Office Hacks for Spring Semester

ScholarNet Blog Articles | April 30, 2019

10 Office Hacks for Spring Semester

The days get shorter in the financial aid office this time of year—or so it seems. We scoured sites in search of helpful hacks that would help you accomplish more with your day, with a little less stress. Here are a few of the best tips we found.

  1. Do your most challenging work in mid- to late-morning. Focus for most people begins to rise as the morning goes on. After 3 p.m., it drops significantly.
  2. Avoid scheduling important meetings or making crucial decisions after 3 p.m. See #1.
  3. Instead of thinking of what you don’t have time for, tackle what you do have time for. This allows you to take advantage of smaller chunks of time to chip away at a seemingly overwhelming list.
  4. Don’t just delegate easy tasks—reassign to others the things you’re not good at. While there are some parts of our jobs we simply have to do ourselves, if there’s something that takes you more time than it should, and it could more easily and quickly be done by someone else, delegate it. Your time and productivity is worth it.
  5. Create cheat sheets. There are bits of information we need repeatedly in the financial aid office. Create a document (or several of them) that puts all the information you search for most often in a logical place that’s handy for when you need to use it.
  6. Put technology to work for you. Use a password manager to store your passwords. It may seem like these things take time to set up, but it’s not as much as you think, and creates time savings for you—over and over again.
  7. Plan your sleep for better productivity. Going in early on days when you need to be super productive can be counter-intuitive. Those may be the days you need an extra half-hour of sleep. If you have a watch that tracks your sleep, use it to determine what amount of sleep you need to be most productive—and then plan for better productivity when it’s most needed.
  8. Communicate so others know what to expect. The second you know you may miss a deadline, communicate to others who are impacted. It may not be an issue—and you can stop feeling guilty—or perhaps you can figure out a different solution so the negative impact is reduced.
  9. Drink enough water (at least 64 ounces per day is recommended). Get a large water bottle for at work, and mark times of day by which you should have drunk down to a certain number of ounces in order to stay sufficiently hydrated. When you’re too busy, you don’t have time to refill or keep track—but you also can’t afford headaches, dizziness, or other signs of dehydration that will sap your energy and productivity.
  10. Leave a list for in the morning. Take five minutes before you leave to jot a quick prioritized list of your main goals for tomorrow, note important things you don’t want to forget, or mark the spot where you stopped reading a document. And then straighten up your desk so that when you come in tomorrow, you aren’t filled with dread, but have a sense of purpose.

What tips do you have for saving time and reducing stress during the busy spring semester in the financial aid office? We want to hear about them. Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

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