Have you ever walked into your office in the morning after battling traffic, and race to your desk to see your monitor covered with post-it notes, your voicemail light already flashing, and your e-mail inbox continuing to deliver new messages every 30 seconds? Does this sound like a typical day for you? According to a survey conducted by Pitney Bowes the American worker handles an average of 204 messages each day, (e-mail, voice-mail and notes) so you are not alone. Below are a few ideas of how you can combat this ever-growing onslaught of information to maximize your efficiency.
- Schedule your day: This may sound like the obvious, but planning your day ahead of time will turn countless hours of unproductive time into highly efficient time. The best time to schedule your day is to do it before you leave work the night before. This way you can take an objective overview of what you need to accomplish the next day.
- Manage your voicemail: Voicemail seems like a convenience to many, but to others it can become a nightmare. Voicemail has allowed people to leave messages at all hours of the day or night. Usually voicemails require some sort of action or response. The best way to manage it is to check it periodically. The most important time is in the morning so you can prioritize which calls need immediate action and which ones can wait. By doing this you can fit these return calls into your daily schedule.
- Managing email: Email has allowed communication to become easier than it ever has been before. Email is great communication tool but it can also be a downfall when it comes to productivity. The temptation is to check your e-mails as they come into your inbox. The urge to consistently check your e-mail is a natural one because no one likes it when your e-mail piles up and the next thing you know, there are 50 e-mails waiting for you. The best way to combat the e-mail crunch is to read your e-mail first thing in the morning. This will allow you to take action immediately. The worst thing you can do is open an e-mail and say to yourself, “I’ll take care of this one later.” Chances are that more e-mail will come in and your old e-mails will become buried with no action being taken on them. Set aside several times throughout your day to review e-mails and take action. This will help you from becoming distracted from the tasks you are currently working on.
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- Managing impromptu meetings: Drop by visitors to your desk or impromptu meetings can kill any project or task that you are working on. The best way to avoid too many of these unscheduled meetings is to establish “office hours.” What I mean by this is set aside some time each day that you can commit to being assessable to anyone in your company who needs to meet with you or stop by to discuss pressing matters. Once you establish your “office hours” you will notice that people are more respectful of your time and you will have far fewer interruptions. One thing that you must keep in mind is that there will be times when you will have to break your usual routine to accommodate others within your company to meet their needs. You must remember that we are in the customer service business and flexibility in certain cases is necessary.
As we all know, recruiters have busy days almost each and every day. It is important to stay on top of all of the information that is sent our way, whether it is by voicemail, email or any other means of communication. The key to maintaining order over your desk in this type of environment is to schedule your time and stick to that schedule. Once you begin to stray from it, you will notice that you are becoming more reactive and less proactive in your day-to-day duties.