It is hard to be productive when your desk is a mess, your inbox is blowing up, you can't find your day planner, and you don’t even know where to begin. First things first, you need to get organized. Without organization, simple tasks can take twice as long and stunt your productivity. Here are a couple tips on how to get organized and stay organized.
Get a Planner
If you are like me, you like to have your to do list in writing. For me, a physical planner keeps me much more organized, but if google calendars or a different digital program is more fitting for you, then go for it! Just make sure that you have some sort of calendar with all of your appointments, tasks, and due dates in one location. If you have some projects on your computer, some in your planner, and some scribbled in various notebooks...there is no way you will be able to keep track of your work. And if you are still able to get it done that way, it is not the most efficient use of your time. When you sit down to work , you want to be able to start, not have to search all over your desk and laptop for your first task.
Keep your desk clean
A messy desk can have more of an effect on your work and well-being than you think! Take an hour or two to completely re-organize your desk in a way that makes sense to you to lessen your stress and increase your productivity. I recommend keeping the top as clear as possible, giving you plenty of room to work. Keep any office supplies that you use often in a top drawer for easy access and file away what does not have a designated place on your desk. Last but not least, get rid of anything you don’t need! Once your desk is clean and organized...keep it that way, it will save you so much time and frustration! Instead of spending 10 minutes shuffling papers and trying to reach into the back of your drawer to find your stapler, you will know exactly where it is and will be able to seamlessly move from task to task.
Keep your desktop clean as well
The majority of your work, however, is probably done on your laptop, so it is very important to keep your desktop and folders organized as well. Creating folders for tasks and more folders for sub-tasks will allow you to find any document you need with a few simple clicks. Looking at your computer screen and seeing files saved all over to your desktop with no organization is a surefire way to be frazzled and stay frazzled.
Sort through your emails
With dozens of emails coming in everyday, it may feel nearly impossible to keep your inbox organized, and trust me...I'm with you! Just when you think you have responded to all of your emails, another 40 come in! I have had to learn to be a little bit more flexible with inbox organization, but I do have a few tips on how to give it a little structure. "Starring" or “flagging” emails that are extremely important, frequently referenced, or a pressing issue will push them up to the top of your page so you will have easy access. I also try to keep conversations in the same thread of emails instead of sending out a new email for every new comment. Sorting through your emails is definitely difficult, which is why it is a good idea to spend the first hour of your day sorting through your inbox.
The manner in which you organize your office is all about personal preference, but some type of organization is crucial for success and productivity. It might take a little bit of time, but find a system that works for you! Whether it is keeping a day planner where you write everything down or finding an online program that will help you structure your day- having your tasks in order will save you a lot of stress and a lot of time.
Leila Lewis is known as the Wedding PR expert over at Be Inspired PR.