by Monique Sharkey
When it comes to maximizing your productivity at work, staying organized is essential. If you have a lot on your plate it can seem daunting but your work space should be a place that inspires you and helps you function at your best. Here are a few small but effective ways to keep your work life organized.
De-Clutter and Clean: To get a fresh start, take everything out. Empty the drawers if you have any and take everything off the surface and set all of it aside. I would recommend cleaning the surfaces at this point before putting everything back. Then, go through all the items and throw out any documents you no longer need, pens that stopped writing, old receipts - basically any item that no longer serves a purpose. Now you know that you’re working with only what you really need.
Sort Small Items: The next step is to sort your small items and store them. If you have a drawer in your desk, desk organizers are very helpful since you can put items into individual compartments. You could put all your pens in a pen cup or buy a nice container for your paper clips – be as creative as you like. The idea is that every item should have a home. At the end of your work day, try to put everything back in its home so you can easily locate everything the next day. Not only is it nice to walk into work greeted by a neat desk, this will keep you efficient.
Utilize a Filing System: These days, most tasks are handled online and documents are usually in a digital format. Programs like Dropbox or Google Drive are optimal for organization and avoiding clutter. However, if there are papers that absolutely must be kept, creating a filing system keeps you in control of all of your papers before they get out of hand. Whether you prefer to use folders, document trays, or other tools – label each one clearly to save time when trying to find something important. Ideally this would be maintained at least once a week and once you have your system in place upkeep should only take a few minutes.
E-mails: If your job requires you to deal with hundreds of emails per day this can become very overwhelming and time consuming if not managed. While there are an abundance of tips and hacks for dealing with emails that you can find online, you can start with these two. First, make a list of all of the main categories of emails you get and set aside some time to create folders for these categories in your inbox. Then, drag the emails from your main inbox into their respective folder when you’re finished reading it. Another time saving trick is quick responses. In Outlook this is called “quick parts” (although most email providers have a similar function) and it allows you to insert any kind of response with one click. For instance, say you need to send your customers a payment link, you can create a quick response with that link already built in enabling you to answer your clients faster. Even if it just saves a few seconds of typing, at the end of the day it all adds up.
Being organized at work is not just for the aesthetics, although who doesn’t enjoy something that’s pleasing to look at, right? Ultimately, the biggest benefit is that by getting (and staying) organized you will have more time to dedicate to your clients and to achieving your goals.