Let’s face it, life is busy and it’s not likely to slow down any time soon.
A good organizational system is critical for keeping us on track, letting us know what’s coming up in the future and making sure we don’t forget anything.
Common wisdom tells us to write everything down so we won’t forget, but even that’s not enough. Lose a sticky note and you’ve suddenly forgotten something. Whether it’s the monthly marketing review or your daughter’s dance recital, you’re going to be in big trouble.
There are four aspects to getting organized at work: organizing your brain, your time, your workspace and your projects.
Organize Your Brain
Organizing your brain means making sure that it is ready for anything that comes its way. You want to be at high efficiency for as much of your day as possible.
- Get enough sleep – Even fairly small amounts of sleep deprivation will put you off your game. Seven or more hours of sleep per night will keep you sharp and focused. If you can, take a short nap of between 10 and d30 minutes in the afternoon. You’ll reorganize your mind and have more energy to finish your day.
- Stop multitasking – Multitasking has gotten a bad rap these days, and for good reason. Switching from task to task slows our decision making processes and is stressful. You can multitask when one item is ‘mindless’ and the other isn’t. For example, you can sharpen your pencils while outlining a memo in your mind. You should not switch between outlining a memo and making sales calls.
- Take a break – Short breaks for daydreaming increase your creative thinking and help boost productivity.
Organize Your Time
Time organization is critical to overall organization. Your brain could be working at peak efficiency, but if you don’t have a good idea about when things need to be done you’ll still seem disorganized.
- Goals – Setting goals helps you look at what we want to get done in the long term. Without goals, you will float along, busy every day, but not making substantial progress in any area.
- Priorities – Once you know your goals, you will be able to pick out the next necessary step or task you need to do in order to move forward.
- Schedule – Create a schedule for each day, allowing enough time to complete the tasks you need to. This series of deadlines creates a sense of urgency for you to accomplish things. It is important to be realistic in your planning, though. Don’t allot 30 minutes to write a 10 page report, you’ll disrupt the rest of your schedule and you’ll feel unsuccessful.
Organize Your Workspace
Nothing robs you of time and motivation more than not being able to find something. Whether it’s a physical object, like a paper clip or a file on your laptop, you need to be able to locate what you need quickly and efficiently.
- Keep Important Things Within Reach – Things you use regularly should be stored close at hand, in or on top of your desk.
- Move Everything Else – Desktop clutter saps productivity. A good rule of thumb for the office is that if you haven’t used something in six months, it can be stored away until you need it again. If you’re never going to need the item again, get rid of it. Of course this doesn’t apply to a family photo or an award you want to display on your desk.
- Paperwork – Just the word brings a feeling of dread to most people. Use a one touch filing system, meaning once a document reaches your desk you will act on it, file it or toss it. When a project is complete, review the file and remove anything nonessential.
- Email and Electronic Files – It’s incredibly easy to be disorganized with your electronic files. Your laptop will look the same whether your files are easy or difficult to locate, so there is no visual reminder to tidy up. The one touch system is useful here as well.
Organize Your Projects
You are responsible for many projects and keeping on top of the priority actions for each can be daunting. Using project tracking software is a must for today’s busy managers. Robust business process tracking software like iFollow can help you with all these tasks:
- Toss the To-Do List – On a to-do list, everything seems to have the same priority and due date.
- Focus on Current Projects – It can be tempting to think about the future while ignoring the pressing tasks of the present. iFollow’s dashboard allows you to focus on present tasks and then move on to future ones as soon as possible.
- Plan Milestones – iFollow’s sequence templates allow you to plan milestones once and reuse them on a yearly, quarterly, monthly or even weekly basis. This repeatable task management template takes the stress out of planning.
Proper organization in all these areas will allow you to be a more effective manager. If you’d like to see how iFollow can help you be more organized, go to our website for a free 30 day trial.