Have You Personal Time Management Retreats In Your Workplace? 

Your personal time management retreats means keeping your workplace suitable for work. It is about being disciplined about your self-organisation.

One really handy method is the 5S method from Japan. This method describes how you can keep your workplace efficient and tidy.

Note too, that this method is also one of the tools from the Six Sigma Methodology.

The 5S Method

5S Method of Keeping Your Workplace

It concerns you looking at your personal workspace with 5 approaches:

No. 1: Sort

Sort out your stuff! Declutter and organize a place for everything you do need.

Have a place for everything and everything in its place.

Get rid of rubbish and unnecessary items. Only keep the essentials.

Why have 10 blue pens? You only write with one. Why keep that red pen that doesn’t work?

Store away things you may need at a later date but get rid of anything you do not or will not use.

This is also useful for looking at incoming mail, reports, emails, etc.

Stop the material coming in that will be of no use to you, i.e. unsubscribe from unnecessary Newsletters, reports, circulars, invitations to regular meetings you don’t attend.

No. 2: Straightening out or Setting in Order

Probably the approach that will most affect your personal time management retreats!

Of the materials you want to keep, place them in a systematic way that they are quick and easy to locate.

This has the advantage of easily obtaining any necessary items you need to complete the task at hand. Needless to say, this includes information on your computer.

Have a clearly organised set of folders with easily recognizable titles on your files, for example: “2013 April Report for Production”, “2013 April report for Incoming” “2013 April report for Sales”

Have clear circles in your Email lists to whom you report to on a regular basis.

One systematic approach to organizing your desk if you work a lot with paper documents is:

To have 3 incoming trays.

Top one = Must be done today. 

Middle Section = Discretionary Tasks

Bottom Tray = Ongoing

In your Desk drawer to have hanging folders which are organised as follows:

  •  7 hanging folders for Monday to Friday
  •  2 hanging folders with the next two weeks
  • 12 hanging folders with January to December (Handy for longer-term goals, reminders, etc.)

As the day closes, you re-organize your folders and the documents in the appropriate way, moving "Tomorrows" papers into "Todays" hanging folder.

Any topic that is completed, you file the paperwork away in appropriately named and systematically arranged Shelf folders.

The identification system for the Shelf folders must reflect the key points according to which you will look for this paper or document again.

You can, for example, group them according to Timeline, Project type, Subject matter, Persons involved, Customer, Task carried out, Type of document, etc. The objective is to store the documents in such a way that they are easily found again.

Make it a rule to always do something with every piece of paper you handle.

Label where you put things, especially where you have materials stored.

Fix or replace broken things, such as shelves, chairs, drawers, staplers. The aim is not to waste your time dealing with broken items.

No. 3: Sweeping or Shine

Keep your workplace clean! Keep all equipment clean: the computer screen, your telephone, your desktop. No unsightly dust balls floating around or coffee stains on the meeting table. Keep them clean and organised. Make sure everything is back in the place it should be.

At the end of every working day, make sure all surfaces are clean, all papers tidied away and ready for the next day’s fresh start.

Make a habit of keeping your workplace clean and in good repair.

No. 4: Standardizing

This is about making the habit out of being organised and keeping your workplace supportive of the work you do. Your personal time management retreats! 

Try also to get others to follow your systematic approach, so that it becomes the standard in your department or your business.

  • Is the office materials area clean, tidy and clearly marked?

  • Is the coffee corner inhabited by species we’d rather not mention or is it clean and hygienic?

  • Are the bins emptied regularly?

Not only will the general atmosphere benefit from the tidier surroundings and the clarity about where things are, it will also be easy to follow the approach of another, especially if they have the same system as you.

The signal that is being given out to others, is that the people here care about their workplace – so they will also care about their work.

This is good all round as a lot of waste is avoided, waste of time, paper, searching for materials, quick access to information, and quick response times are ensured when the person normally responsible is out of the office, etc.

No. 5:  Sustaining the Practise

Now that you have created this standardized approach to keeping your workplace tidy, maintain and review these standards. You do this to try to avoid reverting back to old habits. In reviewing how the approach is catching on, you may come up with better ways of doing things too.

5 S is really only a habit and can always be improved on.

Try and check once a week how you are progressing - or are the old habits creeping back in?

Conclusion to Personal Time Management Retreats

Finally, have a place that you can work uninterrupted - that Personal Time Management Retreats. This may be for reading purposes or for creative thinking, reflection, decision-making, even just chilling-out.

I once worked with a guy who raced through his lunch to get back to a corner in the office to have his 20 minute power nap during the day. He was calmness in person.

If you need something like this to work better, organize your own personal "Time Management Retreats!"


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