March 24th, 2020
How to Get Organized at Work and Have Fun
At one time or another, most people have made a promise to themselves to get more organized at work.
It’s a great idea, of course. Research shows there are numerous benefits of being organized at work beyond just boosting your productivity. Being organized at work has been shown to reduce stress and depression and lead to healthier habits such as eating better, exercising and getting more sleep.
But while the desire to be more organized is sincere, the execution and the commitment to becoming more organized often falls apart for various reasons.
Part of the problem, experts say, is that we make getting organized at work too complicated. Instead of trying to find that “perfect” organizational system, it’s better to focus on some simple habits that will help you get more done. In addition, it’s important to consider that the system that works for a colleague may not work for you. The best system for you is one that you will use consistently, not just the latest app or product promoted on a podcast.
If you want to be more productive, here are some organization tips for work:
- Master your workspace. If you aren’t using something on a daily basis, then it shouldn’t be on your desk. Store or recycle materials you no longer use or that can be found online. Anything collecting dust is a prime example of something that needs to go elsewhere. Put your cellphone, keys and purse or briefcase in the same place every day and have a box or basket that can hold incoming reports/folders/mail that come in each day. Each day that box should be emptied, whether the material is recycled, filed or sent to a colleague.
- Stop distracting yourself. Checking email, texts, Instagram and Facebook are all ways that we keep ourselves off task. Try retraining your brain to break such habits, such as setting an alarm or timer for one minute to break the habit of always checking social media. Then, increase the time to 15 minutes with a goal of 30 minutes. Remember to keep your phone face down and silence it.
- Use apps wisely. Among the available work organizational tools are apps. They can do a lot to keep you on task and organized – but only if you use them and find they don’t cause even more distraction. Some apps to consider include Todoist, which is a way to create to-do lists; Brain FM, which is music designed to make you more productive; Cold Turkey, which blocks digital distractions; and Productive, which tracks how you use (and waste) your time.
- Be creative. You probably can’t change whether you work in a cubicle or an open-office environment, but you can take steps to make your situation work better for you. For example, in an open office, try wearing noise-cancelling headphones or finding more private spaces (such as meeting rooms) where you can escape when you need some quiet, uninterrupted time. If you’re in a cubicle, it can help if you position your desk so that your back is to the cubicle opening so that you’re not constantly distracted by people walking by. Noise-cancelling headphones can also be an option, as can placing books or papers on open chairs to deter colleagues who want to sit and chat.
Finally, when you’re thinking about how to get organized at work, consider your work style. Are you the most productive or creative in the morning? Or in the afternoon? Being productive also means using your new organizational strategies to optimize your peak times so that you are energized by work, not depleted and frustrated by unproductive days.