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10 Tips to Make Your Worklife Easier

Do you find yourself wishing for a less stressful work environment? Better writing skills? Do you want to get more done in less time? Here are the top ten ways to make it happen.

Increasing your productivity

To organize your desk:

  • Remove everything you don't use daily.
  • Put in nearby drawers things you use every other day.
  • Put supplies you need only weekly in the supply closet.
  • File items you haven't touched in the past five days.
  • Keep high–priority items in plain sight. Example: Things due today and tomorrow.
  • Provide an in–basket for people to give you things.
  • Put destroy–by dates on paper and computer files.

Managing your time

Set a specific deadline when people give you tasks, so you can keep track of when everything is due. Keep them on one master calendar and post it prominently. Color code high–priority items, deadlines and follow–ups. Once each week, let concerned parties know the status of specific tasks.

Working effectively with others

Realize that you're responsible for how you feel. If you let others make you feel bad, you're letting them control you. Just say: "I don't have to feel this way because I, "not others," control how I feel."

Fighting stress

Don't overschedule your day. Underschedule and then you'll feel better when you have time "at the end of the day" to fit in one extra task.

Improving your writing

When writing to persuade, address these four questions:

"Who am I and why am I writing?" "What are my readers' needs?" "How will I meet those needs?" "How will I follow up?"

Improving your telephone skills

When leaving messages:

Speak clearly, especially if you're using unconventional names or words. Speak slowly enough to be understood especially when leaving your telephone number. And give your number at the beginning of your message and again at the end.

Persuading others

  • Get agreement on little things first.
  • Use non–technical words.
  • Avoid jargon.
  • Don't say "Obviously ..." Instead, say "Perhaps you'd agree ..."
  • Ask "How about doing X?" instead of "Why don't we do X?"

Learning to listen

Don't start thinking about your next response while the other person is still talking. Instead, hear the other person out, then take a few seconds to form your response.

Holding effective meetings

When someone monopolizes meeting time by being the "class clown," confront the person. Say "That's very funny. But what do you think of the problem at hand? What would you recommend?" If the person still won't straighten up, say something such as, "Listen. We've all had a laugh. But let's not lose our focus. We don't want to be here all day."

Communicating better with your boss

Ask yourself: Which qualities helped your boss get to be the boss? Do you have the same qualities? If not, will that affect your relationship? If yes, how will having those qualities help you please your boss?

Author information: Compiled by Joseph DeBolt, assistant editor. Reproduced with permission from Briefings Publishing Group www.combriefings.com, 1101 King Street, Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314 U.S.A. PHONE: 800–888–2084 1–703–548–3800, FAX: 1–703–684–2136 


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