Five Ways To Get Ahead In the Game


Mark and Allyson head separate departments at the same marketing company. Mark is a creatively minded, free-thinking boss who prefers to go with the flow rather than enforce harsh deadlines and thus impede the progression of innovation on his team. While he interacts with many of his clients on a daily or weekly basis, he doesn’t keep detailed notes or information regarding their projects and area of business, preferring to wow them with his team’s dynamic work as they go along.

Meanwhile, Allyson keeps a well-organized schedule, holds regular team meetings to keep track of her employees’ progress on their projects and schedules daily and weekly times to meet with her clients and discuss their continuing visions for what they want to accomplish through their partnership. While she doesn’t cramp her team’s creative efforts, she does have certain set expectations for what work they do and when they finish it — and holds herself to the same level of accountability.

While Mark may seem like a fun boss to be around, how well do you think he and his team hold up on tight deadlines or with difficult clients? Do you think Allyson possesses the necessary skills to keep her team running smoothly, even when times get tough?

What Makes an Organized and Efficient Leader?

Being an organized, efficient leader is more than just decluttering your desk or responding to emails in a timely manner: It is a way of life. Essential characteristics all organized, productive leaders share include the ability to prioritize, declutter, multi-task and not waste time during the day. These leaders schedule their time well, use the right tools and have the right mindset to help them succeed. Here are five questions you need to ask yourself if you want to become an organized, efficient leader.

  1. What does my workspace look like?
    If your desk is strewn with folders, papers, leftover coffee cups and contracts, it may be a sign that you need to get your workspace in working order. Declutter your space so that you can begin thinking and working more clearly. This goes for your work desktop or laptop as well. If your computer’s documents and folders are a disorganized mess, you may need to consider using online applications or websites, such as Google Drive, that can sort out your chaotic clutter.By integrating your documents into Google Drive, you can access information easily and not waste valuable work hours hunting down last month’s earnings data or next week’s report.
  2. Am I sure I’m using technology effectively?
    If you are using several rounds of emails to replace one simple phone call or in-person conversation, you are severely limiting your ability to become efficient. Use instant messaging chats to ask or answer quick questions and reserve email for more important conversations or announcements, especially those with information you will need to access frequently in the future. Gone are the days of “meet me in my office in 10 minutes” emails. Chat works as an efficient substitute.Don’t fall into a technology black hole where you never spend any authentic face time with your clients or employees. Even if you work remotely, use webinars and video conferencing to connect with people easily and effectively. This way you can get more done in shorter periods of time without encountering any problems due to miscommunication.
  3. Are inconsequential meetings draining time from my day?
    The gist of many meetings can be conveyed in five minutes or less. So why are you spending 30 minutes to an hour out of your workday to go over information that could easily be summarized in a thorough email? For those meetings you absolutely have to attend or hold, cut down unnecessary chitchat or information that could lengthen a short meeting significantly.This way, you will have more time to focus on other tasks or projects.
  4. How organized is the rest of my team?
    While you may be strategically organized for success, a disorganized team can drag you down. They could interrupt your day with constant problems or questions, keeping you from getting your work done in a timely manner.Setting strict deadlines, providing clear expectations and supporting your team members with the proper organizational tools are all fantastic ways to ensure they are empowered to do their best and become organized.
  5. Do I schedule regular breaks?

    Taking periodic breaks might not sound like the most effective way to be productive or organized, but breaks will actually help you stay focused during the day. Take five to 10 minutes every hour to meditate, listen to music, read a book or chat with a coworker to decompress and not grow overwhelmed.This way, when you go back to the task at hand, you will look at it with fresh eyes and a clear mind, hopefully helping you reach new or innovative conclusions you would not have been able to come to otherwise.

How a Leadership Coach Can Help

A professional leadership coach will work with you to create uniquely tailored strategies that will give you the foundational principles you need to take charge.

For example, your leadership coach may encourage you to create a strict workplace routine for yourself and to achieve certain objectives before leaving your office each day. Some of these objectives may include answering or flagging all of your important emails or meeting with a set number of employees.

Organizational strategies you develop with the assistance of your coach go beyond cleaning off your desk or using a planner. You will discover new ways to approach and handle your daily workload, growing more productive and efficient each day.

Abby Hassler

Abby Hassler is a Senior Writer for Brafton SMB, where she specializes in writing for a diverse range of industries, such as employment news, professional development, and life coaching. In her free time, she loves reading, watching films, going to concerts and eating Indian food.

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