One thing that I’ve noticed over the past few months is that people are rarely fully prepared for anything, myself included. I admire those that are, but I don’t see it very often. It always seems as though everyone is doing everything last minute, and as a result they seem to be scrambling to get things together. I notice it most with the candidates that I interview. Everyone seems to get to the office just in time, they’re all in a dither, and they aren’t fully prepared. I have gotten better with planning out my days because I notice my stress level rises tremendously when I’m ill prepared. In one of my recent blogs I wrote about procrastination and how it can affect your day and life in general, but today I’m going to give you some tips on how to be prepared and avoid procrastination. These are some things that I have implemented into my own personal and professional life to be a little more prepared for the next day, interviews and meetings.
One thing that I have gotten much better at is planning ahead and it is something that I notice many people do not do. We usually schedule interviews with candidates at least one week ahead of time to give them time to prepare for it. To me, that seems like enough time to have everything together, but it doesn’t always seem to be. It surprises me when candidates come to their interview early, with a complete file and with the requested number of references because it rarely ever happens. When you are looking for employment, your initial interview is the first impression that you leave with your potential employer. If you show up unorganized and missing requested documentation, what kind of an impression do you leave? Plan ahead to avoid it!
For me as a Recruiter, my day consists heavily of interviewing, completing reference checks and continuously responding to emails. In terms of interviewing, I always take a look at my file for the next day before leaving the office to ensure that A) all of the scheduled interview files are there, B) all of the proper paper work is in each file and C) all of the paper work is in the proper order. This helps the interview go smoothly and it also helps me feel prepared when I start the next day.
One thing that I’ve recently started to do in my personal life is plan and schedule bill payments so I never have to worry about submitting a payment after the due date. It helps ease my mind when it comes to the 1st of every month (rent), the 10th of every month (phone) and on the 11th of every month (internet). Anything that makes life easier makes me happy!
One thing that I have learned to implement in order to be more prepared is to make lists and use sticky notes…tons of them. I was never a “list maker” before I got a full-time career. I was one of those, “Oh, I’ll remember it. I don’t need to write it down”, kinds of people. But once I became busier and became more involved in my role, I realized that writing things down and making lists was crucial. I never noticed how beneficial it was until I saw my colleagues creating their own lists. Not only is it beneficial and helps keep you organized, but it also gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you get to scratch off the tasks as you complete them.
In my professional life, I write everything down on sticky notes. The basics, like interviewing and reference checking, are habit, but I make sure to write down the little specific things like, “Email all staff new policies” or “Prepare file for job fair next week”. If I have an upcoming meeting that I need to be prepared for, I write down a list of what I need to bring to it. We have quarterly meetings and my role as Recruitment Manager means that I am in charge of gathering numbers in terms of interviews scheduled, the staff pool numbers and shifts filled/unfilled by designation. I made a list and pinned constant reminders a couple of weeks prior to our last meeting to avoid having everything left for the very last minute. It seems simple, but the reminder gives you the push to just do it!
In my personal life, I have found that making lists of things that I have to do, whether that is housework, groceries or errands that I need to run, makes it easier to get them done. I personally like to have a pen-to-paper type of list, whereas many others tend to use Note Apps on their phone. I need something to hold that I can physically cross off items from, but do whatever works best for you!
Divide into Steps
For many people, seeing lists is scary. If you’re one of those people, take your list and divide it into steps! It may look like more work, but if you have the expectations and requirements laid out into steps, it makes the work seem easier. For example, instead of simply writing, “Prepare file for job fair next week”, layout what needs to be done step by step:
Prepare file for job fair next week:
- Request new marketing material from Marketing Dept.
- Print out flyers/reference check release forms
- Pack up banners/easels/signs
- Gather business cards
- Steam table cloth
As I said, it looks like more work, but having requirements laid out makes the work seem easier!