Ever show up at a meeting and realize you forgot something? Due to the ever quickening pace of life, “preparation time” has gotten squeezed, resulting in an increased likelihood of dashing out unprepared.
The key to minimizing this risk is “staging” needed items as they come to mind. This can be a challenge, because remembering doesn’t always coincide with packing. For example:
~You come across paperwork for Monday’s team meeting while clearing the desk off on Thursday evening.
~ You remember – while driving the car – that you need your projector for a presentation next Friday.
~ You recall that your computer battery is low, so you will need to bring your power cord to the offsite in the morning.
~ A phone message reminds you that a colleague wants to see a photo of a product mock-up at an upcoming lunch.
Rarely do we remember everything we need at the exact moment we are packing up, frequently because we are rushing to get out the door. Therefore, it is beneficial to get organized and set up systems to capture these reminder thoughts as they occur. Consider the following:
1. Establish a staging area near the door.
This can be a bag on the floor, a section of your credenza, or any surface near the door. When you think of things you need to bring to an upcoming meeting/event/conference/trip/etc., either put them physically into this area, or write a note and place it in this area (e.g. “Friday’s Staff Meeting: attendance data”)
2. Create a list on your smartphone called “Remember to Bring”.
When you are out and about and think of something you need, record it here. As above, you might note, “Tuesday conference call: weekly sales figures” or “Vendor fair: new brochures.” When you get back to your office, get these items and put them in your staging area. Once they are staged, you can delete them from your smartphone. If you are staging multiple destinations, group items in bags or piles and label them.
3. Make a list for meetings you regularly attend/ events you regular go to/ etc.
Record everything you need for these recurring events on index cards and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door. For example, if you are a speaker, you might list your computer, projector, power cord, dongles, remote control, business cards, brochures and copies of your book. Every time you are about to walk out the door, consult your checklist to make sure you have what you need.
Today’s fluid work environment requires individuals to be organized and ready to go in multiple locations at all times of day. And while some say, “showing up is half the battle”, the truth is that “showing up PREPARED is what it takes to win.”
Submitted by Seana Turner, founder and president of The Seana Method. For more information on time management and productivity, visit www.theseanamethod.com.