When you’re at work, do you feel like you’re getting things done, or just spinning your wheels? If you frequently misplace items or information, find yourself facing deadlines that come out of nowhere, or simply can’t ever find a pen when you need one, it’s probably time to you read through these organization tips for work!
Having an orderly work space is one of the most important keys to productivity. These organization tips for work will help you clean up, stay focused, and get more done in less time.
1. Fix that Disastrous Desk
When’s the last time you saw the top of your desk? A cluttered desk creates a cluttered mind — you’re not only unable to find anything, but part of your mind is always occupied with the idea that you really should clean things up so you can.
The best way to clean your desk and keep it clean is to first take a little time to figure out what needs to be there, and what can be stored. Be honest: there are some things you really don’t need on your desk. Figure out what things you actually use on a regular, daily basis and keep them within reach (but not necessarily on the surface of your desk), and then store the rest.
Cleaning your desk is the king of organization tips for work — once you accomplish this, everything else falls into place.
2. Cull your Clutter
When it comes to organization tips for work, this one often presents the biggest challenge. Chances are you’ve got clutter piled up in more places than you know within your work-space — not just on your desk, but in drawers and file cabinets and storage spaces.
A lot of people struggle needlessly with what to keep and what to throw away, but it’s not too hard if you think about it. Do you really need hard copies of every annual report going back ten years? Unless it’s company policy to keep printed back files of everything, those old documents should be the first things to go. If you truly think you might need them, scan and save the important stuff on your computer, and then start tossing or shredding.
To keep your paper dragons tamed, adopt the ‘one-touch’ file system going forward. This means you decide immediately where a piece of paper belongs the first time you touch it: act on it, file it, or trash it. Don’t put it in a ‘to-do’ pile for later, because you’ll never get to that pile.
3. Untangle your Virtual Desk
Is your work computer screen littered with so many icons, you can’t even remember what your desktop background looks like? Just like with your physical desk, a cluttered computer desktop messes with your mind and slows you down. This task is often skipped when it comes to organization tips for work, but it’s an important one.
Once again, you should take a little time to figure out what you really need on your virtual desktop, and what you can move elsewhere. Remove shortcut icons for everything but the programs you actually use regularly, and use a system of nested folders to store documents rather than tossing everything straight onto the desktop.
Another quick tip: Place your icons from left to right across the screen, rather than down the side. It’s the natural way we read, so this type of organization makes it easier to find what you’re looking for quickly.
4. Break the Multitasking Habit
Now that your work-space is ready to help you be productive, it’s time to change the way you work. Some organization tips for work recommend multitasking as a method for getting more done in your day, but more experts are now stating that working on several tasks at once actually has the opposite effect you’re going for.
The idea that you’ll get more done by doing fewer things may seem counter-intuitive, but several studies have found that it’s true. Switching between various tasks without completing them acts to slow your thought processes and interfere with judgment — not to mention the added stress of trying to do too much at once, which robs you of your concentration. In fact, at least one study found that recovering your work flow from even trivial interruptions can take an average of 26 minutes.
Focusing on a single task at a time helps you get through things much faster, which in turn gets more things finished in your workday.
5. Scrap those Giant to-do Lists
To-do lists are a staple of organization tips for work. If you have a list, and you’re checking things off, obviously you’re getting things done — right? Actually, the answer is not so much. To-do lists are tricky. They can make you believe you’re being productive, but if you’re not focused on the essential tasks, you may be just wasting time while you get no closer to accomplishing the things you really need done.
Instead of cultivating a monster to-do list with a bunch of tasks you never seem to get to, start each day with a quick brainstorming session and decide what truly needs to be accomplished that day. Keep all non-essential tasks off the list — if you have time, you can tackle those at the end of the day.
To help make sure you get big projects done (the ones you usually skip over on your to-do list because you don’t want to face that huge time investment just yet), break down larger tasks into milestones, and place only the milestones on your list. You’ll be finished with those enormous jobs before you know you’re working on them.
6. Get Smart about Technology
It’s the age of the smartphone. Is your technology really working for you? Any modern list of organization tips for work should include getting your tech to take care of things for you, so you can focus on your job.
Most smartphones have the capabilities to store your phone numbers, passwords, address book, calendar, to-do lists, and other important information all in one place. You can also set your phone to remind you about things like deadlines and meetings, so you can put those looming tasks out of your mind until it’s time to tackle them. If you’re not really into relying on your phone, there are desktop programs that can do the same things.
7. Turn off (non-essential) Notifications
As helpful as your smartphone or desktop computer can be with organization tips for work, your electronics can also be a powerful distraction. Plenty of people find themselves checking Facebook, responding to personal messages, or watching cat video at work, until they finally realize they haven’t gotten anything done and it’s almost lunch time.
Besides the time-sucking rabbit hole they can send you down, non-work notifications also break up your focus — even if you don’t respond to them. One study found that just receiving a notification is just as distracting as stopping to deal with one. So when you’re at work, turn those phone notifications off.
8. Embrace Taking Breaks
Some organization tips for work may seem counterproductive, like this one. But the fact is, in order to get work done, sometimes you need to stop working. Even if you’re facing a mountain of work, the old lunch-at-your-desk routine won’t get things done any faster — and will actually slow things down.
Your mind needs time to recharge. Walking away from your work for a while allows you to relax and think clearly, so when you return to your desk you’ll be ready to start blazing through your work again. In addition to your lunch break, it’s probably a good idea to get up and walk around a few times a day rather than sitting at your desk for hours on end.
Ready to get productive? Follow these organization tips for work, and you’ll find yourself getting to the bottom of your work pile in record time.