Being efficient and productive at work can be difficult when juggling multiple projects. Getting and staying organized will help you complete your day-to-day tasks and long-term goals on time. There are many ways to incorporate organization into your job – here are some helpful tips to optimize your workflow.
- Make a to-do list: Create a weekly to-do list broken down by day based on priorities. This helps provide a clear picture of tasks that lie ahead and how many you can achieve within a given workday/week.
- Having a to-do list will help keep you from forgetting certain job duties while also staying focused on completing more urgent goals.
- Try to organize your list by priority and make sure you set realistic goals. You do not want to have so many items on your list that it becomes overwhelming and seems impossible to conquer.
- Complete the most important tasks first and then work your way down. This way, if any items need to be moved to the following day, or even later that week, you will still feel productive by having the more urgent deadlines out of the way.
- Breaking down assignments into steps that you complete over a certain period of time (days or weeks) can prevent procrastination and tackling a large task at the last minute.
- Being able to check off items on your to-do list can give you a great sense of accomplishment while also helping you manage your time.
- Use a planner or calendar: Decide if you’d prefer to organize your days, weeks and year through technology or pen-to-paper. There are several types of yearly planners, calendars, and digital applications to organize your tasks and assignments.
- Utilizing a planner or calendar can help keep your meetings and schedule organized, and give a great visual of current and upcoming job duties and projects.
- Blocking time on your calendar for specific tasks can help you stay focused and motivated in achieving your short-term goals.
- Color coding your schedule can also help if you are a visual person.
- Reassessing your schedule and to-do list: Allow for flexibility in your schedule and tasks.
- If additional assignments come your way see what takes priority and what items can be moved to later in the day or week.
- Remain realistic in your daily and weekly goals. You do not want to take on more work than your schedule and hours allow within your full-time or part-time schedule.
- Complete one big project at a time: Some people are proficient multitaskers and are able to jump between projects throughout their day.
- However, working one task at a time will help you stay more focused and complete tasks more timely.
- In some cases, it may take longer to complete 2 tasks at the same time than it does to finish one task and then move to the other.
- Don’t put the “little things” off: When your work is piling up and you are struggling to complete all of your tasks for the day, or week, sometimes you may put off the “little things”.
- Those “little things” are usually the small, simple, and short tasks that we categorize as being less important until we cannot put them off any longer.
- Completing the “little things” will take precedence when they start to delay other assignments or prevent you from moving forward within your to-do list.
In an article titled “7 Ways to Stay Organized When You’re Super Busy” by Marlen Komar, it was noted that being able to complete the simple and short 2 minute or less tasks as soon as they come up, as well as taking time at the end of your day to get yourself prepared for the following day, goes a long way in helping keep you organized and feel less swamped down the road.
We always think, “work will slow down soon” or “I’ll have time to fit this in later” but those times often do not come and you eventually have to cram those 2 minutes or less tasks in at the last minute. So why not file that paperwork or save that document immediately, or by the end of the day? You will be surprised how much time this will save in the long run and keep your to-do lists from growing exponentially.
- Work ahead: If you have long-term goals and assignments, try to work ahead by completing small steps each day or week. This way, once the deadline for your goal arrives you will be breathing easy and have far less work to do for that specific assignment.
- Declutter your desk and computer: Having your computer desktop and office space decluttered and organized can help keep your focus and keep your stress levels down.
- Having a place for everything makes locating your desired and needed items easier and keeps your productivity level up.
- Determine the best layout of your desk and store your most used items close by while keeping other, less utilized items in a drawer or cabinet.
- Organizing your files with a multi-shelf system or basket(s) and keeping all of your writing utensils in a container can help keep your desk decluttered and neat.
- Creating folders to sort and organize your computer files can be helpful in locating specific files more quickly and result in a less cluttered desktop.
- Purge, purge, purge: Do not be afraid to get rid of any unused and unneeded documents and clutter. The fewer items you have to deal with the easier it will be to locate what you actually need!
These tips are definitely easier said than done, especially for those who do not feel they have the time to implement these processes, much less keep up with them on a regular basis.
However, dedicating a little time each day to being organized and staying organized will help more than you may think. Hopefully, after a while, it will become a part of your daily routine and habits! Remember, not all of these tips work for everyone. See which works best for you and don’t be afraid to adjust when necessary!