Blogger: Wendy Lawton
All of our agents have slipped out of the office to spend the holidays with their families. We’ve picked from previous posts “The Best of” for your reading pleasure and pondering. Our office opens on January 5, 2015, and we’ll have new posts waiting for you then. In the meantime, Merry Christmas!
Last week I talked about organizing and herding cats. Did you discover an area or two in which to ramp up your organizational skills? Remember, analyzing your organizational skills is not about seeing where you may have fallen short, but finding areas in which to grow.
My advice is to:
- Tackle one area at a time.
- Spend some time analyzing how you currently work.
- Research how others handle that task.
- Choose the system that seems like it will work best for you.
- Put it into practice.
- Give it enough of a trial to work past the discomfort that always accompanies the unfamiliar.
- Decide if it’s working for you. If not, start over with #4.
For instance, let’s say you found out that your email is out of control and you need a new system to help you handle it more efficiently. Following #1 above, you’d want to focus solely on the email problem— not try to redesign your file system, buy new bookcases and revamp email all in the same week. That’s a surefire recipe for chaos.
Next you’d want to observe how you currently handle email. Let’s say all your email goes into one inbox. When you sit down at your computer most mornings, you scan all the email subject headings, opening the interesting ones and ignoring others. You leave them all to deal with later— some opened, some not. You check email several times a day, reading the fun ones and letting the others pile up. You only sit down to work on your inbox when it’s so full it’s making you crazy.
Okay, so you need to investigate other methods. You go online and google “managing email.” Amazing. You find out that your own email system already has automatic ways to filter your email, putting each category into a different inbox. You figure out how to create the rules to do that. Voila! Not hard at all. Now you look at all the ways of efficiently dispatching email, maybe like those found in David Allen’s Getting Things Done. You put the new system into practice. Now you’re cooking.
For the first couple of days the difference is amazing but, unfortunately, you backslide. Maybe you’re waiting to hear from your wonderful agent about a to-die-for contract, so you start checking mail every hour or so, ignoring all mail except from your agent. Oops! Gotta get back on the track. It takes time to make a new practice into a habit.
Once efficient handling of email is a habit, you’ll be ready to tackle the next problem area. It’s like the old question: How do you eat an elephant?
One spoonful at a time.