Plan Ahead

Some people are self-proclaimed planners, while others prefer to “go with the flow.” While someone’s tendency to plan can fall anywhere on a wide spectrum, it’s important for everyone to understand the benefits of being prepared and know how to manage work through planning beforehand.

In her book, How to Control Your Day in an Uncontrollable Workplace, author Laura Stack lists these benefits of planning ahead:

  • You have a sense of what to expect tomorrow.
  • You sleep better without thinking about work.
  • It helps you to compartmentalize work and home.
  • You wake with a purpose, a sense of the day. You are less reactive.
  • You will know if you made realistic plans for the day.
  • You avoid the decision dilemma. These are the time gaps when you ask yourself, “What should I do next?”
  • You have a clear focus, which reduces your stress level.
  • You enjoy family time more.

You are present and focused. One of the biggest places you’ll see a benefit in planning ahead is for your meetings. When you start more than ten minutes beforehand, you can incorporate some strategies to help everyone stay attentive.

 Coordinate Meetings

Unfortunately, most of us can think of more than one meeting we’ve attended that was unproductive, or even entirely unnecessary. Planning is crucial to ensuring everyone’s time isn’t wasted. Meetings should have a clear purpose and a set agenda. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be room for improvisation or brainstorming; if the organizer already knew everything, there wouldn’t need to be a meeting.

Every meeting needs someone who is accountable for keeping the meeting on track and on time. Training your managers in effective host techniques can give their teams a resource to use if their meetings keep getting off track. You might have to give feedback about the length of someone’s inspiring stories or put an outright ban on stories if the meeting has a lot of content to get through in a short time.

Before your next meeting, keep these tips in mind to ensure it’s an effective use of time:

  • Provide physical space and calendar space.
  • Communicate a clear purpose.
  • Set an agenda.
  • Designate someone to keep things on track.
  • Plan time for spoken communication.
  • Ask for and implement feedback.

 Tame Your Inbox

Email can be either a useful tool or a cruel weapon. Every message that comes into our inbox, unless it’s marked as urgent, looks the same. Everybody’s message has the same weight. We have to take time to read every subject line before we decide whether to open it and do something with it, flag it for later, or discard it and move on.

To keep your inbox from getting the better of you, try these tips for managing email:

  • Schedule designated times when you check your email, rather than having it open all day.
  • Transition periods (home to work, work to lunch, work to home) are great times to check your inbox.
  • Close your email program and disable notifications when you need to focus on other things.
  • When reading emails, if it will take longer than a couple minutes to deal with, add it to your To Do List in order of priority with your other tasks.

Mass emails can be an efficient way to send a message, but if our teams aren’t all on the same page with how to be courteous and respectful of others’ time reading email, it can be a big source of frustration.

Here are some guidelines to encourage your team to think about before sending or responding to mass emails:

  • Respond directly and privately to mass emailers.
  • Comments on announcements can lead to repeated distractions for everyone.
  • Encourage use of proper channels, such as IM or a Community Forum instead of email.




SOURCE:  Bamboo HR



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