This past month was dedicated to tackling the daunting task of “getting organized.” Improving organization is always on my to-do list, in the plan, with my goals, and written as a resolution. Perhaps the same is true with you? The hurdle is taking the time to reach a sustainable and logical method of organization! This is especially challenging this time of year as clients are planning summer trips, so this would be considered more of a peak time.
Despite the day-to-day demands, I am committed to “getting organized.” Upon doing some research in organization, I realized that just deciding what and how to organize is overwhelming. Improved order in my work life absolutely needed to happen, so I took a week to analyze key areas of weaknesses that were the most frustrating, time consuming, or chaotic. I highly suggest taking at least a week to truly study how you work, because without really specifying the problems you cannot find the appropriate and optimal solutions. Well this exercise was incredibly beneficial and I discovered key areas of weakness: client data, FIT management, and controlling paperwork. This motivated me put the solutions in place as it was wasting a lot of time and energy having those areas running inefficiently. Not to mention, we always want to stay one step ahead to avoid errors!
The realization you have a problem is half the battle, so with renewed energy to break down and tackle the problems, I just committed to getting those 3 work flow areas running seamlessly. It actually took a very small investment of time and money to utilize the current resources I had or to create what was necessary. Obviously, for client data there is Client Base, but I also have every single client now fill out a client data sheet that I have handy in one notebook. I’m no longer scrambling to find info if I’m not in CB. This has also been an amazing way to screen potential new clients – if they do not take a few minutes to fill out and return the form, it indicates they may not be so serious! FIT’s are running quite smoothly these days with a stand up file tray so I can have those front and center to take care of the multitude of details associated with each booking. It’s an easy visual reminder of what details need to be filled in and the timeline.
Lastly, paperwork control still needs a little work as I feel like my mind is written on post-it notes everywhere! Answering the phone or just taking a quick note seems to add to the pile up of papers with important info; I’m sure at times we all have multiple projects going and quickly switch gears and multitask. The new research on time management is stating to NOT do this; to set aside time and focus on one project/task at a time without interruption and to plan your day into intervals of time that allow for this practice. I think this is excellent advice and quite logical, however we also depend on the response of our suppliers and clients that seems to dictate the efficiency level in a workday. I will try the strategy of focused blocks of time and then incorporate some follow up time to allow for wrapping up business as awaited confirmations and information comes in. Hopefully this improves both time management and organization.
I would love to hear any new ideas for staying organized and optimally managing time throughout the day, please comment and share yours!
Marti Litwin is an independent Virtuoso travel advisor with En Route Travel in Southern California. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Marti shares her value of sharing unforgettable family experiences with her clients. In addition to travel, she enjoys yoga, health and wellness, her 2 children, and an adorable rescued Golden Retriever, Cookie.