5 quick tips to improve your organisational skills

Sometimes you can feel like you’re losing control at work; you almost forget about a meeting, a deadline or even where you left your coffee mug!

Your work diary (and need for caffeine) doesn't need to go out of the window though - there are plenty of tricks that you can put in place to get back on track and regain that peace of mind.

1. Have a clear out

Go through your desk or office and ask staff to do the same with their own work areas – in other words, have a good old-fashioned clear out.

Do the same with your email inbox - if it’s full of annoying junk mail you could risk losing important messages that have fell to the bottom of the pile.

Having a tidy can even go as far as clearing up your work bag. Chances are there are receipts and miscellaneous items clogging it up and making it tricky to find things! The clearer our environment, the clearer our minds.

2. Dealing with that to-do list

The trick with tackling your to-do list is to not overload yourself. Set realistic targets, because you will only end up feeling deflated when you haven’t achieved everything in one swoop.

Divide the to-do list into three categories: Big Tasks, Medium Tasks and Small Tasks. Big Tasks are probably going to take some time and aren’t necessarily the most fun things to do. Medium Tasks may be lengthy but ore often straightforward, while Small Tasks is just simple and straightforward - print this, send that or forward the other.

You should never have more than two Big Tasks on you daily to-do list, these should be spread across the week. A good rule of thumb is one Big, four Medium and five Small.

3. Get your storage solutions right

Resist the urge to be a perfectionist in dealing with the old paperwork in your “store” pile, or you’ll be lost amid stacks of miscellany for days.

Just create a way to organise the things you use day-to-day in a way that makes sense to you. Everything related to the annual meeting could go in one labelled container, for example.

Tray racks can be useful, but if papers are just going to sit there for months then you can never find that one single incredibly important piece when you need it, it’s obviously not the system for you.

4. Maintain a clear desk policy

Not only is this good practice and helps keep you organised, it’s also an important part of maintaining information security in the practice.

Having a (relatively) clear desk reduces the risk of important documents containing sensitive information accidentally being left out, as well as keys or anything else you wouldn’t want an unwanted visitor to snap up.

One sure-fire way to prevent clutter from accumulating on your desk is to adopt the one-touch rule. Deal with every piece of paper that crosses your desk immediately. Trash it, act on it, file it or - if you really must - place it in your inbox until you have time to deal with it properly.

5. Use your time wisely

We’ve spoken numerous times about the importance of time management. We’ve even produced a guide to saving time for primary care managers.

A quick hack to improve your time management skills is to utilise reminders; technology makes setting reminders easier than ever! Between phone alarms, calendar reminders, and smartwatch cues, we can be really proactive about managing our time.


Most importantly, do your own thing!

Ultimately, you know yourself best and what works for you, but give a few of these different methods a try and see what makes the biggest difference. 

Award-winning training providers Thornfields offer a time-management workshop for GP practice managers. Delegates can learn how to control and prioritise their own workload and how to influence others. Click here to find out more!


D Kenneth Dodds 17/04/2019

Excellent article and well-timed reminder . Thank you.

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Practice Manager - Bristol, BS40 6HF

Closing Date: 30 June 2020

Salary: £43,700

Practice Manager - London, Clerkenwell

Closing Date: 10 June 2020

Salary: According to experience

Practice Manager - Bristol, BS40 6HF

Closing Date: 30 June 2020

Salary: £43,700

Practice Manager - London, Clerkenwell

Closing Date: 10 June 2020

Salary: According to experience

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