how to get organized at work | Pinnacle Promotions

How to keep your work life organized (9 simple tips)

For many, trying to figure out how to get organized at work can be a real struggle. Sticky notes multiply and pile up on your desk and your email inbox is flooded with unread messages faster than you can answer them. When we are only focusing our energy on the most important tasks at hand then other areas can become less tidy.

Organization is often directly related to productivity. When things are cluttered, attention and performance at work can suffer. But when your thoughts, time, and workspace are organized, your day-to-day tasks become easier to accomplish and more streamlined.

Ready to increase productivity at work? Here are 9 helpful tips to get your work life organized.

Organize your thoughts

1. Get enough Zzz’s

Everyone knows that the amount of sleep you get at night goes hand-in-hand with productivity during the day. Sleep deprivation can cause diminished mental sharpness, a sluggish demeanor, and a bad attitude. Obviously, these characteristics are not good to bring into the workplace. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the age of 26 – 64 need 7 – 9 hours of sleep. Most of our brain functions related to focusing or productivity are fueled by energy that we get from sleeping so instead of avoiding bedtime, make sleep a priority.

2. Focus on the task at hand

We are constantly overloaded with multiple tasks to accomplish each day but going from one task to the other is not an efficient way to get work completed. Jumping from task to task can cloud our thoughts and slow down the brain process. I know everyone feels like a superhero when they are doing three things at once and still somehow manage to do everything correctly. In fact, though, it can release a stress hormone in the brain, which can impact the decisions being made. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, "Every time you multitask you aren't just harming your performance in the moment; you may very well be damaging an area of your brain that's critical to your future success at work." Yikes.

3. Take Breaks

Yes, that’s right! Taking breaks actually helps to boost your work performance. These breaks allow your mind to rest and daydream, which can lead to creativity! According to Psychology Today – below are a list of breaks that can be effective during the workday:

  • Meditation helps you detach from work thoughts by clearing your mind and focusing on relaxation.
  • Physical activity helps you increase blood flow to areas in the brain that are necessary for focus and attention.
  • Learning something new or playing a game will help you feel confident and boost motivation.
  • Helping out a colleague will help you feel a sense of social connectedness, which should feel comforting and positive.
  • Setting a new goal and thinking about the future will help you see the bigger picture and re-evaluate life in a positive way.

Organize your time

4. Short-term goals vs. long-term goals

Goals are set to determine what we should focus our energy on. Short-term goals can be defined as goals that you want to achieve in the near future — which can mean today, this week, this month or even this year. Long-term goals are generally set for more than a year away. When setting your goals, choose what is most important right now. Focus mainly on that goal and add additional goals as you become comfortable with your efforts. By setting goals, you create a long-term vision of what you want accomplished and short-term steps to keep you motivated to get there. This can be applied to any aspect of your life — career goals, family goals, exercise goals, etc. Remember, being flexible is important as changes to your life can affect your overall goals.

5. Prioritize

Once the goals are identified then the list of priorities will become obvious. Prioritization is an important step in getting organized – it sets the most important tasks and gives that particular task proper attention, time and energy. This can help you plan your day and is a good way to ensure that you meet deadlines and minimize stress.

6. Schedule your time

Another early morning start to the day and late night at work but you still don’t feel like you have accomplished anything. That is probably because when you get to work you realize you have back-to-back meetings, urgent last-minute requests, and the inevitable distractions. Scheduling your time effectively can been seen as the art of planning activities so that you can achieve your tasks in the time you have available. And an important part of this art is the planning itself.

Set a regular time to do your scheduling – at the start of every week, for example. There are a number of different tools to choose from. A simple and easy way to keep a schedule is to use a pen and paper, organizing your time using a weekly planner, or you can use software such as Google Calendar. From there, square away time for every task you want to complete. This creates deadlines and puts time limits to tasks, making it an automatic time organizer.

Organize your workspace

7. Organize your emails

For many jobs, the computer screen is its own workspace. You want to organize emails like you would paper by create a filing system that makes sense to you. For example, label action emails as TO DO and keep them in your inbox, or you can flag the email to mark that it is a priority or time sensitive. Additionally, you want to keep your email folder organized so you are able to locate past emails easily. This may seem like overkill, but it's often helpful to mark time on the calendar to check your e-mail so you are not constantly bombarded with emails that might not be relevant to your tasks for the day.

8. Organize your paperwork and notes

Sticky notes and scratch paper are almost irrelevant these days due to the different types of technology we have at our fingertips. Notes can be now be typed out on your phone, computer, iPad, etc. Whether you prefer the classic pen and paper or the technology-driven way, make sure you have a filing system. Make different files for each project or client, and when a document comes across your desk either act on it, trash it or file it away. Once the project is complete go back through the file and get rid of anything that isn’t essential.

9. Have essentials within reach

You want to set up your desk in a way that items you use on a regular basis are nearby. Keeping the items at your desk or on your computer will maximize productivity and make organization easier. This can be anything from important documents bookmarked on software you use daily or even a notepad and favorite pen. Once you have a good feeling about your personal setup then you will see how much efficiently you are able to work.

Keeping your work life organized is not only helpful to you but it also beneficial to your customers, co-workers and boss. An organized work space implies competence and dedication which promotes strong work ethic. Following these key organization tips will reduce stress, save you time, and communicate professionalism.

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