same – it will save you both a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on everyone’s favorite game, phone tag. Also, avoid checking your voice mail and e-mail frequently. Instead, review them at scheduled intervals during the day.

For your e-mail, save copies of e-mails you send or receive in separate folders in your e-mail system. You might create one folder for all your job search correspondence, or if you are a heavy e-mail user, add sub-folders for each prospective employer or opportunity. Also use a folder to organize bookmarked web pages, such as job postings you check regularly.

Stick to your plan. The best-laid plans often fall victim to their makers. While spontaneity is important, there is a fine line between it and plain procrastination. Once you’ve come up with a good plan for tackling a task, stay with it. Only you can prevent yourself from wavering.

Whatever organization system you choose, find a way to keep your activities constantly in front of you and check your to-do list often. If everything you need is buried in a drawer, a pile, or your briefcase, your work won’t get as much attention.

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career, job, jobsearch