How to be Organized at Work (With 9 Steps and Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 5, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Staying organized while working can help you be more efficient and improve your communication. There are many specific strategies you can use to improve your organizational skills, both physically and digitally. Understanding how to organize yourself and your workspace can help you prioritize your time better at work and improve your productivity levels. In this article, we outline nine steps for keeping organized at work and offer example situations to show how you can organize yourself in the office and while working remotely.
How to be organized at work
Understanding how to be organized at work can improve both the quality of your work and your personal life. Keeping yourself and your workplace organized is important, as it can reduce clutter, ensure the safety of vital corporate information, and help you avoid distractions or interruptions that can affect your productivity at work. The following nine steps for how to be organized at work can help keep you on track:
1. Focus on your goals
It's important that you review and revise your long- and short-term goals. To help yourself meet your daily task requirements, you may arrange your work duties in order of priority. You can find a strategy that works best for you to keep track of important deadlines and dates, whether that be a daily planner you keep open on your desk or software that lets you set daily reminders. Your strategies may be different from others', so focus on the ones that work best for you.
Along with keeping your work tasks and goals in mind, it's important to remind yourself of the reasons that you go to work. Surrounding yourself with pictures of friends, family, and pets can make your space feel more personal. Keeping yourself motivated and positive can be one of the most effective ways to remain focused and goal-oriented at work.
2. Keep track of important tasks, dates, and to-do lists
At the beginning of the month and for each week, you can put together a to-do list of important tasks and dates. There are a variety of systems that you can use to keep track of different task categories, including by colour-coding them with sticky notes or different coloured highlighters, so you can find the one that works best for you.
You may use a daily planner, wall calendar, or app to set yourself timed reminders to make sure that you're accomplishing tasks on time, while also giving yourself ample time and opportunity to complete them to the best of your ability. It may also help to review your priorities on a regular basis, as they can change according to your plans or shifts in the industry. Ensure your to-do list includes achievable tasks.
3. Focus on time management
Properly managing your time at work can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently and create less stress. You can schedule more challenging work for a time when your energy level may be at its highest and save your simpler work duties for later. It's also important to schedule enough breaks for yourself so that you can maintain your concentration throughout the day and give yourself a chance to recuperate when needed.
You can overcome procrastination by focusing on the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing the task. It's important to find the best method for managing your time and energy at work, such as setting specific time periods when you may work on a task or using apps to shut out potential distractions. If you commute into an office, you may use your commute time to plan your day. Remote workers can set aside time before starting their workday to decide on daily priorities.
Related: How to Prioritize Work Tasks
4. Make use of calendars and planners
It's important to keep a calendar for both personal and professional use. Both paper and digital calendars allow you to keep track of deadlines and important professional and personal dates. Your work calendar can be most useful if you review it daily and keep it up-to-date so that you can adjust your activities if needed to avoid any potential conflicts.
To ensure that you always remember tasks and commitments, you can write them down or record them in your phone with a scheduled reminder. It's important to make use of physical calendars, planners, and calendar software or phone apps to help you keep track of important deadlines and plan out long-term work projects. You can also schedule some time for yourself and for any personally important dates and occasions.
5. Delegate tasks
When a task is not within your area of expertise or may be inappropriate for you to spend your time on, you can often delegate it to someone else. This is typically a key factor in maintaining productive workflow in an organization. Delegation can help keep your team members focused on the company's larger goals rather than on their own specific projects. It's important to provide both adequate training and sufficient feedback on any projects that you choose to assign to others.
6. Manage your mail, emails, and calls
It's important to sort any incoming mail and email into different categories that are organized by their priority or action needed. You can also flag any emails in your inbox with priority flags to keep them organized, and remember to note any important deadlines in your calendar so that you do not forget them.
You can keep physical mail organized by making use of trays, filing cabinets, and other storage containers. For example, you can sort mail by type, priority, or task, such as bills, invoices, or employee reviews. You can use your voice mail to screen phone calls whenever you're waiting for an important response, such as a call from a client, supervisor, or coworker. Email is an excellent tool for keeping track of conversations that you may not want to respond to immediately.
7. Minimize clutter and clear your workspace
It's important to maintain a clean workspace to maximize your productivity and minimize your stress level. It's important to clean up your workspace before you start your day, and to only keep critical items and documentation on your work desk. Rotating these out for other documents as needed can help you stay organized.
You can use a filing system to archive any resource materials that you have, while eliminating any duplicate files or documents along with anything that may soon become outdated. When creating storage space, it's important to leave empty spaces to accommodate any potential future growth. You can also keep your digital workspace as clean and organized as your physical workspace. If all of your applications are easily accessible and clearly labelled on your home screen, this can remove another barrier to productivity and help you reduce workplace stress.
8. Stay physically organized
A physical filing stem can help you keep your paper files organized by priority and allow you to keep those of vital importance within easy reach. It's important to give every file a detailed label that covers everything it contains, as the point of this system is to see where you have stored any specific file quickly.
At the end of your workday, you may spend time making sure that your desk is clear and organized, and that you have set aside any documents you may need tomorrow. Before you start your next workday, you can take a few minutes to ensure that you've arranged everything needed for the day and to take some deep, relaxing breaths.
9. Stay digitally organized
It's important to keep your digital files as organized as your physical ones. Keeping an archive of any necessary files and sorting documents in a clearly organized and well-kept system can make them easy for you to access at any moment. You can keep any important project materials and files in clearly labelled directories, and include folders within other folders to divide content logically, saving you more time the next time you need to access them.
These tips can be useful when thinking about how to be organized at work. It's important for you to set yourself up for success beforehand by maintaining a clean, uncluttered workspace. Whether you work remotely or an in office, you can stay organized and productive by carefully managing your time, keeping your stress level low, and focusing on your most important tasks and goals.
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