Whether you’re starting a new job or you’ve been with the same company for years, keeping your work organized can be a difficult task, especially when working fully or partially remote. Additionally, when work gets busy, sometimes organization comes second to simply getting through the day. However, taking a few minutes in your day to get organized can save you a lot more time—and stress—down the road.
If you’re trying to become more organized at work, consider the following strategies:
Clear your mind with a clean workspace
While there are many factors to consider when getting organized at work, a clean workspace is arguably the most important. When you’re trying to focus on your goals for the day, struggling to find a pen or getting distracted by a messy stack of papers hurts your productivity.
In order to help keep a tidy space, consider setting some time aside at the end of each day to organize your environment. In doing so, you can start your next day with a clean slate, and can put your full attention into your work for the day.
Stop saving everything to your desktop
In addition to a clear desk, a clear desktop is critical. When it comes to saving files on your computer, be sure that you’re taking an organized approach. Whether you’re creating folders based on project or time period, ensure you come up with a system you can stick to. In addition to that, ensure that you’re strategically naming your files—because you’re unlikely to find “download82f53673z.pdf” ever again.
If you need to move files over to a corporate cloud account or server, be sure you are regularly setting time aside to do so—this way, if needed, your documents can be easily accessed by other team members.
Organize those emails
Are you seeing a trend? Clutter can not only be distracting, but it can unknowingly add stress to your day. There are two types of email people: those with an inbox of zero, and those with an inbox of 30,000. While you may have saved a minute by not deleting or sorting your emails, you’re adding minutes to your day when you can’t find what you’re looking for.
To help with organization, consider setting up different folders within your inbox. Additionally, to save time, you can set up specific rules to automatically move emails into those folders for you.
Create a morning routine
When you aren’t commuting to an office every day, a morning routine may seem hard to stick to. However, having a routine in place can help you get and stay focused.
A typical morning routine could include waking up at the same time every day, making sure you’re getting dressed, eating breakfast, sorting through your emails, and reviewing your meetings and immediate to-do lists. This routine may differ depending on your job, but starting your day organized will keep you on track for success.
Learn to prioritize—not procrastinate
Having a large to-do list can at times be overwhelming. To effectively prioritize your work, take it one step at a time. If you’re feeling anxious, break your tasks down into smaller items. Or, if you’re working on a big project, map it out over a longer period so that each day’s tasks are more digestible.
When it comes to the difficult tasks on your list, avoid procrastinating. Studies show that tackling these items first can actually help manage stress and increase productivity.
Keep in mind that while you’re wondering how to get more organized at work, there are several technology solutions that have answered that question for you! From chat apps like Slack to project management platforms like Trello and even time tracker tools like Toggl—technology today can do a lot of the organizing for you. Be sure to take advantage of tools like this that can do the heavy lifting in keeping you organized at work.
Make it a habit
Once you learn how to get organized at work, the trick is to stay organized. By developing positive habits and routines, you’re more likely to stay on track. It simply takes discipline to continue to follow the new habits you’ve established and keep developing new strategies to stay organized. Simply spend a few minutes a day ensuring that you’re still applying these organizational strategies to your work. And if you slip up, don’t worry—you can start over tomorrow.