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When You Need It Later: The Bring-Forward System

When You Need It Later: The Bring-Forward System

My boss likes me to keep him organized and the way I do that is to have a system to bring forward items, which I then bring to his attention when he needs to see it.

The system I use is quite simple and has been around for a long time. They taught this system when I was in high school and it is still being taught and used by many assistants today because it works!

Tried and True Method:
I set up 12 hanging file folders labeled January through to December. If my boss is going on a business trip in April for instance, I put his ticket, passport (if necessary) and any material he will need for his trip in the April folder, with a date on it, i.e. April 6. If there are forms we need to fill in and it has a due date in June, I put those forms in the June folder with a bf date on it for a week before it is due.

Each day before I leave for the day, I go through the appropriate hanging folder and look through it for any items my boss will need the next day. I put it in a two-fold file folder with his calendar printed out on the one side and the items he will need for the day on the other side. This really works for us and is so easy to use.

Reminders for Me:
For reminders for myself I tend to use Tasks in Outlook a lot. Many of my tasks come from e-mail requests from either my boss or others so I want the e-mail to be in my Tasks as well as what I want to do with it. Depending on how you have your Outlook set up, below are the steps:

  • you can either drag and drop the e-mail into the Tasks folder or open the e-mail and choose Move to Folder and choose Other Folder and scroll down until you find Tasks, highlight it and press OK
  • the e-mail contents will now be in your Task, but in the Comments section
  • in the Subject line I write whatever it is I need to do and put [OPEN] so I will know to open the Task to read the e-mail below
  • I set the appropriate date I need to do it by and set a reminder.

    Other Tasks:
    If you need to set yourself a Task further to a phone call request or just to set a reminder to do something at a future date, highlight the Tasks folder by clicking on it once and from your Outlook Toolbar press New and it will open a Task for you and you can then proceed as above to set your dates and reminders.

Where can I put this paper? For paper things that I need to remember to follow up on, I put the letter or document in my Wait Bin (which is a tray for things I am waiting on). I create a corresponding Task reminder and write something like this: WAITBIN need to prepare form for production by March 23rd. Then I put a reminder for a few days before. Because I have WAITBIN in my Subject line, I will know that the item is in my Wait Bin when I go to look for it.

Next: When You’re Waiting on Someone Else →

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