When you have many projects going on all at once, notes everywhere, and no idea where anything ever is, it is rather difficult to do your job. Keeping organized at work is necessary to make your life easier. It also makes you appear more professional and put together to your coworkers and more importantly, to your boss.
Many people have great intentions on staying organized and will even set aside time to become organized. Some don’t know where to start though and others will start, get very far, and then life to catches up to them again. Suddenly their once organized masterpiece unravels into a dysfunctional mess again.
In order to get organized and stay organized, there are some things you need to implement and make routine in your schedule.
1. Have a central location for all your notes.
Do you write on sticky notes, bring a different notepad to every meeting, type notes onto the sticky notes on your computer or phone, borrow paper from other people to jot something down, or type notes into an email?
If you do, they probably miraculously disappear when you are looking for them. That or they just sit in a pile on your desk until you realize they are there and are no longer relevant. Avoid all of this chaos by having one central location for your notes.
If sticking to one method is that difficult in the moment, then collect all notes at the end of each day or week and type them into one location on your computer. That way, you always know where to look to find old notes.
2. Organize all documents into folders.
This means both hard copies and digital copies. Try to keep both sets of folders similar in naming and type. Also make sure they are broad and use paperclips (or other folders on your computer) within each folder to group documents further. Make sure everything is labeled in a logical manner that is functional for you to use.
This will not only be helpful for you, but also for your team if you are using a shared drive. This will save you time in the future too, because they will not be wondering where a particular document went if they have an organized system where they can locate it.
3. Create a naming system for all your work.
Initially, it is recommended to go through all old documents and rename everything in a common way. List the topic or title, date, and whether it is an old or current copy. You can name your files, documents, and projects any way, just make sure it makes sense to you and stays consistent across the board.
Many of us share documents with coworkers though, which can make things difficult if they aren’t using the same system as you. Therefore, I highly advise that you all come to an agreement on a file naming system for the entire team to use.
While this seems unimportant and like a time suck, it truly will save time and confusion in the future. Make it a priority to meet as a team and discuss what you’d like the naming system to be and be sure to keep each other accountable to sticking to it.
4. Manage one main to do list.
Similarly to note taking, you may have to do lists scattered everywhere. Make sure you have one main to do list with all projects and priorities and work from that and that only. Managing multiple lists will only result in missed deadlines and forgotten projects.
If you’re someone who likes to rewrite their to dos each day or is constantly writing down lists to remember things, then consider dedicating one entire journal to all the lists you come up with throughout your day. Consider trying out a bullet journal to keep track of your work life.
5. Take time each week to regroup.
Whether it is every Monday morning when you first get to work or every Friday afternoon before you leave, set aside 30 minutes to go through all your recent notes and files. Work can get hectic and we are human so we are bound to get off track every now and then. Make sure you set aside the time. It will keep you from becoming disorganized again.
All of these methods will truly keep your desk and computer organized at work. Being this organized in the office can help decrease stress and increase productivity so try incorporating some of these tips today!