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. 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—later on.
When you’re wondering how to get organized at work, consider the following strategies:
Clean desk, clear mind
While getting organized at work is a lot more than just a clean desk, it is arguably the most important. When you’re trying to focus on the task at hand, struggling to find a pen or getting distracted by a messy stack of papers doesn’t help your productivity. In keeping your workspace clean, it’s one less thing to worry about so you can put your full attention into your work.
Stop saving everything to your desktop
In addition to a clear desk, a clear desktop is equally critical. When it comes to saving files on your computer, be sure that you’re taking an organized approach. Whether you create folders based on project or time period, come up with a system that you can stick to. In addition to that, ensure that you’re naming your files to easily find them later—because you’re unlikely to find download82f53673z.pdf ever again.
Delete those emails
Are you seeing a trend? Clutter can not only be distracting, but it can unknowingly add stress to your day and take up time when you can’t find what you need. 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 any emails, you’re adding minutes to your day when you can’t find the email chain you’re looking for. By taking 30 seconds every morning to delete unnecessary emails, you can then turn your focus to emails that require your attention.
Create a morning routine
Getting organized at work means being organized from the moment you walk into the office. To start your day on the right note, having a routine in place for your morning can help you get focused and decide what needs your attention first. This could include grabbing your coffee, checking your email, looking at your meetings for the day, and reviewing your to-do list. This routine may differ depending on your job, but starting your day organized will keep you on track for the rest of the day.
Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that such a routine starts before you get into the office. Not only should you make an effort to arrive to work on time (or even early), but this also includes taking the steps to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Learn to prioritize—not procrastinate
It can often be overwhelming to think about all the work that needs to get done and wonder where to start. To effectively prioritize your work, the key is to take it one step at a time. If you feel overwhelmed, break it down into smaller items—and start with the next action you need to take. Or, if you’re planning a big project, map it out over a longer period so that each day’s tasks are more digestible.
Additionally, it’s important to avoid procrastinating when it comes to the difficult tasks on your to-do list. Studies show that tackling these items first can help manage stress and increase productivity.
Keep in mind that while you’re wondering how to get 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.
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. However, there is no magic spell to stay organized; it simply takes discipline to continue to follow the new habits you’ve established and keep developing new strategies to stay organized. As a result, 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.