It’s difficult for employees to get organized at the office or even at home, when the workplace is so demanding. You are given so many projects and have deadlines for everything, making it hard to be able to take a step back and come up with the right system for getting things done. If you don’t get organized, you will end up forgetting about things and it will end up making you look badly. Being able to prioritize work and manage projects are keys to success.
Here are five tips on how to get better organized:
1. Clean up your desk area.
If your desk is messy, it will distract you from your work and reflect poorly on you at the same time. If you don’t organize your desk area, you might lose your mind trying to find something when you need it. Take the piles of reports, presentations and white papers and organize them using a binder with dividers. You should keep the most critical items and information and throw away everything you don’t need any more. For example, if you know that you’ll never have to refer to a document again, toss it. Otherwise, it’s just wasting space on your desk when there’s no need for it. You should also throw away duplicate information and any other materials that you know will soon be outdated and leave room for new documents that you know you will be receiving soon.
2. Don’t multitask.
Instead of trying to do multiple projects at once, focus on a single task and manage time instead. I see people all the time, myself included, who will talk on the phone while responding to emails and putting a presentation together. You end up driving yourself crazy and not putting your best foot forward. Make a list of the tasks you need completed and take care of the most important ones, with the nearest deadline, first. Put one hundred percent of your energy into each task and avoid everything else so when you take on the next task, you already have a sense of accomplishment.
3. Don’t procrastinate.
A lot of people waste time with distractions. You will see people at work open up Facebook and message their friends to avoid doing work and it gets you nowhere fast. Another distraction a lot of people have is playing music in the background. As much as you might think it helps you, it doesn’t at all. A lot of workers put off decisions too. You should set time limits for your decision making so you don’t get too stressed and let your intuition take over. Identify the most important factor to consider in making the decision so you focus on that. If you work from home, consider using a co-working space in your area to eliminate distractions as much as possible.
4. Ask for help.
If you need help getting organized, get your co-workers to help you out. They might be better organized than you and can give you pointers. You can also see how they arrange their desk or how they prioritize work and then mimic that. Take feedback from them as to how you’re doing and what you can improve. How others perceive your organization is very important because management will also eventually notice it and that may not be good for your career.
5. Use a daily planner.
You may also want to consider writing important tasks and deadlines down in a daily planner. This way, you’ll remember all the important information so that you can set goals to accomplish them systematically in a certain time period. Limit yourself to one calendar to help you get better organized, as using multiple calendars can become a source of confusion and miscommunications. Another great part about using a planner is that it can help show your manager that you are on top of everything and are taking the time and effort to make sure everything you’re responsible for gets done in a timely manner.