Early on in my career it was drilled into my head to base my priorities on what would keep someone else working. In other words, when I am finished with this task, who handles it next?
Filing? Filing is the ultimate last step; it doesn’t affect anyone else. This is what makes filing a low-priority, but not low-level task. I mean, the alphabet still applies.
Check run? I have to get the signature, so I need my boss. I have to mail it, so I need to beat the mailman. The vendor needs to deposit their check. There is a simple listing of three people potentially waiting for me to finish my task.
Signed Contract? It needs to be opened, given to the president to sign, then mailed back.
Office Manager Tip: Always prioritize your work in such a way that you keep others' hands full.
— Riggins Construction (@RigginsConst) December 8, 2010
Deposits? I have to copy the check, fill out the slip, and give it to someone to take to the bank who will return with the receipt so that I can process the deposit and do a check run.
You can see how a bit of strategy and critical thinking is helpful even for the most mundane tasks. Think two to four to six steps ahead.
Would it make sense for me to start filing when I have a deposit that needs to be made and a guy here with no pressing tasks? No. I’m wasting his time and making the entire operation inefficient. Instead, I need to copy the check, fill out the deposit, and get it to him and while he is en route to the bank I can catch up on filing. Better yet, I should get my AP ready so that when the receipt comes back I am ready to process checks. If I have time after my preparation, then I can file.
- Do you agree or disagree with the premise?
- What are your tips?
- More Office Manager Tips
It’s definitely an important roll for the manager.
The trick is to keep someone busy but not give them busy work, stuff with no real value or reason.
Great food for thought!
Thanks for your lovely comment, James.
You are right. That is a bit tricky.
Excellent, something all of my reports should read…when I get some again!! It makes me wonder what kind of Lady Boss I used to be when I had staff working for me, was I making it easy for my staff to do their jobs effectively too?? Thanks Ms. Lady B…
Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
I must say though even if everyone says this is low priority, you are right it’s so important. I found for me was that any opportunity I had to file I would do it during the day..as you mentioned when they are en route to the post office or bank. I found it as a nice change of pace for me at the end of the day to set aside an hour and file what I needed. Now it didn’t always happen, we all know our business and how you are interrupted a million times a day, but I guess that is why I liked my job as the manager it was always something different!
I agree. I like the change in task and the challenge at maximizing efficiency. I view it like a game.
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Coleen.