How To’s - Skillsets
How To... Be a Multitasker
Multitasking is a highly in demand skill that your new boss likely did not test you on during your interview.  Why?  Because in the understaffed and overworked climate of today’s office, it is assumed that you can take on two things at once... without breaking a sweat, that is.  Think you can’t handle it?  Think again.  Of course, you can!  Time to reach deep down into that right frontal lobe and figure out multitasking, or, risk being weeded out as an under producer.

Difficult/Easy Task Combination - The great way to successfully multi task at work is to combine a thought based activity with a mindless physical based task.  That towering stack of reports your colleague needs hole punched by noon is an ideal project to tackle while listening to the morning conference call drone on.  You can greatly increase your productivity when learning simply to identify easy, mindless physical-based tasks - i.e. stapling, sorting, faxing, highlighting, copying, etc - and pairing them with other items that applies more concentration and focus. 

Work While You Wait - As seamless as every office tries to be, it rarely ever is.  When you need a report printed, or a content CD created, don't be surprised when they tell you, “sure, give me fifteen minutes.”  But that's fine.  It'll give you time to multitask!  Make a quick run to Shipping/Receivings to get your department mail while you’re waiting on someone.  When you're at your desk, fire off a few quick emails while that massive client specification downloads.  And overall, when brief moments of downtime come, reach for those quick tasks at hand.  Your boss will be duly impressed with your productivity when he catches you highlighting key points in a report as you wait for the morning meeting to begin.

Organization - Keeping tasks organized is critical to successful multitasking.  Like organizing an errand run by order of location.  Making a single loop around the building to use the fax machine, drop a report in your boss’ inbox and refill your 30 oz. coffee cup is much better for productivity than 3 separate trips.  Organizing your to-do list tasks in batches based on where you perform them (away from your desk, at the computer, on the phone) will keep you operating at peak efficiency.  Or list out and organize your task by order of deadline (ie. Noon, 2pm, 3:30, Thurs AM, April13).  Completing a day’s work is completely possible, just with the simple improvement of organization.

Practice even just a few of these tips, and you just might earn the coveted “Multitasker” title. And impress your boss and co-workers in the process.
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By stacymorgan

How To... Be Detail Oriented

The little things that make you detail oriented.  A necessary skill at work.


When applying for your new position you were probably asked the common interview question “are you detail oriented?”  Well you likely responded with an enthusiastic “absolutely!” do you really know how to pick up on the little things?  Following these tips will show you that it’s really all in the details. 


Pay Attention – Really listening means abandoning the multi-tasking for a moment (just this once its okay).  No glancing at the clock or checking out a cute coworker. 


Write Things Down – Scribble down key information and review it immediately to solidify the details in your brain.  Repeating key details out loud also helps to reinforce them as well.  “I’ll talk to you Monday at 3?”  “Right, Monday at 3”.


Request Follow Up –With your loud talking cubicle neighbor yapping on the phone and 6 pieces of office equipment humming in the background it can be unrealistic to remember the exact financial figures your coworker tossed out.  When someone gives you highly detailed instructions simply ask, “Would you mind sending me an email with that information?” This gives you a solid record to refer back to when the little things slip your mind.


Ask for Additional InformationRequest and write down the name of the person you spoke with and the date.  This little detail can cover your butt later if someone tries to re-neg on their statements.  Don’t stand for generalized non-answers either.  If someone says “You’ll have it in a couple weeks” say “Let’s nail down a specific date”.  Also don’t be afraid to ask for solid information, like when you’re anxious to get that document in your hand.  It’s easy enough to simply ask, “Do you have a copy of that sheet?” or “Can I make a quick copy of that?”


Check Your WorkA cursory review before turning assignments into your eagle-eyed boss may reveal the little things that are off, such as punctuation or spelling.  And a quick double-check of details like numerical figures will ensure your work is correct down to the last detail. 


Use ChecklistsRunning through a quick mental or written checklist will help you make sure all the details fall into place.  “Do I have the files I need for this meeting?  Are the reports printed out for tomorrow mornings conference?”  And do yourself a favor and keep these little conversations in your head.  No one wants to be “that person from accounting that talks to himself”. 


Being detail-oriented is a skill that can be learned if you practice keying in on little things like names, dates, places, times and numbers.  In today’s highly competitive workplaces it’s often the little things that set you apart. 

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By stacymorgan

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