When it comes to a successful business, organization isn’t a “nice to have” perk — it’s a necessity. It helps team members be more productive, feel less stressed, and remain on schedule. While organization comes naturally to some people, for others it requires a conscientious effort.
If you are a business owner or employee prone to disorganization, let our six tips on getting and staying organized serve as the push you need to get started on the right track.
1. Declutter Your Desk
The first step toward organization is a clean environment. Aside from potentially misplacing important documents, clutter can increase stress and decrease performance as the other items on your desk compete for your attention. On average, messy desks cost corporate America $177 billion per year in lost productivity. At least once a quarter, spend a few hours sifting through the documents that have accumulated on and in your desk. Toss anything outdated or anything you can save on your computer or the Cloud. If you need to keep physical copies, store them in a separate filing cabinet away from your immediate workspace.
2. Let Your Calendar Do the Heavy Lifting
A daily calendar is a lifesaver for organized workers. Each week or month, schedule all of your meetings and major tasks in your calendar. Color code by task or priority for better visualization — such as red for critical projects with fast approaching deadlines and blue for meetings. By following your calendar, you have a better idea of how much time you can spend on certain projects and keep track of everything on which you are working.
3. Schedule Buffer Time in Your Calendar
When you run from one meeting to the next or jump from one project to another, it’s easy to let small tasks slip through the cracks. Rather than booking your calendar with back-to-back tasks, schedule buffer time between projects and meetings. During this buffer time, which can range from 10 to 30 minutes, take a deep breath, review your meeting notes, follow up on any immediate requests, check your email, and evaluate any schedule changes you may need to make to adjust for new tasks.
4. Keep Your Notes in a Single Place
When you use multiple methods for saving notes, such as sticky pads, whiteboards, and your smartphone’s notepad, it’s easy to lose track of where everything is stored. Either rely on a single notebook you take with you everywhere or use an app like Evernote. Upload and add your notes to Evernote, which syncs with the Cloud so you can access your documents anytime, anywhere.
5. Make the Most of Technology
Technology helps you get more done in less time. Research the technology your business needs to operate efficiently and stay organized, such as high-speed Internet, phone system, or point-of-sale (POS) software.
6. Break Down Big Projects into Small Tasks
Big projects are overwhelming. Breaking a large project into a set of smaller steps makes it more manageable. Take a page from Agile’s methodology, which was initially designed with software development in mind. The idea is to break big projects into short sprints that you can track and regularly assess to ensure you stay on track.
You don’t have to be naturally organized to stay organized at work. With the help of technology, some dedicated cleanup time, and guidance from your calendar, you can stay on task and get more accomplished.
Looking for more tips on how to effectively run your business or succeed at work? Peruse our blog for tips and advice.