When your work life is organized, you're more productive. But getting organized at work takes time and energy. Papers pile up, meetings and deadlines eat up large chunks of your day and phone calls, coworkers and email all compete for your time. Here are some tips on getting organized at work.
Organizing your paperwork
- Create an activity log. Write down everything that you do during a typical workweek. This will help you identify time wasters and take steps to eliminate them.
- Keep your desk clear of all but current projects and the items you use daily . A desk clear of all but a few essentials will help you feel in control of your space and make it easier to focus on the task at hand.
- Clean out your files regularly. Discard or archive anything that is outdated or unnecessary.
- Check email just two or three times a day. Checking email too frequently interrupts your work flow and eats into your productivity. Try checking email when you arrive at work, at lunchtime and toward the end of the day.
- Prioritize email. Respond to urgent messages right away, but create electronic files on your computer or in your email program for all others. Categorize these according to the name of the project or person who sent the email, the follow-up required and the time frame for your reply.
Organizing your time
- Arrive at work early or leave late. If possible, arrange to get work done when others aren't around.
- Avoid multitasking. It may seem as though you're accomplishing more if you do two or three things at once, but you will be more productive and produce higher quality work if you give your undivided attention to one task at a time.
- Just say "no." Avoid taking on extra work during busy times. Only attend meetings that are essential or mandatory.
- Do your part to keep meetings productive. Be on time. Come to the meeting prepared for the topics at hand.
- Confirm appointments the day before. This will head off problems due to miscommunication or scheduling conflicts.
- Set priorities and deadlines. Determine which tasks are most important and do these first. Be sure to give yourself enough time to get the work done, but not so much that you don't feel a sense of urgency about it. Be prepared to re-prioritize tasks as circumstances change.
When you're organized and adopt efficient work habits you'll find that over time, the steps you take to maintain order will become second nature. Also there is no time like the present to start or "Get It Done"