27 October 2018

On to the next task...

The way I work is to get things off my plate as soon as possible and move on to the next task.  The problem is it is now filed in the back burner of my mind.  It is still hovering in the background somewhere, but I've completed the work, done whatever I needed to do with it and diarized whatever needed to be diarized and moved on until I need to know it again.  My boss may come out a month or so later and ask me questions about it and sometimes my mind draws a blank.  I need a minute to go back and check and then I am completely up to speed again.

I find with the volume of work admins deal with throughout the day, week and month, we need some system to keep things straight.  I document everything and that is how I keep track.  I put items in my calendar as a reminder, but the problem with calendar reminders is unless you know which day you put it on or what you named it, you can't easily find it.  So I document that as well.

For each meeting or event, I create what I call a meeting sheet.  Most everything I do revolves around meetings. I'm either organizing a meeting or responding to someone else about my boss's availability.  When I receive an email relating to a meeting, I create a meeting sheet and cut and paste the email in there and make any relevant notes.  If I put a reminder in the calendar, I note the date on the meeting sheet.  If I am waiting to hear back from someone, that is documented as well.  It started out that the meeting sheet was just for my information, but I now use it as a filing of sorts about each meeting.

I used to keep the meeting sheets in paper format, but now they are all filed electronically by the date of the meeting so is easily referred back to and can be shared quite easily.  This is very important if you are not in and someone else has to take over.  I file them by YYYY-MM-DD.  This way, it always files chronologically.  If it is a meeting I am just beginning to organize, I write DRAFT where the date would be until it is finally organized and then I will change the name of the file to add the date.

For example, if the date has been chosen I would file it like this:

2018-10-25 OTC Board of Directors meeting

If I don't know the date yet I would file it like this:

DRAFT OTC Audit Committee meeting

And if I am not the organizer I would file it like this:

DRAFT OTC Audit Committee meeting LINDA BROWN ORG

This system keeps me straight.  I know others who keep folders in their Outlook and drag and drop emails there that have to do with a particular meeting.  Whichever way you do it, you need a way to keep track because ultimately your boss will come back and ask where you are at with a meeting or want to know the background of how they got where they are.

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