Document Management – Practice Good Time Management and Organization Techniques

Managing paper in any office is an overwhelming task, because there is a seemingly ever-increasing mountain of paper files.

Whether you’re a small or large company, you must practice good time management and office organization techniques in order to control costs and provide excellent service. Constantly increasing staff productivity is a must. What is needed is a simple, but effective document management solution.

David Lawrence of David Lawrence and Associates said in a previous article, “Consider how much it costs to maintain inefficient paperwork and filing systems. If, as a direct result of not having efficient systems, it costs you and/or your staff one hour each day (this is probably conservative), and you used a $50-per-hour cost factor over the course of an entire year-the cost of inefficiency could top $12,000 in lost time ($50 x five days per week x 48 weeks).

There is an old saying in business that goes, As much as is possible, handle a piece of paper only once. Those of us who scan through paper mail and set it aside in an inbox, promising to deal with it later, may find that same piece of mail a couple of months later buried in a pile. Deadlines can be missed, important mail can be commingled with unimportant (or junk) mail…”

In that Financial Advisor Magazine article entitled ‘Conquering The Paperwork Mountain,’ Mr. Lawrence recommended a document management software and filing system. This software is found to be an invaluable tool for helping people to better manage their office and get organized to stay on top of the virtual mountain of paperwork that they must deal with each day. You get all the power of the computer WITHOUT the risks and time commitment of paper scanning.

This software is a file indexing tool that allows you to go ahead and set up hanging files with numbered tabs, so they are ready to drop your paper filing into.

When going through mail, decide what needs action, what should be filed, and what should be tossed. Stacks of paper files all over the office lead to frustration and inefficiency, which is costly in both time and money, so you must prioritize and decide on procedures to handle the paper that comes through your office. To create an even more efficient office, be sure to document your paper handling system and retention guidelines. (the schedule of the life cycle of documents in your office) This will ensure that everyone is organized in the same way and training on these procedures will be a sync in the event of employee illness or staff turnover.

-Decide what is junk, and toss what should be tossed immediately.

-For items that need to be filed, the best practice would be to open the document management database and input Item Name and Keywords for each item, then immediately drop the file into the corresponding hanging folder.

Or you could have a tray or folder on your desk where you can immediately place items to be filed. Then set aside 15 minutes to clear your desk at the end of each day, enter the necessary information regarding the ‘to be filed’ into the document management database, and place the files into the corresponding hanging folder. (remember, the hanging folders are already set up, so you don’t have to worry about finding folders and making tabs)

Five Time Management Tricks Managers Use

Ever wonder why your manager seems to get so much done without seeming to do a lot of work? It is not that they are doing nothing; it is more because they are doing things right. If you take the time to observe your manager, you will probably notice him or her doing five things that you may not be doing. These five things are easy tricks to successful time management at the office.

Manage what hits the inbox. You should conduct an audit of the type of things that land in your inbox, whether it is paper or electronic. You could be getting copied on information that you do not need to see, if so ask to be removed from the distribution list. You might be seeing stuff that requires action but it is not in your realm of skill or responsibility, if so pass the information on to the right person and possibly suggest they request your name be replaced with theirs on future correspondence. That should just leave what you need to know or you need to act upon. For the remaining items, act upon them in some way so you do not need to keep going back to them.

Keep desk clean. Clutter is distracting and makes it hard to find what you need when you need it. Put photos and memorabilia on a shelf or bulletin board, not on your desk. Make it a habit to put everything away before you leave for the day or go out to lunch, so you come back to a clean work area. Develop a filing system that works for the things you want to keep. Then immediately recycle or trash the things you do not need to keep.

Go to lunch earlier or later than noon. Most people go to lunch at noon so there will always be time wasted standing in line to get a table, wait on the food order, wait on the check and pay it, plus traffic to and from the location where you eat. It does not matter if you go out or eat in the company cafeteria; noon is always a crowded time. Instead go at 11:00AM or 1:00PM to get a quicker and quieter lunch experience.

Keep track of who is interrupting and why. If you know who is always stopping by to ask questions or just talk, then you can work together to reduce unnecessary interruptions. This will work for both of you in managing your time better. Together you should set 10-15 minutes to meet once or twice a day instead of having multiple disruptions during the workday. Since you set short meetings, you can stand during the meeting to ensure they do not go longer.

Prepare for meetings. Gather everything you need for the meeting you are participating in or leading. Put the meeting on your calendar 5-10 minutes ahead and a few minutes after. In the minutes before, you have time to get ready and get there on time. In the minutes afterwards, you can get moving on any action items you got from the meeting. Also, make sure the meeting has an agenda so everyone’s time is used efficiently when you are all together. If you were not sent an agenda, ask for it before the meeting starts.
Now that you have reviewed the five time management tricks that most managers use successfully, will you consider using them too? If you apply these simple concepts to your work in the office, you should see that you too can get more done.

The 7 Best Time Management Books Out There

Time management is a vital skill that one must learn to get the most out of life. Learning this skill is relatively easy as long as you know what you want in life and have the drive and passion to achieve it. To complement an individual’s fast-paced lifestyle, here are some of the best management books to learn from.

