By: Charity Crawford
What sorts of feelings and images does this wonderful word conjure up for you? Does it make you feel peaceful? Does it send your brain into a spiraling tizzy? Do you imagine a neatly-sorted desk drawer with everything just-so? Or do you imagine your closet at home, which has become a no-man’s-land of randomness and chaos, likely to swallow up an unsuspecting pet or child for hours if given the opportunity?
Most of us know that being organized is essential to gaining and maintaining a successful personal business. But how many of us actually practice what we internally preach? I’m going to share with you some quick tips to help you stay organized throughout your work week. Being organized saves you time, and time is money, people. Don’t waste it! You won’t get it back!
1. Eliminate clutter.
Clutter can come in many different forms. Sometimes it’s “stuff” that accumulates on your desk at work, like those dishes from your lunch break a few days ago; those 74 sticky notes that may or may not even be relevant at this point; the print-outs of all your company’s policies and procedures; etc. Clutter can also be saving tons of electronic documents on your computer’s desktop, or keeping every single email that’s ever been sent by anyone in the entire history of your company. (You know who you are.)
Determine what is absolutely necessary to be within view on your desk and get rid of the rest of it. If there’s something you use daily, keep it on your desk. This can include a couple photos of your family, since they often help keep us motivated, but don’t get too crazy!
Create folders on your hard drive for any must-save items and store documents there, not on your desktop. Regularly clean out your email inbox and folders for outdated or irrelevant items. Create folders for your inbox, and only keep your must-do items in your inbox. Everything else gets deleted or filed away in a folder for future reference. If you’re someone who cringes at the word “delete,” then you REALLY need to take this advice. I promise, you won’t die.
If there are printed documents that are important or useful, consider scanning them or asking the management team to send you email copies. Save them in a folder on your hard drive at work so you know where they are when you need them.
A clutter-free space is a clutter-free mind. Eliminating the unnecessary stuff on your desk gives you a sense of calm and does wonders for your energy, which helps fuel your drive to get things done.
2. Make friends with your email.
If you’re the type of person who has to check their email as soon as a new one pops into your inbox, I would suggest that you stop doing that immediately. I’ve been guilty of doing this myself, and I’ve found myself wondering where half my day went at the end of the day.
Tell yourself this: If something is really important, chances are, someone’s going to try to call me or come over to my desk. If it’s emailed, then the priority level probably isn’t terribly high. In other words, it can wait.
Set up email groups in your email account so that you can send a mass email at once to all parties involved. You can create groups for your current travelers, previous travelers, people on your team at work, etc. That will save you time for having to type out names individually.
You’re often able to change the settings in your email program so that it doesn’t give you a pop-up notification or make a sound whenever a new email comes in. This is hugely helpful when it comes to staying on task.
3. Block out your time
I’ve worked with many successful recruiters and one thing that they all seem to have in common is that they dedicate small parts of their day to doing just one thing. Contrary to popular belief, more and more research is showing that humans just aren’t that great at multitasking, and trying to do so only lowers the quality of the tasks we try to complete.
Set aside blocks of time for specific tasks. An hour for new recruiting calls, 30 minutes for checking email in the morning and again in the afternoon, an hour to update profiles, etc. Choose what tasks require your time and schedule them out during your work day. And during those blocks of time, focus ONLY on those tasks. Eliminate as many distractions as you can (especially that cell phone!).
4. Write. It. Down.
Sticky note fanatics, don’t get too excited. I’m not going to applaud your crazy tactics, so just settle down!
Joking aside, it definitely helps to jot things down or have the documentation in place for things that you need to accomplish and for important conversations that you may need to refer back to. However, how you document these things is important, since you still want to prevent the accumulation of clutter. Most CRMs have the capability to allow you to set up calls or reminders to follow up with candidates on certain dates. Utilize the crap out of it. There’s no reason or excuse not to schedule those calls or emails in advance.
Keeping lists daily of the tasks you need to accomplish has also helped a lot of recruiters become successful. Writing that list at the end of the previous day will help to ensure nothing is forgotten, and you can leave the office knowing that you have set up a productive day for tomorrow.
Work with your managers, team leads, and other successful people in your job role to determine what tasks require your immediate attention, and which ones can wait, if you’re not sure. Make absolute certain that you have a mental or physical list of what those items are, and follow it to a T, every single day. I’ve seen many recruiters fail at growing their desks and at traveler retention because they had no idea how to prioritize.
Tough conversations often go toward the top of the priority list. If you need to let one of your travelers go or let them know that they’re going to be missing a paycheck that week, you need to get that conversation out of the way, RIGHT away. Holding on to that conversation in your head is only going to complicate matters far worse, and it’s going to suck the life right out of your day, if you let it. Once you’ve had the conversation, GET ON WITH YOUR DAY. Agonizing over it is only going to delay everything else that needs to be accomplished, and creates a negative ripple effect for the rest of your week.
What other tips you have to stay organized? Let’s learn from each other and share our best practices. I hope you will find these quick tips beneficial and appreciate you taking the time to read my suggestions!