After two years working in a small office in London, I have come up with my personal list of golden rules to be more productive and get along better with my colleagues. They may or may not apply to your particular situation, but I thought I would share them with you! Here we go:
- Observe your surroundings and notice how your colleagues communicate with one another. In some small teams it may be okay to simply talk, while in other situations it is better to rely on emails.
- Manage expectations: be honest about how long something is going to take you. Never over-promise and under-deliver…
- If something is not clear, ask your supervisor as soon as possible. It will save you a lot of time later on.
- Write things down. As a wise man once said: “the dumbest pencil will always remember more than the sharpest mind” (or something like that). And keep your notes organised.
- Use a file naming convention. For example, I use “YYYYMMDD Subject — Initials” (e.g. 20170818 Shopping list — SN). Again — it helps keep things organised, especially in shared locations such as Dropbox or SharePoint.
- Make a list of your priorities for the day. If in doubt, ask your boss.
- If you receive an email addressed to multiple recipients, do not remove them from our reply (unless you have a good reason to do so). There is probably a reason if they were copied in the first place.
- Use existing email threads if you are going back to that topic. It makes it easier to keep track of the conversation.
- Organise your emails in folders and/or categories. It saves a lot of time when looking for one particular message.
- Don’t dump everything on your desktop. Take on the habit of using folder structures to your advantage and your life will be a lot easier.
Bonus: When you are about to make a cup of tea, ask around who wants one too!