Organisational skills are considered valuable for any employee or person; but there are several, more specific skills that together give a person strong organisational skills. Someone with strong organisational skills is considered to have the ability to manage his/her duties through planning, prioritization, time management, and detail orientation. We shall now look at each skill in detail.
People with strong organisational skills makes planning an important part of their daily life. Such people set out specific tasks for accomplishment or completion and approach those tasks with intention and purpose. People without organisational skills operate without specific plans, acting more spontaneously during the day, lacking impact and therefore less productive. Lack of planning makes them victims of a day’s events instead of a victor. Being a good planner, then, is important to having strong organisational skills.
So be deliberate and intentional about planning your work day including your personal life. Start each day with a well thought out plan and make provision for duties that may be delegated to you in the course of the day by your Supervisor.
Organising your activities is relatively pointless if you do not prioritise tasks so that you accomplish the most important items first. By prioritising, organised people get their most important tasks completed first to optimise their output, and the value created.
Your tasks for a day will be numerous and varied each demanding your attention. Your Supervisor may assign multiple tasks to you with varying importance and deadlines. It is your job to rank the tasks with your Supervisor so that the important ones are done first. In his bestselling book [The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people], Stephen Covey posits that “important issues/tasks are usually not urgent and most urgent issues are not important”.
Your best bet is to prioritise your tasks and complete the important ones first. Work with your supervisor to rank tasks assigned to ensure that there are no surprises or disappointments. Prioritise what you choose to focus on each hour of your working day to maximise your time.
Time management is another important feature of organisational skills. Making the best use of your time is important within the context of an organisation. In fact, the firm is “intended to help you get as much accomplished as possible during a particular period. Proper time management typically includes the use of a scheduler or planner to outline meetings or important activities that are to take place on each given day. Outlining the use of your time helps you get the most value from it”1.
Apply time management skills to each aspect of your working life. Write tasks down and assign a specific time to each of them and stick to them. There will always be emergencies, but that should not stop you from managing your tasks and your time.
In a technologically connected world, the modern day distractors in our work environment are more than just a noisy colleague but social media which has now become the new necessary evil. There is, therefore, the need to be conscious, deliberate and disciplined about how you mute such evils and focus on your important tasks.
“Detail orientation is a focus on the small things that make a project complete or fulfill every aspect of a particular task.”1 Detail orientation often helps organised employees avoid oversights on important projects and little missteps that can serve as detractors to an otherwise well-executed project.
Accountants and project managers are among employees that ought to possess high detail orientation capability because minor errors can cause significant problems within their work. In a nutshell, we all need to pay attention to detail, after all, the devil they say is in the detail.
Making a checklist of all minute activities required to accomplish a task ensures that there are no missed steps that will later derail a project, event or the intended outcome of a task. Having a checklist and ticking off as you accomplish each milestone boosts your morale and helps you accomplish more than you can ordinarily envisage.
In the services sector where outputs are usually intangible, we must be detail oriented at documenting all activities involved in serving our clients. In such industry, it is not enough to deliver the service such as software implementation projects, and delight the customer. What is more important is the documentary proof that the service has been delivered and signed-off by the client. So the next time you provide a service, with the excitement still fresh in the eyes of the client, get them to confirm your delivery by signing-off. Do not leave it to chance – a short pen is better than a long memory: people do forget; evidence is the name of our game.
Operationalise the learning in this article:
- Write out your tasks for the day/week and remember to leave room for additions from your Supervisor. Make it visible to encourage others to emulate.
- Rank the tasks based on importance especially those delegated to you.
- Allocate time for each task. Keep distractions out of your workspaces as much as possible. Start with yourself – beware of social media!
- Pay attention to detail! Make a checklist and tick off as you accomplish each task. Ask for a review of documents you have authored. Check and check again! And keep records of job delivery even for the smallest work done for clients. It will come in handy one day.
Thank you for reading. Now share your thoughts. I want to learn from you.