Meetings are definitely a necessary business function that few people look forward to. They can be made better if theyre better planned. First, you should make sure the meeting is really necessary. A conference call or a well-crafted e-mail message might suffice. Also make sure everyone invited to the meeting really has a need to know, and is clear on the objective--they know what the purpose of the meeting is and the desired outcome. Developing a well thought-out agenda and distributing it prior to the meeting will help keep the meeting on point. Everyones time should be respected by starting on time, staying on schedule, keeping to the point, and ending on time. Hanging clocks all over the office and in the meeting rooms will help too because its easier to stay on schedule when the time is staring you in the face.
Some people have jobs that just seem to require more work, where its necessary to work long hours, take work home, or always feel overwhelmed. What do you recommend for reducing stress in these situations?
You want to keep your life in balance, and you cant do that if your work time takes up too much of your off time. You can be in a position of never getting caught up but not have to work overtime and take work home constantly. But if you do, my advice is that you step back from the work. Just as I mentioned earlier about the boss and his assistant, a lot of times, its the way you do the work and not the work itself that keeps you stressed and frustrated.
Youll have to stop long enough to examine every aspect of what youre doing and how youre doing it. Figure out a better way to do the job. I promise you there is one. Getting organized and developing a system so you can find what you need when you need it will save you an hour a day. If youre trained to do your job, youll finish it six times quicker and make fewer mistakes. Learning how to use technology the right way will also speed up your work. Itll take some effort to make these improvements, but itll make a phenomenal difference. Isnt spending time improving how you work better than wasting time because you continue to do it the way you always have?
Now some people may have done all this, but theyre still working like a maniac. It might be that youve been assigned too much work. Can you outsource or delegate some of it? Or perhaps youre in a situation that your company just wants the work done, and is saving money by not hiring enough people. Instead, they choose to work you into the ground. If thats the case, Id say that its time to dust off the resume.
Being more organized has so many important benefits. But when making the necessary changes, where does one begin?
It depends on where you are right now. When I work with my clients, the first thing we do is eliminate clutter. Im talking about everything from the clothes closet to the computer, eliminate unnecessary stuff, and set up systems that are easy to maintain so you wont let it come back.
Once you get organized, youll be able to think more clearly, so now you can sit back, kick your feet up, and wonder what you really, really want to do with the rest of your life. Now its time to set some long- and short-term goals and work on your priorities. Then youll be able to focus on the right things. Once you do that, itll be time to examine your processes so you can eliminate work that doesnt need to be done or youll figure out a better way to do it. After that, look at how you incorporate technology if you need it to do your work. Take some classes, read books, or whatever you need to do to become more proficient. Doing all these things will make your life so much easier and will reduce a lot your stress. You have your work cut out for you, but with every improvement you make, unlike dieting or exercising, the results will be immediate.
Peggy Duncan is a personal productivity expert and popular workshop leader. Her training topics for busy professionals cover organization, time management, and technology. Visit her at www.PeggyDuncan.com.