Most of us our guilty of letting a load of unnecessary junk pile up on our desks – we all know that it isn’t productive, but the task of getting organised can seem so daunting.
Well today is the day – time to pull ourselves together and be the productive workers we know we can be! Assuming you’ve just cheered in agreement, here’s a checklist to help you through it.
1. Have a mass clean out
Get rid of anything that you don’t need – sort through that ever-growing stack of documents and throw out the half-eaten, stale pack of biscuits in your desk drawer. Make sure you’re left only with the stuff you need.
2. Rearrange the office
Whether you work from home or at an office with co-workers, your office space can be moved around to be more productive.
Remember in school when you would have to go and stand by the bin in order to sharpen your pencil? Don’t make that thing in your working environment – put a bin within easy reach of your desk, put the person who always needs to use the printer near the printer, and put the people working on projects together on desks next to each other.
3. Organise whatever is left after your clear out
The way you organise your desk will greatly affect your productivity levels. Have a system that you stick with for organising any documents that have to be on your desk (the in tray/out tray system never gets old). Keep the things you need, such as a pen, notebook, and stapler, within easy reaching distance.
4. Incorporate the new organised you into your everyday routine
Come up with a way to stay on top of everything – whether this is by creating a new to-do list each morning, sticking post it notes to your computer, or using a time management tool.
If you do have some sort of list of everything you need to do, add organisation to that list to remind you to keep everything in order and stay productive. Start incorporating this into your everyday routine by making sure everything is in order for the next time you’re at your desk when you leave for lunch and at the end of the day.
5. Be harsh on yourself when it comes to timekeeping
The best way to get the most done is to set deadlines for everything – we all know that it’s possible to put together an entire presentation in the 15 minutes before a meeting we’d forgotten about!
Don’t just list the things you need to do, set time periods to get them done. Then, when you’ve completed a task, make a note of how long it took you to complete it. This way, you’ll know how long a similar task will take to do in the future.
6. Focus on one task at a time
Don’t get distracted by another task halfway through the task you’re on. If you do this, you’ll end up with a lot of half-finished tasks at the end of the day, and you won’t get the satisfaction from ticking anything off your to-do list!
The biggest distraction can be emails popping up in the corner of your screen – try turning these notifications off and setting time slots throughout the day for returning emails and phone calls. Then, everything gets done on your time.
7. Get yourself organised digitally, as well as physically
Get a system in place for organising your documents on your computer if you haven’t already. Try starting each file name with the date to make things easy to find, for example.
Make it easier to find emails that you need by spending some time sorting through your email inbox. Delete everything you don’t need, file emails that you may need into categorised folders, and leave your inbox free for incoming emails, and emails that you’re currently acting on.