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Time to Focus

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Reporting in!

I am startled at how fast the days fly by  in my new job. Today, my co-worker pointed out that I’ve been in my new role for several months! It’s been an onslaught of new vocabulary, new team dynamics, new everything. It’s all a blur. Now, it’s time to focus.

The picture above is a coloring book picture which resides on my cubicle wall. (Yes, I colored it!) It reminds me to focus on where I am. It prods me,  Put your efforts into learning and mastering as much about your new job responsibilities as possible, and you’ll be successful.

Although I have a million things running through my mind most of the day, I’ve really tried to use my own best practices to focus. I rely on these methods to reel me back in when my day starts to unravel.

  1. Reconfirm task due dates. My new position has SO many projects with start and end dates. Mind-boggling. Reconfirming dates allows me to better budget and manage my time.
  2. Headphones with NO music. Basically, ear plugs. They help ward off distraction.Keep me on task.
  3. Headphones with music on – so I can remain energized when working on repetitive tasks I’ve got to get done.
  4. An organized desk. An absolute. When I leave at night, my to-do list and calendar for the next day are right in front. They jolt me into action before the caffeine kicks in. Also, having (paper and digital) folders, utilizing consistent file naming conventions. My desk is a mess during the day. It’s lovely first thing in the morning and when I head home for the night.
  5. Jot down questions in a notebook. Many times a day I’ll have a light bulb moment. I must write it down but, not be distracted by it. Writing it in my notebook daily allows me to remember it. [You know, I NEVER remember something if I tell myself, ” Oh, I’ll remember this. I don’t need to write it down.” WRONG!]  I love this because I can pull the notebook with me into any team meeting or 1-on-1 with my new supervisor, get answers and lessen the odds of repeating mistakes.
  6. OneNote. Keeping OneNote open with my annual review tab. When I learn something new or take on a new task, into the notebook it goes. Again. Not having to remember these things six months after the fact and once it is there, it is off the train track in my head. I also use it to document the steps I take for certain tasks. Brilliant start to a procedures manual. (That’s another blog post for another day.)
  7. Take my lunch break. So much easier to focus when I get away from my desk to eat or go out for fresh air. Vital.
  8. Limit surf time (Squirrel!). It’s too easy to go from article to article, site to site. Next thing you  know, you’ve lost 30 minutes.
  9. Recognizing when my brain is done for the day and make the switch to getting myself ready for the next day.

Stay rooted. Stay focused. Bloom where you are planted.

  • There's plenty goings on in the DC Metro region this time of year -- both to celebrate the the holidays and to get social. For administrative professionals, we invest a ton of time in organizing our company holiday functions. But what's new for us? Did you know there is a local admin group-- DC LAN - International Association of Administrative Professionals group? We ran out of room for our first social event at Union Station on the 2nd of December.  Our next event is already almost at capacity -- January 3 at the Champps in Arlington. You don't have to be a group leader to host an event. If your office has conference room space, we can get an educational or informational event to you. Professional development for administrative professionals! that is what IAAP is all about. We have tentative educational events scheduled for March, April and May. And, we're looking at offering webinars in early 2016. Want to learn more about IAAP?  Check out their site at www.iaap-hq.org. And, if you are looking for a great network in the DC Metro region, reach out to me. We'll get you on the mailing list.  I'm a volunteer for IAAP, not a paid staff member.  My goal is to help DC area admins create and keep a strong and resourceful network of peers. And on a personal note, here's wishing each of you a peaceful and joyous holiday season.  Hope to meet you soon. ~~  Kemetia MK Foley,  DC LAN Coordinator Volunteer - IAAP

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