Organizational Skills For Work And Home!
9 out of 10 workers waste tremendous amounts of time at work.
But most of them don’t realize that when you waste time because of poor organizational skills, you are wasting your OWN time as well!
Taking a little bit of time to set things in order will save you exponential amounts of time down the road. So let’s take some time now to review top tips for organizing your work (and personal) life to make the most of your time!
Zen Desk, Zen Mind
Your desk, or workspace, is a reflection of your mental state at work. Moreso, a messy space can continue to affect your mental state in a negative cycle.
Organizing your time and work schedule starts with organizing the easiest aspect to control: the physical. It’s not just about cleaning up; consider your workflow, and arrange your desk in a way that makes sense for how you work. If you work at a computer for long periods of time, arranging your programs and shortcuts neatly is another way to make what you need most accessible and cuts down on the steps to get started, making you more productive.
They say a master has only a few tools in their workshop, but very many of the ones they need. Try getting rid of less practical items, and prioritize space for what you use most often. Use inboxes and outboxes for documents, and arrange books and manuals in a logical order.
Be sure to also make cleaning up part of your routine. At the end of each day, while it may be tempting to punch out and head out straight away, straightening up your workspace will make the next day easier to begin, and you’ll feel fresher and readier to jump right in!
Make A To-Do For Today
Planning your time well in advance is great, but each day you should set your tasks into bite-sized pieces and make strong decisions about what to do and in what order. The best way to do so is to make a totem pole of responsibilities; a to-do list for the day.
Not only will it help you organize your time, but the simple act of writing it down gets your brain to start working. Dividing tasks into manageable chunks also has the added psychological effect of preventing stress-related procrastination.
Tip: many people prefer to deal with the smaller tasks which have a predictable amount of time required. It starts the ball-rolling, and the sense of accomplishment keeps you motivated as you move into more difficult projects.
A bit of planning goes a LONG way.
Clear Your Inbox
Just like the documents on your desk, removing the clutter from your inbox will make things so much smoother during your daily work.
Be ruthless; delete what you don’t need, and only keep any actionable or important items at the forefront. Junk the junk mail, and take time to unsubscribe from annoying newsletters that only distract you from what matters most.
Another expert technique for keeping your inbox clean is to use labels and folders to separate your correspondence appropriately. There may be certain items which you need to keep, but don’t need to interact with unless there’s a special circumstance, like progress reports that you only reference when something goes wrong. Applying filters to direct these to folders automatically prevents you from needing to sift through the fluff every single day. Plus, it makes grouping related conversations (say, all emails from a certain customer) that much easier.
And if you feel you can’t discard anything, but you’re running out of space, set up an automatic local archive on your computer. Your email client will take old items off the server and save them to your hard drive, so you can always get them back when you need them.
Work smart, not hard.
If you’ve thought of an office shortcut that could greatly reduce your manual involvement in the day-to-day, I guarantee you someone else has thought of before and explained how to do it online. If not, the tools and tricks are there for you to build it yourself.
This can be keyboard shortcuts in excel, file converters, project planning boards for teams, you name it! It’s not lazy to take advantage of tools that improve your workflow. In fact, one might say it’s lazy not to.
Just like your desk though, don’t clutter your process with too many disparate and complicated pieces of tech that may convolute the process in the end. Seek to strike the right balance so you can stay cutting edge, not stressed and on edge.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!
So you’re on a team, and want to take on as much as you can to save others the trouble. But you’re going about it all wrong — you have to help yourself before you help others!
What you need to do is the same thing that every great leader has done in the history of mankind: delegate. Learn what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, or for someone to take something off your plate when they are the best person for the job.
Not only will delegating free up your schedule and prevent burnout, it will prove to your bosses that you have one of the most important leadership skills when it comes time for a promotion.
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, or even a freelancer, making these doctrines part of your daily habits (or your team’s) will keep your productivity up while making it feel like a breeze!
And with so much freed up time, who knows what new great things you could accomplish?