4 Ways to Add Structure in the Office
Having a mundane 9-5 job wasn’t for me. I love my freedom to work when and how I choose as a College Coach.
The freedom and flexibility to come and go as I please is certainly nice. But what I found out the hard way is that allowing myself too much freedom in the office usually results in unproductive and much longer working days for me.
To be more productive than I have ever been, I had to create structure into my workday and life. When I had no real structure or routines, with no plan for what was going to get done and when, I ended up working about 4 hours more a day than I wanted to. I challenged myself to find a way to get the same amount of work done in 8 hours.
There are a lot of different ways to add structure to your day. I will outline a few that have been important for me here.
Plan The Night Before
Having structure to my workday starts the night before. I used to just get up in the morning try to “wing it” through the day. Now I plan everything out before I leave the office or at home before I go to bed. I review my priorities and what I feel are the most important levers that will move my program forward in some way. Then I create a list of things I’d like to get done the next day. That way, when I get to work the next morning, I know exactly where to begin and what I need to get done.
Structure Your Ideal Work Week and Day
When specifically during the day are you going to work on your recruiting? When are you specifically going to plan practice? When are you specifically going to work on administrative tasks? The more you can schedule these activities into your weekly and daily schedules, the easier it will be for you to know exactly what you should be working on.
Have a Morning Routine with Email
I found that what I do with my email first thing in the morning really makes or breaks how productive I am throughout the day. Check out the post “How to Set Up a Morning Email Routine.”
Make a “Do-Not-Do” List
An important list that has helped keep me on track in the office is my Do-Not-Do List.
These lists have helped me remove a lot of the negatives from my work environment. A few examples of things on my do-not-do lists are: do not browse the internet, do not check my email continuously throughout the day, and do not answer random phone calls.
It is important to structure your day so that you can continually get things done and move forward with your work.
Adding structure to my workday became easy when I started treating, thinking about, and planning my workday just like I would plan a practice. My practice and office plans are very similar in that I have a plan for what and when things will get done, I get there early before anybody else so I can get set up, I pay attention to the clock and give myself a certain amount of time to do things, etc.
It was also easier to stay focused on what I was trying to get done when I remembered my “why.”
Getting my work done in less time frees up more of the day for me to spend it with my husband and kids, my friends, and even to spend on my hobbies. I have a picture of my kids on my desk as a friendly reminder to stick to the plan. Looking at this picture helps keep me focused on getting my work done so when I go home, I can play with my kids having the peace of mind knowing I did something to move my work forward today.
What is your “why”? Whatever it may be, put up a picture in your office where you can see it and always be reminded of what you should be staying focused on.
Where can you be putting more structure into your day and week to help you stay on track so you can be even more successful at work or with the group or team you are working with?
As long as you are in control of the structure of your day, you’ll always have freedom in your life.
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