Organisational systems

Hi all.  Just want to start this by saying I'm not researching a book or anything like that and aside from some general discussion about any replies I get it is for my reference only.  It would be a big help if I could get a response or two though.

Right, now we've cleared that up! 

The ideal situation (to my eye) from an organisational point of view would be to record every single thing that happens, from whether a letter has actually gone out, to where we are with a tax return, to every little query and task I am set by others in the office.  However, at some point it becomes counter-productive, in that you spend more time recording what is happening than actually doing anything.

But no matter how thorough a tracker I keep it seems there is always something someone wants to know that I haven't 'tracked'.  My attention span could be better as previously mentioned on here, so I often don't remember a lot of things, meaning I am overly reliant on my trackers.  But coupled with a touch of OCD, I am finding it difficult to draw the line where I am tracking too much. 

Ummm, I suppose I want to sound out, what do you consider to be excessive in terms of keeping track of things?  I know what I consider to be excessive, though I admit I often still either do it or want to do it.  As a minimum (and a 'healthy' amount of tracking) I need my tax return tracker so I can, at a glance, see where we are with each return.  I have about 10 columns and I feel that is perfect, especially coupled with a notes column and the ability to add comments.  I also have a to do list which is getting a bit strained given I am part way through about a dozen jobs, so I think it needs tweaking, but I would consider it a vital tracker.

Useful further trackers would be keeping a list of post out (as opposed to letters written which I already do) which is surely more the admin departments job than mine... Yet it's me that is asked.  People might wander in and ask a question or ask me to do something, writting every one down even if it was throw away advice seems excessive, but then I later get mis-quoted or asked to repeat what I said, or people ask me if I did X and my (probably correct) answer of 'no, because you only told me to do Y and Z' would be a lot more credible if I had contempary notes to show them, so I'm thinking it would be handy to track, but so time consuming and largely pointless.

Perhaps you could share what you use Excel (or such) to keep track of, and what you either don't track because you remember/it is too time consuming and what you consider you don't need to track, such as I probably should just tell people 'I wrote the letter, passed it for review, where it went then is none of my concern, perhaps admin should track it/the reviewer remember what they have cleared', but I struggle not to feel responsible for everything I touch :)

I'm grateful for any points of view you give, thank you in advance.

 

Comments
ShirleyM's picture

I like to keep quite detailed records

ShirleyM | | Permalink

... but purely for my own benefit!

I have a fantastic memory for some things, but it is also completely useless for other things, so unless I do the task immediately, or write it down, I will probably forget it!

If a client says they haven't had this or that, or I didn't tell them this or that, then my records will usually confirm whether they are correct or not.

If I suddenly remember I should have done something, but cannot remember whether I did it ... my records will enlighten me.

We have methods which cover the bulk of all client contact & tasks. We have a summary of scheduled work, and each job within the summary has a separate checklist  which is updated by the person completing each stage of the task, with the date and a rough time, and these are retained with the relevant records. The summary tells us who has the next task on that job, and indicates progress of the task.

We store emails and other communications in the client files, and also keep a 'list' on our database of anything that isn't a regular task, which can be displayed instantly.

I hope this make sense!

EDIT: we use Excel & Access

johnjenkins's picture

get yourself

johnjenkins | | Permalink

a good secretary. I find I can earn more money by doing productive work so that the cost of a competant organiser easily pays for itself. Or alternatively if YOU are a good organiser get someone to do the productive work. You get to a point very quickly where you just can't do both. Ask yourself, if a client asked you that question what would your answer be?

Constantly Confused's picture

I'll ask the partners

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

to let me have a secretary, you'll hear their laughter from wherever you are :)

 

johnjenkins's picture

A few colleagues

johnjenkins | | Permalink

of mine have taken on a couple of Eastern European ladies, are putting them through college and the difference already has been noticeable. One has two ladies through the apprentiship scheme £2.50 per hour. Two because they are at college 3 days a week (AAT), but you can stagger so there is only one day not covered.

It's now time (my opinion) that we need to take stock as to what is important. I'm sure with all the changes in the last coulple of years we have had to take on a lot more work regarding organising. HMRC want us to get more involved in their R & D. So we either burn out or take on staff with all its H & S and HR crap.

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