The Office Bottleneck


If you're not the bottleneck, I'm sure you know who is.

Chances are the bottlenecking is because the person, whomever it is, needs help organizing themselves. Their inbox is overflowing, their calendar is a mixture of events and tasks not tended to or responded to, their workspace is disorganized; basically they are drowning in work. It's time to help ourselves and the people in our teams. We have to get out from under the weight of disorganization and communication overflow. It's in our best interests to help ourselves and/or our colleagues because as we flounder, we risk taking the project and the team down with us. The question is not do you have the time to help but rather can you afford not to take the time to help.

It's true that I am a firm believer in ripping off the bandaid and starting with a two-day clean up of the workspaces and devices - à la David Allen's GTD Mind Sweep. While I can appreciate that this approach can be overwhelming for some people rather than be intimidated, think of the end result. It's much like hiring someone to clean your home. It's a lot easier to keep a clean house clean than to keep a dirty house clean. Start a new system with a clean slate.

A good place to start is to find someone who can help and work with you, evaluating your existing processes and instituting a productive workflow by way of an organized custom-built system. I suggest finding someone who is familiar with productivity, work place roles and responsibilities; someone who understands your way of thinking, your job, and your roadblocks. You can look for help internally, perhaps an administrative assistant within the company or find an email and calendar management specialist - one that has experience working in offices - perhaps as an executive or an executive assistant. This would not be a full-time job, this is help you contract, only when you need it.

Another great place to start is David Allen's book, Getting Things Done - the art of stress-free productivity. There's a reason why the GTD method has been around for over 15 years, it works. Plain and simple.

Bringing order to chaos provides us with the space and structure to be more creative, strategic, and focused. In this day and age of information and communication overload, we have to no choice but to be more organized and focused ... to not be, is irresponsible.

Have you recently helped yourself or a colleague institute a more productive workflow process? What was your first step?


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