7 Simple Tips on How to Get Organized
Getting organized at work isn’t rocket science. With our 7 tips, you’ll be able to turn chaos into order in no time and finally achieve the level of productivity you’ve always wanted.
1. Establish a Routine
Without a routine, even the best organizational system is guaranteed to crumble after some time. After all, it takes just one day for documents to pile up, tasks to accumulate, and unread emails to make the goal of achieving Inbox Zero a distant dream.
Your routine should start right when you wake up. Even if your work allows you to sleep in, resist the temptation to do so. You want to teach your body to activate itself at a specific time each day so you can become productive as soon as possible and start your day on the right foot.
Keep in mind that we’re all different, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Some of the most productive and successful people in the world, including Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, swear by intermittent fasting, but not everyone can tolerate it due to a wide variety of reasons, including medical ones.
Regardless of which routine you end up with, make sure to schedule plenty of breaks throughout the day to keep your energy high. You can use the Pomodoro Technique to break down work into intervals separated by short breaks. This popular time management method is perfect for getting organized at work because it establishes a predictable routine that keeps you on track.
You can install a Pomodoro time management assistant in your web browser and configure it to notify you when it’s time for you to take a break. While you might find forced breaks irritating at first, we promise that your body and mind will thank you for them.
2. Track Your Tasks
In this day and age, we’re forced to multitask even if we don’t want to. Sometimes, there are so many tasks to juggle at the same time that it’s literally impossible to not lose track of at least a couple of them. Some people then start feeling overwhelmed, leading to a sharp increase of the stress hormone, cortisol, which interferes with learning and memory, bone density, immunity, blood pressure, cholesterol, and many other functions of the human body.
To prevent this from happening, you should do whatever you can to avoid multitasking, and that’s possible only if you know how to be more organized when it comes to your thoughts. A Moleskin notebook and pen can do wonders for keeping your thoughts organized, but you can go a step further and use a visual tool for organizing your work and life, such as Trello.
Regardless of which method you select, your goal should be to individually track each and every task you want to accomplish. This allows you to sort tasks by priority and finish the most important tasks first. Mark Twain once said that if you start your day by eating a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that nothing worse will happen to you.
Brian Tracy, a Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author, builds on Mark Twain’s philosophy in his popular 2001 book Eat That Frog, which is a must-read for all people who don’t know how to become organized. While it may seem incredibly daunting to start your day with the task you dread doing the most, we can promise you that it’s worth the effort.
3. Clean Up Your Desk
It’s hard to focus on your priorities when your physical workspace is in utter chaos. You might be surprised by how many useless items are cluttering the desk of the average office worker: from pens that don’t write anymore to old documents to motivational posters that distract rather than motivate. Remember that clutter is actually a form of distraction, and you should always fight it as much as possible.
Start by getting rid of all non-essential items. How can you tell that an item isn’t essential? Well, if you haven’t used it in the past month, you probably don’t need to keep it on your desk and can store it somewhere out of sight. Various document folders, trays, and racks can help you cut down the amount of paperwork on your desk, and they don’t cost much money at all.
Going paperless is another great option on how to stay organized long-term, and it’s also good for the environment. Converting to a paperless office sounds daunting for many organizations, but the process isn’t nearly as ruthless as it may seem at first. With the right cloud storage service, such as Dropbox, you can easily digitalize all paper documents and keep them synchronized across your devices, accessible anytime, anywhere.
4. Eliminate Time Wasters
Time wasters are all activities that keep you from achieving your goals and staying on track. Such activities include everything from aimless web browsing to endless meetings that should have been an email. Some time wasters are easier to eliminate than others, so keep that in mind and start with low-hanging fruit, which are digital time wasters.
Most people who want to learn how to get organized actually understand what becoming organized necessitates—they just can’t stay on the right track because they are constantly bombarded with digital distractions, such as notifications, social media updates, and so on.
