You know the type. You walk into their office and it looks like a small hurricane was in charge of organization.
For whatever reason, these individuals put off organization with the quip, “I know where everything is. Every time I commit to getting organized, I can’t find things.”
Not only does this “type” not see the mess in front of them, they boast about the virtues of disorganization!
Reason dictates that those who refuse to get organized cannot be as efficient (and therefore productive) as those who simply get organized and stay organized.
Beyond efficiency, the strain of disorganization likely adds to a sense of mental disorganization.
Are you organized, unorganized, or somewhere in the middle? For those looking to get physically and mentally organized, here are a few tips.
Six Small Steps to Help You Get Organized at Work
Begin Each Day with Consistent Ramp-Up Tasks
Scan your overnight emails and perform triage. Reply quickly to emails that need it, either because they are time sensitive or required for others to continue to work. Schedule larger email items and delete informational or unimportant messages. This activity prepares you for your day and provides an immediate sense of accomplishment.
Don’t Wait to Clean Up Your Desk
Organization is best done incrementally versus all at one time, when you spend hours purging and filing. If you set aside time each day to clean your desk, it should only take five minutes. Another benefit of daily cleaning is the pleasure you have each morning when you arrive to find an organized desk.
Get Yourself a Physical Inbox
Since most office paperwork is digital, many people no longer have a physical inbox. The problem is paper still exists, and it still ends up on your desk. It only takes a few pieces of paper a week to start piling up on your desk. An inbox solves this problem. It is a place for paper to remain until you have the opportunity to review it.
Focus on a single task instead of multiple tasks. Science has shown that when you attempt to multitask it slows you down and increases mistakes. Create a to-do list of tasks that need completion, and start with the most important ones. Put all your energy into completing this task before moving on to the next.
Turn Your Ding Off
It just takes one ding and suddenly the task you have been concentrating on is interrupted. Once you check your phone, you try to get back in the groove. However, you’re left with a residual feeling of mental disorganization.
There are many types of technological tools, such as inexpensive software organizers, which you can access on your computer or phone. Many send “ticklers”, or reminders, of approaching deadlines and meetings. You should think of these organizers as digital sticky notes.
Systems, Routines, and Willpower
Getting organized both mentally and physically in the workplace boils down to three essential concepts. The first is having a system. Disorganization often flows from the lack of a system. Without a system, not everything has a pre-ordained place to be stored—without organized storage, all types of emails, papers, and files never find a home.
Routine is another requirement to get organized. A routine ensures that each day, week, and month you take consistent steps to rid yourself of mental and physical clutter.
Lastly, it takes will—the will to make organization one of your assets.