Learn to work with structure in your career

Being organised provides structure and structure will help you set boundaries.

Even an informal meeting with a colleague or with your manager requires a certain structure so that nothing is left out by accident. A simple agenda will fit this structure:

  • When does the meeting start?
  • How long will the meeting be?
  • What are the discussion points?

Ask the above questions the next time someone calls you for a chat. If you are good at creating small structures in your daily life, you will be perceived as an organised person. If you never show any structure and suddenly set clear boundaries, the people around you will understand you even less. 

Let’s say that you are working on something important, and a colleague comes over to chat. Your colleague has something on his mind, and he starts talking away. You might feel that you can’t just turn him away, but that you must also set a limit.

Some of the things you can say in this situation are: How can I help you with this and how long do you estimate it would take. Now you have created a structured space surrounding the discussion and at the same time, you have also set a time limit for this discussion. 

Do you have a manager who likes to come over for a chat? Sometimes this could be too often and too much and interfere with your day. When this happens, you can suggest that you have this conversation in a different way. Suggest something like “how about 20 minutes of catching up every Monday and Wednesday at 10 am?” or perhaps every Monday when he is on his way home from work in that car or train? This is a more efficient way of managing your time.