With so much to do and so little time to devote, keeping your parish office organized and up to date can be a struggle. But with a few simple tips, and some easy-to-use office platforms, you can transform any chaotic office into a streamlined operation.
Everyday Office Platforms You Need
In addition to the Microsoft Office Suite of programs (Excel, Word, and Publisher), you can find a lot of other great ways to keep organized with some easy-to-use programs.
Video Conferencing: As we’re still dealing with COVID-19, and being careful in how we interact with one another, the ability to connect virtually has been indispensable. From free but limited Zoom logins to paid Go2Meeting accounts, there are so many ways you can take advantage of connecting from anywhere with anyone.
Instant Messaging: When we’re so used to popping into an office or tapping a coworker on the shoulder for a quick answer, having to rely on phone calls or emails means we’re often stuck waiting for an answer. Thankfully, instant messaging platforms like Slack and the chat feature in Microsoft Teams allows you to get those quick answers in the same amount of time (or sooner!) without jamming your inbox.
Cloud File Sharing: If you have office members that are always on the go (like pastoral associates or business mangers who meet with people on the daily) it’s essential that documents be readily available when and where you need them. Keep things safe, secure and accessible with DropBox or Google Drive.
Password Management: With the prevalence of phishing scams and email hackers, it’s essential that you protect sensitive information at all costs. A password management platform like Dashlane or LastPass will allow you to have access to all your logins and passwords, without the threat of someone hacking into your files and using it against you.
Tips to Staying Organized
Prioritize What’s Most Important: Divide your day into must-do/should-do activities. Responding to emails and answering phone calls are definite “yes” tasks, while updating parish contacts and cleaning out the supply room can probably be scheduled on a weekly or monthly basis.
Take Advantage of Notifications and Alarms: With the digital calendars and task managers, it’s easier than ever to plan your work week. Just make sure to keep to the schedule. If you find yourself running out of time for one task, and another one not taking as much time as needed, feel free to adjust!
Close Your Email: If you tend to get distracted easily, consider turning off your email notifications. Instead, choose certain times during the day to respond to emails. Just because you can receive a message instantaneously, doesn’t mean you also need to respond in kind.
A Clear Desk Helps Clear Your Mind: Spend the last 15 minutes of your day cleaning off your desk. Whether that means clearing off your desk of all the post-it notes, emptying your inbox of new emails, or crossing off the last task on your written list, you’ll get a better sense of what’s still needed for the next day, week or month.
Your parish staff works hard — do they know how much you appreciate them? Check out “Tips to Honor Your Administrative Staff” for ideas on how to keep them around.