Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much. -Helen Keller
When a team is working well together, someone might say: “That team is working like a well-oiled machine.” That means that everything is running smoothly, people are working well together, and the work is getting done right. The team has systems, or processes, in place to make sure everything runs smoothly. Creating systems takes some work in the beginning, but once a system is in place, the work can be completed faster and with less effort.
Here are five tips to help you create systems in the workplace:
- Put together your toolkit
- Focus on the process
- Create a “home” for everything
- Don’t procrastinate
- Stick to the system
Put together your toolkit
There are an endless number of organization tools out there. Anything you need to do to stay organized has a tool to help you do it better. Whether it’s a fancy time management tool or a simple calendar, these tools are meant to help you create your system. Many organization tools are in the form of a web or mobile application. For some people this is helpful, as it provides many features, like the ability to work with your phone or email. However, if you don’t want to use something so technical, you can find simpler tools to help set up your organizational system.
Focus on the process
As you create your systems remember, it is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. This means how you do your work is just as important as the end result. So even if you complete the project or task correctly, if you were inefficient, or it took you longer than it should have, your process needs improvement.
Going back to the journey example, let’s say there are two different routes to take to school. Both routes are the same distance, but one route takes you through the city and the other route takes you through a residential neighborhood. If you’re trying to get to school in the shortest amount of time, it would be best to go through the neighborhood in order to avoid rush hour traffic. The more you do a task, the better you get at doing that task. That’s because you learn from mistakes and you find better ways to do things. Whether it’s the first time you’ve done a task or the 100th time, pay attention to how you do the task and look for ways to improve your process.
Create a “home” for everything
Have you ever seen a desk that is buried under piles of paperwork? Eventually you can’t even see the surface of the desk! No matter what type of project you’re working on, it’s important to keep your files and information organized. As you collect papers, files and documents, find a place or “home” for it right away. If you have a home for everything, you will have more space to work, and when you need it again you know exactly where to find it. This will save you lots of time and prevent frustration.
Timing is important if your system is going to run like the “well-oiled machine” we talked about earlier. When you procrastinate, or put off doing something, the timing of your system will be off. For example, there might be people waiting for you to finish your part of the project before they can start on their part. Think about a computer printer as the machine. If the printer put off sending the paper through the track, the ink wouldn’t have a place to go. There would be a delay in the system and the printer would get jammed.
Stick to the system
A sign of a good system is that it is easier to stick to the system than not. Meaning, when you don’t follow the system, you actually create more work for yourself. Therefore, if you have a good system in place, it won’t be hard to stick to it. If you find yourself not following the system, consider what you could do to improve the system. Just because a system is in place doesn’t mean that it’s permanent or can’t be changed.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you need to get your “machine” back on track. If you remember and implement these five suggestions, you’ll be sure to get everything running smoothly and work done more efficiently. If you’d like to see how we can help your students learn these skills in order to become ready for the workplace, click the free trial link below.