How to stay organized at work
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Organisation is a component of productivity, a cluttered mind promotes poor focus and performance can suffer as a result. When your brain, time and work-space are organised, it becomes easier to streamline both your actions and thoughts.
Organize your Brain
Get enough sleep
A sleepless night is mentally and physically draining, mental acuity diminishes with every hour of sleep lost. We should aim for around seven hours of sleep per night and if required have power naps during the day to re-energize by the end of the working day.
Do not multitask if possible
Switching between two or more tasks clouds your judgement and slows down the brain function. In some cases it can release the stress hormone Cortisol, which can impact your ability to concentrate and make decisions.
Breaks are very important for the brain to daydream, it's during these periods that the brain is at it's most creative and this gives a much needed productivity boost. Most creative companies tend to have a more relaxed environment, more thought is given to the building and office design to suit the employees and enable them to thrive. A company with their employees at the heart of everything they do is a company that looks at the long term productivity.
Organize your Time
When goals are set there is an immediate focus and a timeline, your energy is now being used productively and a task list is forming in order to reach those goals. Time management and a priority rank become key components in reaching your goals and milestones.
Determine what is Priority
Once the goals and milestones are established, high and low priorities become key indicators to find the most effective and productive method of reaching those goals and moving things forward.
Create a Daily Task List
A daily task list is the best way to manage tasks, time and priority in one. The task list makes you accountable against time and makes the milestone a reality, hence the goal more achievable. The overall outcome from the task list promotes realistic goals, good organization, better working habits and a sense of achievement. It is good practice to take 45 minutes to an hour out of your daily schedule to look at the future planning of tasks and the business, this is a very effective check on progress and achievement.
Organize your Work-space
Have everything you need within reach
Look at your work-space, mentally make an inventory of what you use daily. The non-daily items should be cleared from your work-space. The idea is, a tidy work-space promotes a clear and uncluttered mind. An organized work-space becomes functional and productive, plus you can now find what you were looking for last week for that important meeting.
Action it, File it, or Trash it
Paperwork can soon mount up if not processed, or done correctly. A filing system based on the one-touch method would process any paperwork efficiently. Create a different file for each client and project so when a file comes across your desk action it, file it or trash it. Once the project is complete check the files for non-essential paperwork and discard accordingly.
Organize your Virtual Work-space
Emails and documents, use the same rules that apply to paperwork for emails and documents i.e. Action it, File it, or Trash it using the one-touch system. Another consideration is time spent checking emails, which should be limited to two or three times per day to prevent time slipping away.
Organize your Projects
Throw out your to-do list
The to-do list gives an impression of being organised and productive. Whilst having a list on paper seems organised, the to-do list is generally full of non-essential tasks and takes away the focus of prioritization. Instead create a success list which is stripped down and purpose-driven.
Map out Milestones
When you start on a project or inherit a project the first task is to work backwards from the end point to create milestones. This will give your project vision and priority in the short and long term. Once the milestones have been created the project tasks, resources and duration will give a time map to work towards and enable adjustments over time to reach your goal.