Office Manager Tip: The Dishes are Piling Up

One of the biggest pet peeves I have is dishes piling up in the sink. Not only does it totally gross me out, but I can’t start cooking with all of the countertop space consumed by dirty dishes–this is what gives the dishwasher the starring role among other appliances in the kitchen.  It is an out-of-the-way space to store dishes until it is full enough to run.  The key is this: after the dishwasher is finished, it needs to be unloaded.  The dishes have a place — the cabinet — not the sink, countertop, or dishwasher.

In the highly fluid office of a general contractor, items in my inbox are constantly reassigned priority levels, especially when the newest five tasks needed to be done last week. It is all too easy to pile up filing on my back counter and say to myself, “I’ll do it later.”

The back burner seems to be the purgatory of choice for incomplete tasks with even a slightly-lower priority; more often than not, this is the default for filing. A secretary I once worked with, who will remain nameless to protect her innocence, often left the back burner burning for quite some time. This would create more problems than it was worth: missing information, can’t find an invoice, where is the letter I received from Mr. So-and So?, and their cohorts. Ideas on time and task management were answered with the all-too-predictable response of “I don’t have time.”

Filing is often deemed a low-priority, low-skill level task, relegated to the iPod-wearing-flippant, high-school student, but I should save that rant for another post. Yet, the longer a piece of paper waits to be filed the more likely it will be lost. It may “only” be misfiled, but if you can’t find it, does it exist?

If you process your AP invoices in batches and, by the same line of thinking, also print checks in batches, then it is easy to finish the entire process by immediately filing those invoices in that batch.  Filing is the finishing touch of a 100% complete job.

For Thought:

2 thoughts on “Office Manager Tip: The Dishes are Piling Up

  1. ninersgal

    Bridget, this is such a good analogy. When I am shifting priorities, I try to think “have I touched this piece of paper more than twice?” If so, I need to do something with that piece of paper to resolve the item’s status on my to do list. This helps me avoid pots boiling over on the back burner. Also, setting aside a dedicated day of the week to get caught up on filing, paperwork, etc. helps me keep the workload to a minimum.

    Looking forward to your rant about younger workers. 🙂

    1. Bridget Willard

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I like the idea of dedicating a day of the week to resolve loose ends.

      I am a lover of technology, that said, we had a high-school girl do filing one summer at one of my past jobs. I know that filing is boring work. believe me, this is how I started. But she wore her earbuds constantly so you never knew if she was listening to you. When approached she would pop an earbud out, but it made me feel like I was being rude. Strange feeling, that was.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Anti Spam by WP-SpamShield