Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, but it’s also the most crucial.
Here are five steps to get yourself organized at work.
- Clean up. Let’s start easy. Clean up! If it’s trash, throw it away. Consolidate your filing pile. Take home those eight coffee cups sitting on the windowsill. If you keep anything on the floor of your office—file boxes or archives or storage—get them out of there. They’re taking up visual space, and thus mental space.
- Purge. And then purge some more. If it’s something you haven’t used in the last 6 months (unless it’s for tax purposes), toss it. You probably don’t even remember what that Post-It note is about anymore, anyway. This goes for email, as well. Give yourself an email clean slate. If you haven’t responded, and it’s more than 4 weeks old, delete it and move on. Sometimes we all need an email do over.
- Pick ONE type of calendar. If you’re looking at a paper planner, an Outlook calendar on your desktop and iCal on your phone, you’re bound to miss something. Multiple calendars leaded to confusion and ultimately, missed appointments and to-dos. Figure out what works best for you, sync if it’s an option, and stick with one calendar.
- Contain yourself. A place for everything, and everything in its place. If you need containers to help you do this, here is your permission slip to go buy some organizational goodies. But before you do, make an assessment of what supplies you already have lurking about and donate/toss/take back to the supply closet as needed. You probably don’t need that many paperclips and pens.
- Don’t compare systems. Maybe your cubicle neighbor has a carefully color-coded sticky note system or beautifully labeled file folders. Do not covet your neighbor’s organizational skills. What matters more is finding a system that works for you.