Skip to main content

Office Organization

How do you keep all the little details of your job in order so that you can be successful? If I heard it once, I heard it a million times. Our job as Activities Director is so diverse and has so many details that you must be well organized. I’d like to think that I have a good system,  and I’m sure that what works for me, may not work for you. Below is the outline of how I handle my office. If you have a successful method, I’d love to hear from you. Take what does work for you from this article and and make your life at work easier. That is what this blog is all about!

I use a four part system to schedule my work life and to keep track of everything. The first and most important item is my calendar book. Up until this year, I’ve used a Daytimer calendar, but this year, I’m using Franklin Covey. I don’t see much difference at all. I have a section for the months that is spread over two pages per month, and then the weekly calendar, which does the same.  I use the monthly calendar to put all my special  and reoccurring events on it.  Here is also where I schedule my entertainers. I use a system of colored check marks to show if they are confirmed or not and when  I’ve requested their payment. I also make notes of any food requested for a program here too.

I use the weekly calendar to make notes of what I need to do at a certain time of the day, or on a special program. I also add my phone calls to be returned in the Saturday and Sunday boxes. I like to highlight the items as I get them completed. I don’t cross them out because I might need to refer back to it for some reason and this way I can still see it. I use a light yellow for this and it works well. I can also see what still needs to be done from the past when I flip back to see what I’ve missed. I use the daily pages to plan when I’m going to start promoting an activity, and when the deadlines are for it as well.

The second part of my system is a grid that I made that shows the different kinds of programs that I want to include on my monthly calendar.  The categories are Daytrip, Fitness, Community Event, Lunch/Dinner Outing, and Free trip (which lately has meant cheaper trip).  These categories are at the top of the page and then along the side are the months of the year.  This helps me see the big picture and to coordinate with fellow activities directors who work in our company's other communities in the area.

The third part is the “tickler system.” It is a file system that is the drawer of my desk that is most convenient for me. It has a monthly file section and a numbered section for each day of the month. I file everything that I need for each month in the folders for the month. At the beginning of the month, I bring out the papers, tickets, lists, contracts, etc. from the monthly file and put it into the daily file for each event. This helps a lot because I can get my hands on items quickly and saves time.

The last item is more about my processes. First, I don’t try to remember anything when I’m out of my office. I learned a long time ago, that I don’t do well with recalling facts that residents ask or tell me unless they are written down and I’ve referred to it. The next thing that I do is to respond quickly to what is being asked of me. If someone wants me to pass information out to the community, I try to add it to the next announcements page that will be going out to the community, or add it to my in-house TV channel. If time does not allow for immediate action, I write it down on my calendar as a task to be done on the date that it needs to be taken care of.

If I were to lose my calendar book, I’d be lost!  I’d love to integrate it onto the computer, but at this point I don’t think my company has a program that would allow me to have all of it at my fingertips when I’m not at my desk. I get a lot of work completed on  a bus ride or while at the casino waiting to escort the group home.

Popular posts from this blog

Brain Games

Recently we hosted our senior Olympics program. This year we added a new event called Brain Games. I found a really good link for brain games that you should look at to understand the definition.
After looking at that link and reading through some other online material, I realized that there is a difference between training your brain and brain games. Be mindful (pun intended) that you are not qualified to train resident's brains unless you have gone to training for it. We, as activities professionals however, are very capable of playing brain games with those who are interested in our communities.
Recently, I introduced Scattergories, Apples to Apples,Wii Jeopardy,Wii Wheel of Fortune and a Name that Tune type of game.  They are fun games that required your brain, so I thought that they were Brain Games. This last game, Name that Tune, I created on my own since I could not find anything that would have been appropriate for this generation to identify with. I downloaded music from t…

Veterans Day Service

In our retirement community, Veterans Day is a very special event. This holiday honors the living veterans who served and are serving our great country. In our independent living community, we have Veterans from WWII, the Koren War and Vietnam War. Veterans Day is always celebrated on November 11 at 11:00 a.m.  (I think really it is suppose to be 11:11 am, but that might look funny on your calendar.)
Our program usually involves a few key elements. The first is that we ask the men in the community to make sure that we have the service stats so that we can announce their branch and length of service. This information may be printed on the day's program, used as part of a slide show or shared by the speaker leading the program.  We like to give our veterans a chance to stand out on this day. We ask them to gather together and proceed into the auditorium to sit in a reserved section for them. Sometimes I order a boutonniere or corsage for them to wear into the service, or give them a…

Not-So-Newlywed Game

One of the fun evenings in our community is when I host the Not-so-Newlywed Game. I’ve done this a few times and the residents really enjoy getting to know some of our couples better. It is not a program that I do every year. I like to mix it in to the calendar so that it stays fresh. I also have it based on when there are enough fun and interesting couples to participate. It is very important that those who are participating are quick witted, up-beat people, who the community knows and likes. The residents remember the real Newlywed Game with Bob Eubanks, so I make sure to speak to the couples independently and assure them that the questions will not be anything inappropriate. I explain to them that I do realize that unlike a cruise ship, that I know that they have to see the people in the audience for the rest of their lives and that I would not embarrass them.

I find that having four or five couples is perfect in order to make the program move along and stay within the one hour ti…