Getting your “quality” life in order is no easy task. Project meetings, staff meetings, tollgate reviews, and business deliverables can wreak havok on our daily lives. Sometimes it seems as if there is nothing we can do to stay organized – until now. Just as we teach our businesses that processes are necessary to increase productivity, effectiveness and efficiency, we too must have processes to control our personal lives.
Getting your quality life organized requires you to set up regular rituals that maintain control of the details. The hardest part is admitting you have a problem and taking the first step to set up a system. Here are a few ideas to jump start your organizational processes:
- Organize and File the Pile: You know which one we’re talking about. It’s probably at the corner of your desk, or maybe it’s on top of the bookshelf. These are the papers, files and folders that contain all the information you receive on a daily basis. Some of which you need, most of which you don’t. Make sure you immediately file the ones you may need to reference at a later date. You can even file the ones you don’t need – just make sure it’s the cylindrical filing cabinet that the janitors clean out nightly. You may find that an uncluttered desk and office helps lead to an uncluttered mind.
- Organize Your Computer: Just as an organized filing cabinet can lead to efficient recall of important facts, so too can an organized computer. Remember the last time you spent 30 minutes searching for the excel spreadsheet that summarized your defects and opportunities? No more. Organize your files by a memorable schema, such as by year and by project title or green belt name. Make titles of folders and files descriptive enough to be able to find them using the Windows Explorer > Find > Find Files or Folders command.
- Review Quality Project Goals and Results: Each Six Sigma quality project is initiated with the define step, requiring project leaders to estimate a timeline in addition to other project definitions and deliverables. Revisit this timeline on a weekly basis to assess and gauge your progress towards completion. If you feel you aren’t progressing as scheduled, adjust your approach, schedule and champion’s expectations to get back on track.
- Close Out the Quality Stragglers: Unfortunately, we all know what these are – the half-completed quality projects that have lost business favor or priority in your daily quality life. These quality ghosts can haunt you and are an energy drain. If it’s a black belt or green belt that hasn’t committed to completion, light a fire by speaking to the manager or setting a deadline. If it’s one of your projects, set aside specific time during each week to close these incomplete tasks. Block it off on your schedule so others don’t see open time as an invitation to hold a meeting of their own.
- Plan Your Time Effectively: Organization is not something that is granted to a few lucky individuals. It is granted to everyone that takes time to plan effectively. Take the time at the end of the week to write a schedule, table of goals, and to-do list for the following week. Instead of getting swept along with the weekly tide, you will be able to set sail for a more relaxing and productive week. You’ll also find that maintaining these rituals helps you more easily highlight your accomplishments to your boss.