Thursday, 24 August 2017
25. Work place - working efficiently
8 months later and I finally reached a point where I am efficient in my work…well, most of the time. One thing I’ve realised about myself is that when something comes up while I’m busy with one thing, if it is urgent and/ or will take little of my time, I’d rather stop what I’m doing currently and attend to that thing before I forget about it. I’d rather get it over and done with there and then instead of procrastinating it, otherwise it won’t get done. If it’s something that will take long, which I’d only realise while attending to it, I’d keep the paper work or a sticky note on the desk or on the laptop where it will not pass my eyes, so that I know it has to be attended to before end of day. I also don’t like papers on my desk, so putting them on my desk is motivation enough to attend to them and to get rid of them before end of day. However, it’s also important to be realistic: if I can’t do everything today, there’s always ‘prioritizing’ – doing the urgent tasks first, and there’s always “first thing in the morning” (lol).
The 2 most important tasks I always have for the day are:
1. To attend to emails with suppliers (most of which relate to discrepancies between the statements and our records, which may result in a number of tasks being done to sort out the discrepancies) and
2. To ensure that creditors' reconciliation of all suppliers that send their statements are completed either by end of day or by the next morning for payment preparation.
When it comes to supplier emails, I do not attend to the next email until I attend to the email opened. If the email relates to something I cannot attend to at the time, I’ll keep it as “unread” until I attend to it. I always want to have 0 unread inbox messages by the time I leave work, so that motivates me to attend to every email. As much it is something logical to do, I finally got the hang of attending to the oldest emails first before newer emails – yes, during the first few months at work, I was pretty slow. Can you imagine the number of emails I got everyday? They piled up and I ended up have too many because of being so slow to attend to them on the days they were sent. It's very important to attend to emails as soon as possible.
There are other smaller tasks that I need to do during the day, like filing invoices and help various departments on whatever I can assist with in my capacity with the filed invoices: be it finding individual invoices that need to be paid (for suppliers who don’t send statements) or finding invoices for purchasing or receiving department when they find discrepancies they came across at a later stage, or if they need to re-check something.
I’ve realised that all departments are dependent on each other. Any discrepancies I come across with suppliers between what is on their statement and what is in our records will result in me consulting the purchasing department and / or the receiving department. However, the individual persons in the departments may be busy with their own daily duties, and thus I had to find a way to come to them at a convenient time. Recently, I had an idea to actually keep a stack of queries I’d need help with from a particular individual, so that I come to them at once for all the queries, and attend to them then and there, instead of consulting on each query as it comes, one by one, disturbing the daily flow of the individual.
Sometimes things won’t necessarily work out the way I expected: for instance, the individual is not at work on the day, or the individual can only attend to me at a certain point in time. I’ve had to find alternative ways to a solution, or learn to be patient – which is much better when there are other tasks to be attended to, because those tasks will keep me busy for a while.
At times, I’d find that the discrepancy is a result of a task that wasn’t done by the individual in whichever particular department. In such cases, I know better that to ‘condemn’ the individual. I’d simply ask them to do whatever is required. This experience has also helped me acknowledge and understand that we are human beings and cannot be burdensome to the other, because it is not pleasant for one to be annoyed and feel pushed, as that will affect their attitude towards the work they do, and ultimately the efficiency in executing their tasks/duties. The 3 most important values I live by are integrity, respect and humility, and they have helped me a great deal when it comes to working with people.
Efficiency to me means executing tasks to the best of my ability without compromising the results expected: 'competency' and 'well-organised' being the key words. What’s more important to me is to ensure accurate results, not simply completing tasks for the sake of doing so. Since I have recently started working, of course there are some things I need to grasp and learn in order to be quicker at being efficient. It’s a learning curve, and I'm quite appreciative of having the opportunity to grow.
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