Clutter and disorganization can be emotionally draining, cause delays, and be a source of frustration and stress. It is estimated that employees lose 2 hours each day due to disorganization. The good news is that organizing is a skill that can be learned by anyone. The following tips are geared toward Case Management but can be used by any person wanting to increase organization.
· Clear clutter and start with a clean desk. Place your computer in front of you and place frequently used items within reach (phone, supplies, etc).
· Remove all items that don’t belong on your desk and find a location to store the item.
· Keep supplies in one location such as a draw organizer or in a desk organizer.
· Submit documents to the file room for scanning into ASK where you can easily access them later.
· Box items not related to clients/cases that you need to keep but haven’t looked at in the last year (such as old daily planners).
· Use hanging file folders with specific labels to quickly identify forms when needed. Consider color-coding files for easier identification.
· Straightening up your desk at the end of the work day or work week can make it more welcoming when you are ready to face the new day.
· Have an in-box or location to collect incoming papers.
· Sort through papers and document/scan them in FSFN and ASK IMMEDIATELY (no later than 24 hours of the receipt). As papers pile up it can become increasingly harder to find time to sort through them and important documents can get lost in the clutter.
· For items requiring attention, create action folders (i.e. To Read or Project A) and keep them nearby.
· Try keeping a spiral notebook near the phone to jot down phone numbers and quick reminders. If typing and talking at the same time is difficult, then ensure to enter the FSFN note immediately after listening to a message or hanging up the phone. This will eliminate many scraps of paper and ensure important information is entered into the FSFN case timely.
· Transfer information from flyers or to-do lists into your planner and discard the paper.
· Only have documents related to your current case activity on your desk. This protects confidentiality and also helps maintain focus.
· Beware of printing every document. Consider reviewing and saving documents electronically.
· Most emails can be read once, documented/copied into FSFN and then deleted. After documenting the email in FSFN and replying, it can be deleted from the in box or moved to a folder.
· Schedule time each day to read and answer emails. Try to clean out your inbox daily.
· Create email folders to organize emails based on subject or particular project you are working on to move them out of your inbox. (Use detailed subject headers to find needed communication faster.)
· Flag a “to-do-item” in your inbox or set a reminder for later.
· Use your Outlook calendar to schedule and help you organize duties or dates in the future.
· Schedule time on your calendar specifically to complete court documents, to document notes in FSFN, make calls, etc. and focus on those tasks during that time.
· Save only the last message of an ongoing string of “conversation”.
· Remind people not to forward you email jokes, stories and chain mail.
· Sometimes talking in person or on the phone might be a better option to email. There is less to organize later.
Disorganization didn’t happen overnight and it will take more than a day to undo it. Start slowly, one drawer or shelf at a time and celebrate your accomplishments. When you get tired, stop. Resume your organization another day.
Quality Management Services sets the pace for consistency, clarity, and change.