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Team Meeting In Creative Office

At times, finding an open window of time to meet with an entire project group can be difficult. How can you make the most of your time? Let’s look at a few ways to keep meetings on task and more efficient.

Share Expectations
In the meeting invitation, include an agenda and attendee expectations. The agenda gives the attendees an idea of what will be discussed.  This allows them to have their thoughts together so they can join into the conversation. Letting attendees know if they need to have anything prepared will make sure everyone is ready to share ideas and keep the meeting rolling.

Set Your Space
In preparation for the meeting, ensure the room you reserve meets all of your space requirements. Determine if there is enough seating for all those attending the meeting so you aren’t searching for an extra chair when the meeting should be starting. Make sure the meeting space offers the equipment you need, whether this is a screen and projector or flip chart.  Having your space prepared for success will keep the meeting running smoothly.

Get Started
Start on time. The attendees know what time the meeting was scheduled to start. Therefore, it’s important to be respectful of their time, especially if it is just a short window of availability. Begin the meeting at the start time and immediately start covering items on the agenda.

Offer Support Materials
Bring handouts for all attendees if necessary. And if you will be handing something out, make sure you have enough for each attendee. Handouts can be helpful if a large amount of information is presented in a short time to allow the attendees to have a hard copy to review.

Close the Loop
Recap the meeting and the follow-up activities. If there are action items coming out of the meeting, it is good practice to send out a follow-up communication summarizing those items.  Be sure to include what tasks will be completed by the next meeting and/or specific deadlines.

What tactics do you use to keep your meetings productive?

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sticky notes

It’s Monday morning and the amount of projects you have to get done this week or number of meetings you have to attend is paralyzing. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but there are days you come into work and may not know where to start. This causes you to spin your wheels wasting valuable time. Try some of these strategies to get your projects and tasks organized.

Note reminders – This is a popular way to create a list or reminders of tasks to do. The physical sticky notes are nice to stick to a notebook, on a wall by your desk or even on your computer monitor to serve as an ever-present reminder of things that need to be done. They can be easily removed, added to or, my personal favorite, checked off to show what has been completed. However, in the age of technology, if you prefer not to have sticky notes draped around your workspace, most computers offer note programs that allow you to post a digital sticky note onto your desktop.

Planner or paper calendar –A planner or calendar can be carried with you into a meeting or in your workbag, allowing you to easily access and visualize deadlines or timelines. With a range of sizes to chose from, physical planners and calendars give you ample opportunity to organize important dates.

Email calendar & tasks synced to your phone – An email calendar is a great way to set reminders at specific times when a meeting or task due date are coming up. Additionally, we all are typically carrying our phones with us, so having the ability to sync our calendar straight to our phone gives us the ability to get reminders on the go.

Files for each customer or client you work with – As you work with customers and clients, the information you share with each other grows exponentially. Keeping this information organized can begin to become difficult. To keep this wealth of information organized, create a personal file for each of these customers, both in a file cabinet and digitally. This way when something from a previous project is referenced, you can quickly pull out their file and find what you need.

A final note on organizing tasks; give realistic timeframes. If you look at your sticky note or calendar and see a particular time is busy, express this and work to set a timeline that can be accomplished. At times, you may not be able to adjust a deadline, so work on a priority basis and complete the tasks with the most priority first. However, if there is flexibility, give a realistic timeline, because it’s better to deliver before the deadline than late.

The key to staying organized is to find what works for you and follow it – even if your workstation is covered in neon sticky notes.

What organization strategies do you use to stay ahead of the game?

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Thanksgiving has come and gone which means the winter holidays are quickly approaching. You may have your home decorated in lights, wreaths and ornaments, but have you thought of adding a bit of holiday spirit to your workspace?

Here are some quick ideas that will add a bit of holiday pop to your workspace, without going overboard:

Winter themed tissue boxes – The cold weather has you sniffling anyway-may as well use it as a decoration.

Small decorations – Such as framed holiday sayings or small ornaments.

Winter photos of your family or pets – I personally prefer adding pictures of my pup, but put a family Christmas card to more use!

Holiday screensaver – When you are away, a boost of holiday spirit will be added to your space.

Holiday mugs – Those crazy holiday mugs in the back of your cupboard are finally in season! Make an appearance with your mug at a meeting and you’re bound to spread some holiday cheer!

Coasters – These add a little color and can be changed for the season. Plus, they are great displays for your holiday mugs.

Fun calendar – Works year round to add some pop to your workspace.

Here’s how HON members have added holiday spirit to their workspaces:

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How do you decorate your office for the holidays?

Coloring book23Yes, that is a coloring book sitting on the edge of our desk. And yes, it does benefit my productivity and yours.

Studies have shown that taking regular breaks during the workday can lead to improved productivity and creativity. Additionally, stepping away from the computer screen will give your eyes a break and reduce eye strain.

While I could get up and walk to the restroom or get something to drink for my work breaks, I’ve found that adding a bit of color to a picture helps spark my creativity during a task.

Working your way through a large document or an excel spreadsheet may cause your eyes to cross or your concentration to start to wane. Take a 5 minute break. Stand up, grab a crayon and add a little color to your favorite picture. It’ll get your mind off of what you’re working on for a short time as you attempt to stay in the lines and allow your eyes to look at something different. Then, head back to the task at hand with relaxed eyes, an open mind and get to work.

Currently, there are about five pictures in various stages of colored-ness by coworkers who pass by. They may get done this year, they may not, but no one cares. The coloring artist took a moment away from the computer screen to relax their mind before heading off to accomplish their next task.

What do you do to take a quick work break?

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