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.”
Office Manager Tip: Filing is like doing the dishes; do it in regular loads, or run out of counter top space.
— Riggins Construction (@RigginsConst) April 30, 2010
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.
- Do you agree or disagree with the premise?
- What are your tips?
- More Office Manager Tips