- Save less. Be honest: How many files do you have that you never refer to? The surest way to avoid clutter is to never allow it to collect. Make your first instinct to delete an email or recycle a paper instead of storing it.
- Delegate more. Before you add an item to your to-do list, consider whether someone else should do it. Does a team member possess stronger skills or a better understanding of the issue? Could the task be a learning opportunity for a staffer?
- Message efficiently. With so many tools available, don’t default to email for communication. Consider a project collaboration app, use instant messaging for quick exchanges, and think about when it will be more effective to talk in person or by phone.
- Do it once. Streamline recurring tasks to save time. Learn computer shortcuts for common operations. Set up AutoText entries to insert boilerplate text with a few keystrokes. As soon as you answer a common question, add it to a “Frequently Asked Questions” list that the entire staff can access.
- Clear the decks. Remove everything from your desk and replace only the items you use daily. Move old electronic documents to an archive folder and create a customized set of files. When you retrieve a file, remove all the documents and replace only those you continue to need. Bit by bit, you will streamline your workplace.
- Ensure understanding. When you talk with team members, avoid misunderstandings. Ask questions to check their grasp of what you want them to do. Example: Have them describe the first steps they will take.
- Promote action. Relinquish your role as the go-to person. Give your team members authority to act on all but the highest-stakes activities.
- Review and plan. Instead of letting your days just happen, put time on your calendar each week for planning. Review what you have accomplished, and then set your top priorities for the coming week.
- Connect. Expand your abilities with a strong network of contacts. Don’t wait for formal networking events. Devote one lunch or coffee break each week to strengthening an existing relationship or meeting with someone new.
- Relax. Make recharging a routine. To start small, take a 10-minute walk daily. Each time you do it, mark your calendar. After several days you will have a string of accomplishments you won’t want to break. Work up from there as your energy increases.
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