Staying organized at work can improve productivity and reduce stress. Here are some of the best ways to stay organized at work.
1. Organize Your Office
Getting organized at work starts with your physical space. Whether you have an office, a cubicle or just a desk, keeping your workspace neat will help you stay organized and increase your efficiency. The key is to only store supplies, items and files you use frequently within reach. Things you only need occasionally can be kept in a closet, file drawer or other space where you may have to walk to get them.
What you want to keep visible are the essential items. Other things should be stored out of sight. Too much clutter on your desk or in your immediate workspace will distract you. Whenever possible, keep things near where you might use them to cut down on the amount of time needed to retrieve them. It will also be convenient to put these items away immediately after you finish using them if their proper place is nearby.
2. Develop a Routine
Part of staying organized at work is arranging your time and establishing a routine to get the maximum benefit out of your workday. In addition to the major tasks on your project list, there are several activities you perform each day, like answering the phone and checking email. Developing a routine can help automate the mundane tasks, so they do not distract your energy from major projects.
You will need both a daily and weekly routine to keep yourself organized at work. Your daily routine may include a mid-morning coffee break to rest your mind or transition to a new task. Bathroom breaks can be scheduled too if you like, and they provide a regular opportunity to get up and stretch your legs.
A weekly routine might include completing your expense report every Friday or updating client notes on Tuesdays. By scheduling the mundane tasks for the same time every week, you will get in the habit of completing them rather than putting them off. Weekly expense reports are much easier to compile at the time rather than waiting until the end of the month, and then trying to find the time to get them done.
3. Stick to Your Schedule
Whether you work in an office with other people or remotely, it is easy for distractions to cut into your productivity. To stay organized, it is important to create a schedule and stick to it. Do not let interruptions keep you from completing the work on your schedule each day.
It can be hard to stick to your schedule, especially when other people are involved. It requires setting boundaries for yourself and your work. You may have to politely put off responding to your co-workers until you reach a stopping point in your day. You will definitely have to be realistic about the deadlines you set for yourself and the ones you accept from other people.
4. Prioritize Your Tasks
The most efficient way to work is to complete the tasks that require the most energy early in the day. You will notice that your efficiency is subject to the law of diminishing returns. The amount of time it takes to complete a task increases as the day goes on. Most people are at peak efficiency early in the day, and it diminishes from there.
Do the hard stuff in the morning. Those projects you dread should be tackled when you are most likely to be successful. The earlier you get to work on the hard stuff, the faster you will complete those tasks. With the hard work out of the way, you can plod through the rest of your day with a little less stress.
5. Value Your Time
When you waste time doing someone else’s job or worrying about aspects of your job you cannot control, you cannot get that time back. If you are stressed out because you took on too many projects or have to work late every day to get everything finished, you are not placing enough value on your time.
When you value your time, other people will also. If someone asks you for help on something outside of your responsibilities, let them know you are happy to assist, but you can only devote a certain amount of time. You may need to make it clear that you need some time to finish what you are doing before you can get involved in a new project.
Staying organized at work is your responsibility to yourself, your boss and your co-workers. You do your best work when your workspace is neat and well organized, and when your time is carefully managed.