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Organisation at work: how to anticipate and plan ahead


Whatever your job, you're going to have to deal with the expected (budgets, calls to make, meetings to attend, reports to write and all the rest) and the unexpected (when the boss has a brainwave and has to discuss it with you right away).

The problem: how to juggle what's marked URGENT, what's "a priority" and what needs doing immediately...

The solution: Set a deadline for every task and work out how long each should take you, then make an action plan with your priorities first, for example: Morning: Case A; Afternoon: Client B.

"It's a good idea to note down all the usual jobs you know you'll have to deal," says our expert. "Knowing the time frame you have to play with will help you tackle your tasks a little at a time. For example, as soon as you get your budget, work out what you need and do the sums you can straight away, so you then just have to do a bit of fine-tuning here and there and you don't end up stressing because you've gone over."

But don't set your agenda in stone. You need to be able to deal with emergencies as and when they arise. Either arrange for a workmate to finish what you were working on so that you can deal with the emergency, or tell your boss and team you'll deal with the emergency and finish what you were working on another time.

Test: How do your colleagues see you?
Your problem management revealed!


Sarah Horrocks
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