I know very well that many of our different teams here at the BKH Group will be making some whistle stop overseas visits next week. That’s a very typical week for our Executives as we build the new dental corporate. There are several flights to purchase (both domestic and international), many hotel rooms to book in several different cities, train timetables to check, tickets to purchase, a conference room facility to arrange, face to face and telephone meetings to schedule, itineraries to produce – all in the name of making the very best use of everyone’s time and being as productive – and cost effective – as possible. Here are some tactics that I use to stay organised, while keeping everyone else organised too:
Think ahead of the game all the time; make sure you are always looking ahead in the diary for travel coming up, for possible overnight stays and hotels you need to reserve, for possible diary conflicts, for opportunities for additional meetings and for cost effective travel planning. I use www.multimap.com almost all the time, especially to plan most UK travel. By thinking ahead you will have asked the right questions and received timely answers to any travel conundrums.
Use a really comprehensive To Do list system – either manual or computerised – and keep each system up to date. I use a ‘bring forward’ file which is divided into days of the month and months of the year. It’s a simple concertina file – easily available. I also start each day – before I do anything else – by looking into my ‘bring forward’ file. To Do lists can be generated using www.toodledo.com – an easy online system that’s free of charge.
Finish each day with a review of your To Do list and prepare for tomorrow! Especially if tomorrow is Friday and the end of the week. Don’t leave it all to the last minute.
Give yourself deadlines for each task and make sure that you meet them. A simple reminder system is great for this because once it’s set up, it won’t go away and will keep reminding you until you’ve completed the task. The consequences of missing a deadline are too awful for words.
Prioritise everything that you have to do – by using the ‘bring forward’ system and the To Do list system. It really doesn’t all have to be done today, but if like me you are a busy PA with lots of people depending on you, you’ll be mighty busy all the time, so each task has to have a level of importance that you apply to it.
Don’t rely on keeping it all in your head. You will take numerous instructions throughout the day by email and by phone – write them all down because your head won’t hold it all. Whilst writing this piece the phone rang and it all went down on paper. I don’t want to wake up with nightmares thinking I’ve forgotten something.
My final tip for today is don’t be afraid to ask, especially if you are unsure about something. Never assume you know the answer, no matter how well you know the people you work with or the job that you do.
Phillippa Goodwin, PA to BKH Executives 0161 820 5466