Posts Tagged ‘organization’

Do You Fly By the Seat of Your Pants?

In my last position as Administrative Assistant, I worked in the parish office of a Catholic Church. Now one would think that this would be the perfect, no stress job. Your bosses are priests, deacons and nuns – hugs and kisses right? Not quite. I came in and took over for Sister Rosile who was in her late 70’s. She had been running the show reliably for many years.

One of my favorite things about being a secretary is coming in and identifying issues and things that are lacking (in organization or action) and find a way to solve them. Our head Pastor gave the illusion of being perfectly organized, but that was just because he would scrape everything off of his desk into his desk drawers! He wanted to be the perfectly organized person, but he didn’t have the time. But he wouldn’t let me help him get organized either – for what reason I don’t know why and never will. He was a wonderful priest, but lacking in boss and administrative skills. Things got done, and he saw the end result as positive – it got done right? But what he turned a blind eye to was the process – the times when people were pulling their hair out because he provided no leadership or backup for us when we needed it.

So I flew by the seat of my pants for the 4 and a half years I worked there. I was efficient at my job – I stayed in my office and got things done. I received no input, good or bad from my boss. I love input – tell me if I’m doing good occasionally and definately tell me if I’m lacking or not doing something the proper way. Well, eventually flying by the seat of your pants will come to bite you in the pants!

Our parish had a school and the parish office received all of the deliveries. During the summer the school office was closed. Textbooks would come in by the box loads, we would sign for them, and the maintenance men would take them away. I also worked abbreviated hours during the summer to be home with the kids. So one day I got a call from the principle asking me where the boxes of history textbooks were. I told her I had no idea – this answer did not please her at all. She told me the company said that I had signed for the shipment and that it was $5,000 worth of books. She asked if we didn’t open the boxes to see what was in them. I told her we simply verified the box count, signed off to the deliverer and the guys took them out of the office to wherever she told them. When I went back to work, people had searched my office (there wasn’t any space in there for them, even if I had them!), I was interrogated over and over again, and I went to our pastor and told him I was having issues. The scenario escalated, many people got involved and tempers flared. I finally found out that the book company had just pulled names of previous signers for shipments to cover the fact that they had not yet shipped the books. I didn’t not find this out from the principle, nor did I receive any apologies.

The story ends with the development of an official shipment receiving procedure, created by me, to more accurately document how many boxes, the company they originated from, # of boxes, with the threat of death if anyone didn’t fill in the info. ‘The boys’ were instructed not to take any boxes out of the office unless they were marked with an X, indicating that they had been logged. Did we all live happily ever after – I ended up quitting my job because of many things, but that was the straw that broke the camels back, as they say. And that, as they say, is the rest of the story.

Taming the Paper Pile

When I see the pile of papers growing on my kitchen table, I wish that they would magically disappear.  Have you ever worked with someone who has a sparkling clean desk, clear of clutter?  I have a secret to share with you – it’s not because they’re super efficient, it’s because they just open up a drawer and hide the clutter away.  I caught my boss doing it once!  So instead of putting off the inevitable, just deal with it!  The papers will never go away and something important in that pile that you buried will come back to haunt you eventually.

The papers will come – from school, work, the mail.  It will not stop.  So set out a plan for yourself, that will fit in with your personality that will work best for you.  Are you a procrastinator or do you tackle tasks head on?

Monday Morning Tip:

  1. Designate a place for all of those papers to initially land.   Find something decorative to place them in, if you hate to have them out in the open for all to see.  A pretty wicker basket large enough to hold 11 x 14 size papers perhaps.  Don’t give into the temptation to stash them in a drawer!  I would also discourage  you from using a closed portfolio sorter like the one pictured.  Although it serves the purpose of doing an initial sort and hiding the evidence, it is difficult to get papers in and out of, because of the flap, and it’s also very easy to forget what is in it.  You know the old saying ‘ out of sight, out of mind’.

I will have more tips that I hope you find useful, published daily, so stay tuned!  Our days on this earth are too short to sweat the small stuff.

Do you have a paper pile?

This is the kitchen table isn't it?

We’re all guilty of having a paper pile (or mountain) somewhere near the point of entry into our homes.  Mine is on my kitchen table.  That’s where things in my hand and purse come to a temporary holding place until I have the time to decide where their final destination will be.

Oh, it gets moved when company comes, gets an occasional shuffling through when I’m looking for that certain piece of paper, but usually continues to grow and grow until I don’t have a place to eat at the table!  Why do I continue to do this?  Because it’s easy, of course.

Is there a solution to the problem of too many papers?  No, we will always have papers, receipts, cards and such coming through our hands at an alarming rate, but we can tame that pile.

Every morning, or evening if you’re a night person, make a point to go through the pile and at least make sure that it is sorted into categories (school papers, receipts, things to be filed, things that need action on your part, etc.).  Once it is sorted, then it will be easier to complete the action needed to get it off of your landing spot.

More tips on taming your paper pile coming soon so stay tuned.  Have a great day!

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