How To’s - Scheduling, Calendar & Meeting Arrangement
How To... Manage Your Time At Work
                                 Contributed By aprile

Love Your Inbox
– Your Inbox can be your friend.  Both email and paper.  Instead of avoiding the mass of papers that seem to endlessly pile up, or the email Inbox that keeps chiming every two seconds with new messages, take a few minutes at the beginning of your schedule and sort through everything.  Separate one, what needs to be done ASAP, two, what can wait until end of day (often abbreviated as EOD in business text), and three, what can wait until tomorrow.  Once you’ve done this, the fangs of dread begin to release their hold on you, and work, quietly slips back into feeling manageable once again.  

To-Do List – Make a list of tasks you need to accomplish.  Daily items, weekly items, monthly items… items that require you to leave your desk, versus what needs to be done by computer.  And if you’re not a list person, become one!  Just get over it. Effective time management involves knowing exactly what needs to be done.  And by having a list in front of you, you will be able to do exactly that.  Plus, crossing items off is probably one of the simple most glorious simple pleasures in life.  Be a list maker?  Check!

Back Away From The Distraction! – Check your mail when you come in for the day and set yourself a schedule to check it during the rest of the day.  Nothing eats up time like constantly checking your email and inevitably getting sidetracked with the lure of whatever is online.   What starts as a simple search on Google can end up as an hour long diversion.  Same goes for phone calls.  Check your voice mail in the morning and return phone calls at a specific time of day unless the call is urgent.  Keep your conversations short and to the point.  This will benefit you so much in the long run...

Re-check – Finally at the end of the day, clear out your paper outbox, make sure all email is read and check that you heard all voicemails.  And remember that handy dandy checklist from before?  Well pull it out again. Double-check to see that you took care of everything for that day.  Then check your list to see what needs to be added to the next day’s schedule.  And if you’re feeling extra ambitious from a successful day of managing your time wisely, go ahead and do some notations.  For instance, note which tasks are priorities, attach deadline times (ie. #1 & #2 by 2pm), or put them in order of execution.  

The last thing to do is clean up your work area.  Yes, this is a must.  A, because you have an image to maintain, B, because everyone notices untidy work spaces (trust me), and C, because when you arrive to work the next morning, you’ll be ready to go and ready to stay on task and manage your time.  All an effort to help you stay presented as a responsible and efficient part of the team.  

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By kathrynpless

How To... Order Food For A Meeting

Our minds are emotionally tied to our stomachs.  You know this, I know this, and everyone at work knows this.  Therefore, improperly executed office catering arrangements can reflect very poorly on the food coordinator.  If that’s you, it won’t be pretty.  Follow this guide to office catering to keep hungry coworkers at bay, and then focused on the meeting at hand.


Meeting DetailsThe necessary information you need to gather up front for the meeting is date, time, location and especially the number of attendees of the meeting.  Why the latter?  How do you know how much food you’ll need to order?


Order In Advance – Unless your ordering something easy like pizza, try to order 1-2 days in advance.  Especially with really large catered affairs, which sometimes require you to book weeks in advance.


Quantity – This always varies, but it’s usually best to order for 1-2 servings per person, plus 5.  So if you have 15 people.  Order enough for about 30-35 servings of food.


Food Selection – Find out if you are to order from a specific place or if you also will be making the food selection.  Either way, if you are the overall designated “food selector”, good luck.  Just remember a few things.  It’s best to use a restaurant or caterer that you are familiar with.  Avoid messy items (this is not the time or place for meatball grinders).  Also try to stay away from common food allergies (peanuts, shellfish).  Basically, just use common sense.  And yes, for all the reasons above, pizza is usually a safe bet and an office favorite. 


Payment – Meeting food is generally paid for up front via a company credit card.  But it’s also possible your company has an account with a local restaurant, so check up on that.  Other times, especially in smaller offices, someone shells out the money for the food and then later submits it for reimbursement.  Regardless of method, ALWAYS get the receipt.


Place the Order Be clear with the restaurant or catering company on what meeting food you are ordering – special orders, quantities and whatever else.  Also specify that you will require appropriate numbered plates and utensils – one of each utensil per person, plus five.  Then schedule food to arrive prior to the start of the meeting.  For small orders, 15 to 20 minutes early.  For large orders, 20-30 minutes early.  And don’t forget the beverages!  Last thing you need is dry mouth during the presentations.


Be Prepared The morning of the meeting call the catering company and confirm the food order, delivery location/meeting room food, delivery time and any other special instructions.  Be ready for the delivery when it arrives, and don’t hesitate to call if they are even 5 minutes late, since you have a small window to set up for the office luncheon. 


Coordinating office catering is a relatively thankless job, but hungry coworkers are cranky coworkers, so it’s important to get this one right.  Then when the meeting is over and done with, and successful, you’ll know you did good fueling the process and getting the job done right.

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By stacymorgan

How To... Prepare A Conference Room

Setup procedures for a thoughtfully a prepared meeting room. 


Preparing a conference room for a meeting is all about the little details.  Details that keep meeting participants comfortable and encourage the open flow of information.  While a well prepared meeting room is unlikely to impress your boss, poor preparation will leave them wondering what other simple tasks you can’t handle.  Pulling off meeting room preparation is a no-brainer with these tips. 


ReservationsMedium-size companies to large corporations with multiple conference rooms maintain schedules for meeting space.  Book these conference rooms through the proper channels, and make sure you double-check the reservation.  Then be sure to reserve adequate time for the meeting, as well as a good 30 minutes to an hour both before and after the meeting time, for preparation and cleanup. 


While lengthy seminars on budgetary issues bore your colleagues to sleep, food and coffee perk up even the most narcoleptic workers.  So make catering arrangements for the group where appropriate.  Don’t forget also reserving through the proper channels (usually the IT department) necessary AV equipment, like podiums, laptops, projectors and TV’s.


SetupHave all your supplies ready for quick setup before the meeting.  This means EVERYTHING – food, chairs, laptop, projector, laser pointer, AV equipment, documents and markers for whiteboards or giant notepads.  Forgetting something simple like documents will have you blushing in one corner and your boss silently steaming in the other. 


Arrange seating based on the type of meeting.  Yawn-inducing lecture type conferences call for rows of chairs facing a podium, while round-table discussions require, well, a round table.  Place food to the side and document packets at each seat.  Bonus points if you have a glass of water waiting at the speaker’s podium.  Those with a less than stellar janitorial staff should give the meeting room a speed clean. And if you do have food, make sure there is a garbage can or two in the room before the meeting. Arm yourself with a little witty small talk in case your boss arrives early. 


BreakdownImmediately upon conclusion of the meeting clean up leftover food, return furniture to its original positioning and call the audio-visual guy to come pick up equipment.  Wiping down tables is a common courtesy to the next poor sap that has to set up the room. 

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By stacymorgan

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