Ok, so your space is useful and well organized, so now what? You need to get your calendar up and running. Depending on the complexity of your workplace, you may get dozens if not hundreds of emails a day, countless phone calls, tweets, IMs ….we are all drinking from a fire hose. Most days we are lucky to get to the to-do list by the end of the day. I think this is why so many of us like to work before or after regular office hours, because the constant interruptions are fewer!
In order to stay ahead –or at least not get blind sided– by the unpredictable, it is a great practice to see if we can predict the predictable. Every workplace has a few standard projects and meetings that recur every week or month or year. Getting those up on your calendar from the start is extremely helpful.
______Do I have all standing meetings on my calendar? Do I need to change any of them?
For example, your predecessor had a weekly staff meeting every Monday at 10. Put it on the calendar for the coming year, or forever if you like. But maybe that doesn’t work for you because you need some time on Monday to prepare for that meeting. Before you change it to 2 pm tho, check to see if that conflicts with something else you have to do, like meet with other department heads! Discuss it with your staff, but if it is truly your meeting, you get decide what is most useful to you. Maybe your boss meets with department heads on Tuesdays at 10, no matter what. Put it on the calendar. Add Board meetings, end of year celebrations–any gatherings of people that take place on a regular basis, even if only once a year. You can add a calendar alert to give yourself prep time as needed.
______Have I scheduled regular one-on-one meetings with my supervisor?
This especially useful if you a working in a new office, or geographical area or in a new industry. Not only will you get to know your supervisor better, and she you, but you’ll be able to get a better sense of mission and goals. Of course check with your boss first. And always make sure you have something to discuss. Don’t waste their time either. You can always cancel the meeting if you have nothing to discuss, but it may be harder to get on the calendar than to get off it.
______Have I scheduled weekly staff meetings?
These have to be real meetings, not just coffee and gossip (although that may have its place too). Each individual should report on what is going on in their area so they can ask for help from each other and from you if it is needed. This is an important part of cross training and succession planning. If no one knows what anyone else does, what happens when there is an unexpected illness or resignation? I have found that some passive aggressive behavior–say, someone in another department making it hard for your staff member to get needed information–may need to be resolved by a phone call or email from you.
______Do I have a projects due list?
What exactly is your job? Do you have to supervise personnel, do quarterly reports, balance the books? Do any of these entail annual reviews, monthly one- on- ones with budget numbers, client/patient/customer/student lists, staff reports? Once you know what your job is, you can move to the next question, which is:
______Are important project dates on the calendar?
Maybe all personnel reviews need to be completed in July, or on the anniversary of hire. Look them up and get them on the calendar, with some lead time to do the work. Maybe your budget is always due in March. Schedule time on your calendar to work on it in February.
Yes, all this is a lot of work when starting a new job. But “front loading” the framework of your day, week, month, quarter and year gives you a scaffold on which to build.