Organization is key to excelling in your career. If you aren’t organized, you most likely won’t be able to get all your work done or finish that super-important project your boss asked you to do because it got lost in the mix of everything else. Everyone is different in how they stay on top of their tasks, but the basics are so important. Many people go into their work week not even knowing what they have on their plate and what is needed to be completed. This adds more stress and gets more tasks lost and either incomplete or done poorly. We’ve compiled a few ways to keep you on schedule in the office.
Clean your space
Before you start anything, you need to declutter your space mentally and physically. Sit down. Clear your head. Clean-up your mess. Even if this means having to get to work 10-15 minutes early, trust us this will help. Going into your work day with everything in order is super-helpful in getting your stuff done. At the end of the day, do the same. Clean-up your desk so that you come back to an organized space the next day.
Write everything down
Don’t just make a “mental note” of what you have on your plate that day, write it down. Seems old school? Well, you’re more likely to remember tasks once you have them on paper. If you want, you can even throw them in your notes on your phone or on your laptop. There are even great tools for keeping up with your tasks that you can put in your schedule. Basecamp is one of those. It helps maintain your schedule if you use it and keep it updated. You can check-off tasks once completed, update the dates, or add notes to the assignment. If you use it religiously it WILL SAVE YOU! Call us crazy, but we suggest you write it down AND use Basecamp (or a similar tool).
Once you’ve put everything on pen and paper, draw out what is most important. What do you HAVE to get done by the end-of-day? Now, this may be hard sometimes. You may have multiple super important projects that were assigned last minute and need to get done before you finish your morning coffee. This can be stressful but plan out what you can get done that day and what you need to get done first. If you really can’t figure it out for yourself, communicate with your boss or advisor and ask them what needs to be completed first. If you aren’t prioritizing your tasks, you are likely to not get them done and your plate will only get bigger.
Communicate with your team
Sometimes you and a coworker could be working on a similar project that would only save you time if you both knew about it. If you aren’t communicating with your team you could be wasting time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There may be someone in your office that is able to help you and if you never said anything you wouldn’t know. Also, if your coworkers know you have a lot going on, they won’t bother you and continue to throw tasks at you.
Spring clean your email
Having an inbox with zero unread messages is the best feeling in the world. If you open your email every day and have hundreds of unread emails it is going to give you stress even if you don’t realize it. Knowing you have emails sitting in your inbox will be in the back of your mind whether you realize it or not. Sifting through your emails may seem like a pain but going through them will help you in the long-run. You don’t have a huge number staring you in the face to read. If you keep ignoring it, it will only get worse. Take an hour out of your day to go through your emails. Just one time. Every morning you come in the office you will be glad you did that. Plus, you could be missing a super important email. You swear you’ve gone through it and sifted through all the important emails, but if you haven’t actually opened every single one you could be missing something.
For some, these tips may come easy… for others, not so much. Once you get in the habit of doing these it will come naturally. The beginning will be the hardest, but if you keep it up every day will continue to be organized. If you do these tasks in the morning, you won’t have to stress about them after-work hours. In the long run, staying organized is only going to keep you on your “A Game.”