The 7 Best Management Books:

Getting Things Done by David Allen: David Allen, a management expert, introduces his methodology on how to get things done in his book, Getting Things Done. His philosophy on time management is explained plainly in this book and, in fact, most of the present management methodologies are based on his management style.

Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Management by Mark Forster: Mark Forster is a well-known author and lecturer in the field of management. His book, Do It Tomorrow, shows his alternative views on time management. In this book, readers will find the seven management principles that Forster has developed for effective time management. Both novices and experts will find something worth noting in this book.

The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard: Ken Blanchard is a popular author of many management books. The One Minute Manager is the first book in the One Minute series that Blanchard has published. This book is very brief and only highlights a few key concepts for effective time management.

Putting The One Minute Manager to Work by Ken Blanchard: This book is another Blanchard work that helps the readers of the One Minute Manager apply the ideas in real life. In this book, the readers will learn how to work well with their team in a lighthearted but effective manner.

Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard: The Leadership and the One Minute Manager is another installment in Ken Blanchard’s One Minute series. In the abovementioned books, Blanchard has stressed the importance of management and effective teamwork and monitoring system to become productive. In this book, Blanchard focuses on how to develop the leader in an individual to be a good manager. This book is a good accompaniment for the abovementioned Blanchard masterpieces.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: For seasoned readers of books about time management, this book is a classic. Stephen Covey’s philosophical approach on time management helps the readers have a clear viewpoint in life to determine their personal goals and achieve it. This book is a perfect life coach as well as a management guide.

The Now Habit by Neil Fiore: Neil Fiore has finally discovered the antidote for procrastination. In his book, The Now Habit, he introduces several effective techniques to overcome procrastination. These techniques and systems make management easy and fun so readers will enjoy applying these lessons in real life.
These books about management are only some of the best in the market today. Whether a mentor or a learner, one can learn something useful from these books.

Time Management – Be Most Effective at Work by Managing Your Time

Management and staff must remember that they alone cannot perform all of the practice’s duties on their own, and such duties cannot be performed at once.

Therefore management must use efficient time management skills and must also teach such skills to staff.

It is common that employees feel a sense of urgency to complete their tasks. This can be caused by the fear of reprimand or generating the perception of poor performance by having uncompleted tasks. Some employees experience significant anxiety knowing they have multiple tasks waiting to be completed.

Management and staff gain satisfaction by completing their tasks urgently as it helps them feel useful. This reinforces the need to work in an urgent manner. Although this provides employees with a temporary relief of stress, the perception of urgency creates more stress than what is relieved after quickly completing many tasks.

Employees should always keep a work-list of tasks that need to be done. During the day, tasks can manifest during the busiest of times and the employee may easily forget about it if they do not write it down. Employees would benefit from carrying around a notebook so that they can make notes and reminders as the day progresses.

A work-list should also be prioritized.

Management and staff should know the difference between what is important and what is urgent, and should prioritize accordingly. Organizing this way reduces stress as and relieves anxiety as employees will feel more confident that duties will be completed when they need to be and that nothing will fall through the cracks.

Employees should prioritize urgent matters but must ensure that important issues are addressed as well, as important issues that are not taken care of will later become urgent.

To manage time on a broader perspective, managers should plan about 30 days in advance to ensure that they are prepared for tasks or events in the future. Management should make use of a calendar and refer to such while planning.

Specific times should be set for certain tasks. i.e. Nurses should choose a time each day to return phone calls when they are the least busy and can avoid interruption.

Staff should communicate to each other at times when they cannot be disturbed.

For managers, the most effective time management skill is delegation. Although some may like too, managers CANNOT control everything. Some managers are reluctant to delegate duties because they feel that by passing their responsibilities onto others, they are threatening their own jobs. However, if the employees that a manager manages do well, it is reflective of their leaders. A good leader not only has a goal and a vision for the practice, but shares such goals with the staff and the challenges in the way of reaching its goals.

Time Management – Why it is a Problem

Some of the reasons people use time management can be counter productive to achieving sustainable change that delivers consistent results.

Part of the problem is that the phrase can be misleading. Here’s why:

Time doesn’t need managing. It’s YOU that needs managing!

The problem is that you are diverting attention from resolving underlying problems permanently that would create lasting solutions that would then no longer require managing.

The problem with time management strategies is that they are often used inappropriately – and that is what concerns me. What we are often doing is using time management to manage ineffective behaviour patterns and bad habits instead of using them for improving productiveness and effectiveness. An important distinction.

So instead, I chose to focus on, what I call, self management.

Focussing on self management is about finding lasting changes to ineffective behaviour patterns and bad habits. Whereas time management often is about managing these problems. Self management deals with real change that delivers tangible results. Hence my preference for focussing on self management, not time management. You are going to dramatically increase your effectiveness if your remove problem areas totally rather than putting things in place to manage them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you throw out the current methods you use to get things done or that time management tools don’t have a place. What I am suggesting is this……

Focusing on self management is more likely to give real solutions, lasting change and effective habits that naturally produce results.

A good starting point is to look at the mindset you go into when something comes up that you feel falls into a “time management” issue.

If every time a bad habit or behaviour pattern surfaces your immediate mindset is to put a time management technique or tool in place to manage it, you are going to be forever in managing issues mode, not creating lasting solutions mode.