Question: My business schedule has me out of the office for a week or weeks at a time. How do you suggest I stay organized when I am away from the office so much?
Answer: When you are traveling for business, stay focused on why you are there. Where you will have the best opportunity to stay current with your duties is if you spend your evenings responding to emails you did not address during the day. Plan to dedicate at least two or more hours with your focus on the most important issues earlier in the evening. If you try and work later, I suggest you hold sending responses in your Drafts Folder until the morning. A fresh set of eyes on your message, the next morning, may help you avoid miscommunication.
Question: I feel like I have more responsibilities and I am not sure how to prioritize my work. Can you suggest a way I can spend less time doing the same thing?
Answer: There is one fast way to re-organize your work flow and it has two steps. First, group all like tasks together. Many times you may be able to handle more than one situation with a single consolidated response. The other is to make sure you only touch something once. When you start to work on a task, make sure you have enough time and the correct resources available to finish this in one sitting. Start more involved tasks at the beginning of the day, where you can stay more focused and then deal with the smaller ones later when your focus may not have as much stamina. The most important thing is to focus on finishing one task before you start another.
Question: I seem to find that no matter how hard I focus I am always being interrupted. How do you suggest I keep people out of my office so I can focus?
Answer: This may sound elementary but close your door if you have one. You can always put a post it note outside listing designated “Visiting Hours” so you can have uninterrupted work time. Many times people will stop and see you if the door is open and not think about the disruption they are causing. With the door being closed you are taking away a visual to your coworkers. Their decision to interact with you, knock on the door, send you an email, will change to a specific topic to discuss, not day to day small talk. If you do not have a door make sure you sit so people only see your back. You are again giving someone a visual of you being busy and focused and should deter many interruptions.