How To Stay Organized and Why It's Important (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 3, 2022

Published October 18, 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.

Learning how to stay organized positively impacts both your personal and professional life. These organizational techniques promote productivity and efficiency. You may find these techniques useful if you experience frequent procrastination or want to improve your overall productivity. In this article, we discuss how to stay organized and mention the benefits of organization.

Related: What Are Organizational Skills? (With Improvement Tips)

How to stay organized

Here is a guide to help you stay organized:

1. Create a to-do list

Creating to-do lists allows you to create daily or hourly lists to organize your tasks. You may find it beneficial to create your to-do list at the beginning of the week. Set aside time in your schedule to list your responsibilities, along with how long you expect each task to take. There are online tools available to help you create these lists. These tools allow you to sync your daily responsibilities to multiple devices to ensure you have access to them.

Consider creating a daily list of three tasks that are most important to complete. You can also create lists of tasks that are essential, along with tasks that you'd like to complete but aren't essential.

Related: 12 Examples of Organization in the Workplace (With Tips)

2. Prioritize tasks

When trying to stay organized, you may find it useful to prioritize your tasks, which improves your efficiency and productivity. Prioritizing your tasks allows you to maintain deadlines by ensuring you complete the most important tasks first. There are multiple ways to prioritize your responsibilities. For example, you can focus on either deadlines or complexity. If you prioritize tasks according to deadlines, you complete tasks with close deadlines before those with longer deadlines. If you prioritize tasks according to complexity, you complete either more complex or simple tasks first.

Consider separating complex tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, if you need to develop an analysis of expenses depending on company departments, you may want to separate this project into smaller analyses of each department. You can then use these analyses to develop your report.

Related: How To Prioritize Work Tasks

3. File your documents efficiently

Develop an efficient filing system to organize your documents and save time. You can use both digital and physical storage systems to develop a strong filing system. When doing so, consider which labels you want to use and how you title your files. By having an efficient filing system, you improve overall productivity because you reduce the time required to find particular documents. Sharing files with colleagues is also easier when you update your filing system.

You may find it beneficial to use a colour-coding system for files. This allows you to categorize files that share common characteristics. For example, you may choose to assign a particular colour to your to-do lists and another to budget reports.

4. Maintain a clean workstation

Organizing and cleaning your workstation limits distractions and improves your overall focus. If you want to clean your workstation, consider removing any unnecessary items. From here, you can develop an organizational system for the remaining paperwork and items. If you experience difficulty removing items, consider developing a system or rules. For example, you may find it beneficial to remove any products you haven't used in the past year. To prevent throwing out important work documents, place documents in a separate folder as you discover them.

Everything on your desk needs to have a specific place. For example, consider grouping all of your writing instruments together. Place frequently used items in accessible locations to ensure you can reach them whenever necessary.

5. Set your deadlines

If your tasks don't have specific deadlines, you may find it beneficial to assign deadlines for yourself. This helps you manage your time more efficiently and increases productivity by ensuring you complete tasks sooner. Managing deadlines also improves your accountability and makes you a more reliable employee. If you have a difficult time meeting deadlines, you may find it beneficial to adjust deadlines for the week before their due dates. This promotes the early completion of tasks.

6. Manage emails

Managing your email requires strong organizational skills and ensures you have access to relevant information. You may find it beneficial to establish particular hours during the week to review and respond to your emails. This helps you answer your emails more quickly and ensures you don't miss any information. You may also want to set goals every week. For example, you can set goals to reach zero unread emails every day or week. This ensures your inbox lacks clutter and allows you to assess which mailing lists you want to unsubscribe from.

7. Use time-management tools

Time-management tools allow you to organize your schedule and complete tasks more effectively. For example, some online applications provide you with data that separates time spent on personal matters compared to time spent on professional objectives. These apps allow you to create and complete to-do lists and focus on specific tasks. These organizational tools also help you to assess and develop a weekly schedule. For example, you may realize that you spend more time on personal matters at the beginning of the week compared to the end of the week.

Related: Time Management Skills: Examples and Definitions

8. Manage your routine

You may find it beneficial to establish a routine because it provides you with more structure and organizes your time effectively. For example, some individuals organize their morning routine to include breakfast and exercise before work. These routines help prepare you for your day and ensure you always have tasks to accomplish. When you follow routines, your methodologies become more autonomic and efficient. If you want to develop a routine, you may also want to schedule time for organization every day. The amount of time you schedule varies.

For example, some individuals may need 15 minutes per day to clear their desk of paperwork. Alternatively, they may need a longer amount of time to clear their email inbox over several days or to establish specific organization systems.

Related: How To Make a Schedule (With Tips To Make Your Own)

9. Delegate your tasks

Another way to organize your life is to delegate tasks. This ensures you only complete a manageable number of tasks. While delegating tasks, you may find it beneficial to review your current to-do list and determine which ones are unrealistic for you to complete within the given timeframe. If you're a manager or a member of upper management, you may also want to develop teams to complete larger tasks and reduce some of your workload.

10. Don't procrastinate

To maintain an organized lifestyle, you may want to avoid procrastination. This helps you complete tasks more quickly and prevents you from becoming overworked or overwhelmed when due dates arrive. If you procrastinate frequently, you may want to prioritize your tasks or delegate them to others.

11. Prepare before completing tasks

Before beginning your tasks, consider using your organizational skills to prepare for them. For example, if you need to develop an expense report, consider preparing by accumulating data about department expenses over a fixed period of time. This limits unnecessary stress and workloads by ensuring you have the necessary information before you begin working.

12. Celebrate accomplishments

You may find it beneficial to celebrate your accomplishments to improve your confidence. This also increases your motivation and makes you a more productive employee. Consider rewarding yourself when you notice increased organization. For example, you may want to reward yourself when you complete a to-do list or use another organizational strategy.

Related: How To Include Your Accomplishments on a Resume

Why is organization important?

Organized individuals demonstrate structure and show others that they can manage tasks. Being organized increases your productivity because you consistently understand which tasks to accomplish next. Improving your organizational skills also ensures your preparedness for various tasks, which promotes high-quality work and reduces feelings of being overworked or overwhelmed. Being organized increases employee wellbeing by reducing this stress and subsequently increasing your motivation to complete tasks. When your mood improves, and you have fewer responsibilities to accomplish, you can also experience improved sleep.

Beyond general productivity, organization also promotes healthy relationships with coworkers and supervisors. This is because your organizational skills make you a more reliable and accountable employee, which impacts your colleagues. By managing your tasks more effectively and completing them quickly, you increase the chances of projects being successful.

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