Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Much has changed in the workplace, it seems that technology has taken over. The question is has technology helped you or simply added another layer of responsibilities that are now gadget-filled?
Does it feel like you are working harder than ever? Perhaps you are. It may be time to take a step back and find a way blend the old things that work, with new technology. Don't make work for yourself by insisting on having the newest gadgets in your office. In other words start working smart instead of hard.
One of the things you can do is to make it your business to take control of your work schedule. If you don't have full control of your schedule, perhaps you work for several people, you can still get better control by handling your bosses. What? Handle your boss?
Handling your boss or manager is easier than you think. Start your day by asking your manager if there is anything that must be done before Noon? Very often a manager has received information or a request that you are not aware of. It is on his or her mind to have you type or prepare letter or pull files, etc. She is trying to complete several things so you won't get the assignment until 20 minutes before it is due. Asking in advance is a way to jog memories. Make a habit of seeking work early in the morning and your day will run smoother. Take notes then transfer them to your computer so they are visible.
If your boss/manager attends a 2 hour or all-day staff meeting every week or month, use that time for your administrative tasks. File, make folders or labels or anything that is usually kept on the back burner because you can't find time for the chore. If possible, don't answer the phone; if you must answer, keep the conversation short. Review your manager's schedule, see if there is anything you can do or a file you can pull now to make a future meeting run more smoothly. If there is a meeting in two weeks and you know that certain files will be needed, make sure they are available and easy to pull or put in a folder with the date and time of the meeting.
Have special times to check your e-mails. If your office is e-mail intensive check your system in the morning, at noon and before you leave your office. If you only check your e-mail once a day, it should be before you leave the office. Do not respond to friendly forwards, etc., if you feel that you must or have encouraged friends to e-mail you at your workplace, arrive a few minutes early. If social media contact falls under your list of responsiblities handle the same way you handle your e-mail, and at the same time.
Never get too busy to take your lunch hour or your break unless it is an emergency or you have been requested to forego your free time. Don't stay in the office and eat at your desk, then become angry when people start to assume that you will stay in and eat at your desk.
Make a work week to-do list and use it. Depending on the relationship you have with your boss, share your "to-do" list with your boss, she may have suggestions.