To defeat these and other distractions, you need to learn as much about them as you can. Time-tracking software like RescueTime or Toggl makes it possible to track how much time you spend browsing specific websites and using various applications. Even if you believe that you’re close to mastering the art of getting organized at work, we guarantee that you’ll be amazed by just how much time there’s still to reclaim.
Once you understand which time wasters cost you the most time, it’s time to declare war on them. If you don’t want to depend solely on your determination to be organized and productive, you can use an application like FocusMe to block digital temptations and instantly take countless hours of your life back. Just don’t expect the app to be a magic bullet to becoming organized.
5. Communicate with Colleagues
When learning how to be more organized at work, it's easy to focus only on digital and physical distractions, procrastination, and task management, but we shouldn't forget about organizing teamwork.
For teams to function as effectively as possible, all team members should know one another and strive to achieve a common goal. If you've so far been working in an organizational silo, now is the right time to find out what your colleagues do each day so that you understand the impact your work has on them.
To improve team communication, you can establish an open-door policy, provide opportunities for informal meetings and discussions, and offer suitable online communication channels as more convenient alternatives to face-to-face meetings.
Slack is quickly growing in popularity among employees thanks to its modern user interface and support for channels, which can be described as virtual rooms where employees can discuss everything from a project they're working on at the moment to their hobbies and other topics that have nothing to do with work but play an important role in team building.
Besides Slack, there's also Microsoft Teams, which integrates people, content, and tools in a unified collaboration hub. Microsoft Teams is especially well-suited for organizations that already rely on other products and services from Microsoft, including Microsoft 365 and Office 365.
6. Create a Digital Toolbox
There are many digital tools that you can use to become organized, including those we’ve already mentioned in this article. To help you expand your digital toolbox, we want to cover several other tools that you should definitely know about.
Evernote is a versatile note-taking app that you can use for your ideas, meeting notes, projects, to-dos, and so much more. You can use it directly in any modern web browser, but there are also native apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. The basic version of Evernote is available for free and offers all important note-taking functionality supported by the app.
While Evernote does a lot to keep your notes secure, we wouldn’t recommend it for anything truly sensitive, such as your passwords and credit card details. Instead, you should use a password manager like Bitwarden, which seals all data with end-to-end AES-256 bit encryption, salted hashing, and PBKDF2 SHA-256, making it impossible for cybercriminals to run away with your personal information. You can integrate Bitwarden directly in your web browser of choice or install it on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.
The last tool we want to mention is MindMeister. This online mind-mapping application is perfect for visualizing complex ideas, and you can use it for free directly in your web browser. Mind maps created using MindMeister can be easily shared with others, and you can even collaborate on them with your colleagues in real-time.
7. Stop Unwanted Emails
It’s estimated that the average office worker receives about 90 emails a day and sent around 40 business emails daily between 2014 and 2018. With so many emails to deal with, it’s no wonder that most office workers don’t know how to be organized and productive at the same time.
One excellent solution how to be organized despite receiving an endless barrage of emails every single day is Clean Email, a bulk email unsubscriber that organizes emails into smart views using rules and filters to simplify email management. You can think of it as a modern alternative to manual email organization, which is tiresome and doesn’t achieve any lasting results.
Clean Email, on the other hand, can get rid of emails that are cluttering your inbox with just a few clicks. It makes it easy to act on groups of emails just like you would on individual messages, which means that you can remove all unwanted emails, archive, or label hundreds of emails at the same time. What’s more, you can instruct Clean Email to apply selected actions automatically in the future to prevent your inbox from becoming cluttered ever again.
Clean Email works with all major email providers, including Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, and Yahoo, just to name a few, and it’s so easy to use that you won’t have any problem figuring it out on your own—even if you consider yourself to be a computer neophyte. Once you discover how easy it is to be organized with the help of Clean Email, you will never want to manage your emails any other way. Fortunately, you won’t have to because Clean Email is very affordable and available as a web-based app.
In this article, we explained not only how to get organized but also how to stay organized, equipping you with the resources you need to be more productive at work and in other areas of your life. With excellent productivity apps like Clean Email readily available, staying organized has never been easier, which is why you should start right now.