Organising a work routine
When you progress in your career and you are able to finish tasks faster, the number of responsibilities may increase. When your tasks start to increase it is important to organise a work routine to help you stay on track, expecially if they have time restrictions. Your work routine will vary depending on your position, length of your shift and the tasks that need to be completed.
Having a clear idea of what is a priority and which tasks can be pushed back is necessary in planning a work routine. An easier way to creating a work routine is breaking down tasks into smaller jobs, this allows big jobs to not look so daunting. However, even with a work routine it is important to be flexible to allow time if any new priorities come up.
Work routines include every day tasks as well as tasks that are non-routine and ones that are performed on an unplanned basis.
Work routines may also include the following tasks:
- Interacting with customers.
- Interacting with authority.
- Help other staff members.
- Packaging stock.
- Producing goods.
- Organising the area.
- Meal breaks.
Timeframes are important to almost all businesses. For example if a customers order needs to be received by the end of the week, the supervisors and managers have a certain timeframe to complete it in before sending it out for shipping. Supervisors and managers need their workers to be organised and efficient. Most tasks will have time frames and if you are unsure of how long a specific task will take to complete, a supervisor or manager should know.
Taking too long to complete a task means less work gets done and could lead to loss of business.
Problem solving is a part of everyone’s day, inside and outside of work. Solving routine problems will be a common duty of your job; problems may be minor or can be much larger. Often you will be able to solve the problem yourself however, you may also need to seek assistance from management. Problems can range from equipment breakdown, running out of raw materials or stock going missing during transport.
A Job Checklist may contain a list of standard tasks that need to be completed to be ready for the day’s work or a list of tasks that need to be completed to close down at the end of a day’s work. Checklists are useful whether you have 3 jobs to do or 10. Keeping a list of jobs that need to be completed helps keep your day in order and ensures you do not forget about any important tasks of yours.
A work schedule is like a job checklist but with timing and importance. A work schedule will stipulate what tasks are priority and what tasks can be done last. It may also give times when each task is to be done by and how long each task will take. Work schedules are used everyday in the workplace in nearly every position, from retail requiring the cashier tills to be ready and doors open before 7:00am to the abattoir QA officer following a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) program.
Below is an example of a receptionists job list and work schedule:
Getting feedback – asking questions
Getting feedback and asking questions are essential to every employee and CEO’s work day. Asking questions and getting feedback can help you gain a lot of information, even with the simplest of questions. If you are new to a position, asking questions and getting feedback can help develop your skills. If you are a worker and needing to know when an order is coming, a question is asked.
There are two types of questions that people use in everyday life to gain information. Open questions are more useful when you are wanting detailed answers while closed questions often require a yes or no answer.
- How? Example: How do you fill in this form?
- Why? Example: Why do we need to wear Personal Protective Equipment?
- When? Example: When does the order need to leave the warehouse?
- Where? Example: Where is this order going?
- Who? Example: Who placed this order?
- What? Example: What does this order contain?
- Is the order ready to go? – Yes/No
Typically, when you are seeking information open questions are the best option. While when you’re clarifying facts, closed questions may be the better option.
Good time management is about planning and it is an essential skill that effective people need to have. Having good time management is not only great in the workplace but in your personal lives too, it allows you to control your workload and lessens the risk of being burnt out from work overload.
Planning is an important element in good time management. Some workers may have a long list of things they need to get done but by the end of the day, they still haven’t crossed anything off. Often this is because they do not concentrate and delegate their time well, they then end up being in a frenzy over everything they need to do instead of sitting down and making sure they delegate enough time to each task.
Time Management requires a person to:
- Look honestly how they spend their time.
- Keep records like a diary.
- Categorise time between personal and work.
- Plan your time and stick to your plan.
- Work with others in your team.
- Learn delegation techniques.
- Balance your work load.
Time Management tools:
- Keep a diary: Keeping a diary is very convenient. Important meetings or order dates can be written down on the dates they occur, helping you or others keep track of what is happening that day.
- Lists: Lists can increase productivity. Lists can be used for to do lists, checklists and work procedures
- Clean and well organised work area: The saying goes ‘clean space = clean mind’. Clearing clutter and organising your desk helps keep your documents in order.
- Slice it up: Some tasks may look very big and can become overwhelming. Slicing the big tasks into smaller tasks may help the task seem less of a challenge.
- Does it really have to be done?: Some tasks may not require your time. It’s helpful to identify the tasks that are time-wasting and eliminate them.
- Plan breaks: Breaks are important to give yourself a rest and help clear your mind. If you are busy, it is a good idea to plan breaks.
- Say NO: Sometimes your workload may be overloaded. It is okay to say no or delegate a task that you can not do or do not have time for.
- Group like activities: Grouping activities that are similar in nature is helpful in completing tasks with ease. For example, a truck driver has 3 orders in Warrnambool, 2 orders in Port Fairy and 1 order in Grassmere. The truck driver would group those deliveries that are going to the same town to save time and fuel instead of delivering 1 order to Warrnambool then going to Grassmere for their 1 order and back to Warrnambool to drop off another order.
- Clock: Having a clock on your desk or in eyesight can keep you on track with your tasks.
Procrastination is the practice of delaying or putting off tasks. Every now and then most people will experience procrastination in the workplace, whether it is doing a task or talking to your manager about a certain issue.
Reasons for procrastinating:
- The task is just really boring.
- The task is quite difficult for you and you may be concerned that you cannot do it to the standard required.
- You are poorly organised and never seem to have the time.
- You are viewing the task as unimportant.
- You want to do the task really well and feel that you do not have the ability, time or resources available to do a good job.
- You’re not in the mood.
Steps to overcome procrastination:
As with any habit, the key is to realise that your are doing the bad habit and take action to correct it.
- Recognise that you are procrastinating.
- Be honest and work out why you are avoiding the task.
- Break down the task into steps, you can use the slice it up method.
- Set yourself a deadline to complete the whole task.
- Give yourself a small reward when you get the task done.
Use technology to manage workplace priorities
In the modern workplace with more technology evolving, there has become more ways workers can use technology to manage workplace priorities. Managing workplace priorities with technology is very helpful as you can set reminders, create a meeting at any time and place and add tasks to your list on the go.
Technology that can be used to manage workplace priorities:
- Smartphones: Almost every worker would have some sort of app on their smartphone. These apps can be used to help manage workplace priorities. For example: Emails, online diary, reminders
- Online diary: Previously a paper diary would of been the go to for writing down any upcoming meetings or tasks that need to be done. Now with the evolution of technology it can be done on your computer or smartphone. This gives employees the ability to create a meeting with ease anytime and anywhere.
- Cloud storage: Cloud storage is a filing system in the ‘cloud’ meaning internet storage. This allows files to be easily shared to other employees without the hassle of going through filing cabinets to find a document.
- Tablets devices: Tablet devices can act as a portable computer that’s easier than a laptop. Like smartphones, they have apps that help you prioritise your work as well as communicate with your coworkers.
- Video conferencing: Video conferencing can be done by many apps including skype, zoom and Teams. This allows coworkers to video call their coworkers or customers and speak to them as though they’re in a face-to-face meeting. This is helpful for those employees who are travelling or have overseas customers.
- Project management software: Project management software is a system that helps users control costs, manage budgets and are able to track the progress of assignments.
- Accounting software: Accounting software helps businesses manage their finances. For example MYOB is an accounting program that processes employees wages, track payments and invoices and import statements.
- Apps: Apps are used on smartphones, laptops, computers, tablets and are often used by employees to help manage their time and communicate with their coworkers.