What does reorganization mean to you? In the workplace, it often means a disruption or forced change, but there is a different side. In your professional life, it can mean a renewed focus on working smarter and initiating positive change.
I have been reading the book The Organized Mind—Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin. After the science-heavy content in part one, it flows with stories and common sense advice to help anyone reorganize how they work and live to achieve greater focus and efficiency.
Manage Your Time
Like Bob Kodzis, the keynote speaker I heard in May (see related blog post), Levitin confirms the myth of multitasking, explaining how it:
- makes us demonstrably less efficient
- increases adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol
Cell phones and electronic communication have worsened the multitasking epidemic, conceiving the expectation that people should be reachable all the time. Levitin warns that our constant email activity “gives us a sense that we’re getting things done and, in some cases, we are. But we are sacrificing efficiency and deep concentration when we interrupt our priorities with email.” He and other experts recommend:
- setting aside a few concentrated times during the day to address email
- utilizing email filters and other tools to organize and prioritize
- training friends and coworkers to not expect immediate responses to every message
Externalize Information to Clear Your Mind
Our brains can only remember so much. Levitin reminds readers to off-load information to external sources. Making to-do lists and jotting ideas when you think of them are standard tactics. Extending the practice to your business contacts will help you keep track of people.
Record when you last connected with someone and what you discussed, including any personal tidbits. This can jump-start your next communication. If you can also add a personal touch (“How is your garden doing?”), it demonstrates your interest in the person, which can strengthen the relationship.
Reorganize Your Work Environment
A clear, organized mind also needs an orderly environment (physical and electronic) in which everything has a designated place. Levitin encourages readers to carefully create categories and then sub-divide. This approach is a stress reliever and time saver. Now comes the P-Card tip...
If you manage a P-Card program, apply categorization to your policies and procedures. Some organizations fail to begin their P-Card P&P with a table of contents (TOC), which makes content harder to find. Others include a TOC that is too short or vague to provide any real value. As I suggest in my P-Card P&P guide, develop a TOC that:
- offers meaningful primary topics and sub-topics
- arranges topics in a logical order
- reflects what users seek
Think about what you experience regularly, such as frequently asked questions and common mistakes. Make those topics more prominent.
Finally, if you find yourself at the receiving end of unwelcome workplace reorganization, embrace the concepts above—managing your time, incoming information and environment—to focus on initiating a brighter future.
See also a related blog post about rediscovering the leader within you.
About the Author
Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With more than 15 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more…