Welles: Making lists

Experts, managers, federal Web sites provide helpful hints, important dates

Making short lists of what you need to do the next day is a way to get organized, some management experts say. But others say lists are static and can bog down their makers. Still, lists, like Post-it notes on the refrigerator, are ways to focus quickly on a few things.

Here are some lists drawn from management experts, counselors and federal Web sites.

Important dates

    1. End of the fiscal year: Sept. 30.
    2. Start of the program year: Oct. 1.
    3. Open season begins for health, dental and vision benefits: Nov. 13.
    4. Best date for Federal Employees Retirement System workers to retire: Dec. 31.
    5. Best date for Civil Service Retirement System employees to retire: Jan. 3.

Starting a new job

    1. Review the agency’s mission.
    2. Review its strategic plan.
    3. Review the information technology security policy.
    4. Review the organizational structure.
    5. Network, network, network.

To-do’s for managers

    1. Establish a training plan for yourself.
    2. Establish training plans for people you supervise.
    3. Establish a succession plan.
    4. Establish a telework policy.

Ways to reduce stress

    1. Take a walk.
    2. Take a lunch break.
    3. Take a deep breath.
    4. Take a few minutes for yourself.
    5. Take your time.

Maintaining work/life balance

    1. Set manageable goals each day.
    2. Ask for flexibility in the hours you work or ask to be allowed to telework.
    3. Take small breaks to clear your head.
    4. Divide large projects into smaller tasks.
    5. Finish a task before starting the next one.

Getting ready to retire

    1. Decide when you want to retire.
    2. Tell your supervisor about your proposed retirement date.
    3. Attend a retirement counseling seminar.
    4. Make an appointment with your personnel officer to review your Official Personnel Folder and make sure all your records are complete and accurate.
    5. Make sure beneficiaries are up-to-date for any life insurance, health insurance and survivor benefits.

Preparing for an emergency

    1. Stock a kit with water, food, a flashlight and a battery-powered radio.
    2. Make a plan to evacuate or find a shelter nearby.
    3. Talk with family members about where to go and where to meet.
    4. Protect your pets.

From groceries to priorities, you can list just about anything. Lists are the indexes of Web sites. The real challenge is to act on them and take the necessary steps to stay on course, get the job done, keep your head above the fray and get a life.

Welles is a retired federal employee who has worked in the public and private sectors. She lives in Bethesda, Md., and writes about work life topics for Federal Computer Week. She can be reached at [email protected].

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