How To Stay Organized at Work and Why It Matters

Organizing your work provides a multitude of benefits that extend beyond your professional life. Staying organized at work improves focus, increases productivity, helps you meet important deadlines, and even can reduce stress and improve sleep.

When you are organized and know exactly where to locate a particular document or what your task next will be, you’re able to manage your time better. This makes it easier to meet benchmarks and goals and helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Being organized and focused can impact your professional relationships and reputation, as well. If you’re seen as organized and capable by clients and colleagues, you’re more likely to be trusted with important tasks and responsibilities.

While most of us recognize the value of good organization, we may not always know where to start or how to become better organized. In this blog, we outline some of the most successful approaches you can implement to stay organized at work and reap the rewards of doing so.

The Benefits of Staying Organized

When you stay organized at work, you can increase your productivity substantially because you will not waste time looking for things. Good organization translates into better time management and more time to work on important tasks and projects.

Believe it or not, increasing productivity through better organization can translate into higher profit margins. How much higher, you may ask? As much as 50 percent.

Being organized also can give you more room to be creative. When you’re disorganized, you may feel stress because you can’t find what you’re looking for — and studies have found that stress reduces creativity significantly.

On the other hand, good organization and being able to find what you need can foster a calmer mind with greater space to think creatively.

“Being organized requires intentionally developed skills, ingrained good habits, and—most of all—a mind that can repeatedly bring itself to a state of order and calmness, and a mental set that can devote itself to sifting out distractions, interruptions, intrusions, fatigue, forgetfulness, and overexcitement,” says licensed psychologist Dr. Mark Steinberg.

Your ability to stay organized at work also impacts your relationships with colleagues, employees, and clients. Staying organized sends them the unspoken message that you are good at what you do and care about the work you’re embarking upon together.

10 Ways To Stay Organized at Work

Whether or not it comes natural to you or it’s something that you have to work at, it should be clear that staying organized at work has benefits.

Here are our top 10 ways to stay organized at work:

  1. Choose the Right Workspace for You

Find the right environment for you to do your best work. This may be a private office because you need peace and quiet to think or a coworking space if being in a social environment inspires you.

  1. Make a To-Do List

While it may seem obvious, making a to-do list is an important step in getting organized at work. Write down everything you can think of that you need to do and come back to this list to add new things and cross items off as you complete them.

  1. Prioritize

Determine which items on your to-do list need to be completed first. Prioritizing allows you to focus on what’s most pressing first and to schedule time to devote to specific projects and tasks.

  1. Use Calendars and Planners

Calendars and planners are a great visual way to get and stay organized at work. Using calendars and planners can help you break down your long term goals into discrete projects with individual due dates.

  1. Schedule Blocks of Time for Deep Work

Multiple studies indicate that the most efficient way to approach work is to schedule blocks of time to devote to a specific project or task without distraction. When doing this deep work, as it’s called, you’ll want to put your phone out of reach and concentrate on the task at hand exclusively.

  1. Avoid Multitasking

The polar opposite of deep work, multitasking is more a myth than a reality. A Stanford study on multitasking found that chronic multitasking actually makes us less efficient because the human brain cannot focus on two tasks simultaneously.

  1. Save Time With Technology

Find a cloud-based technology that you’re comfortable with and use it to store all of your documents in one place. Use simple tools like the calendar on your smart phone, Google sheets, and task management apps like Asana to manage you and your team’s projects.

  1. Declutter Your Workspace

Your brain can only keep track of a few details at a time, which means that a cluttered desk and work area may overload your working memory. Cleaning up your workspace on a regular basis can make it easier for your single-task oriented brain to focus and be more productive.

  1. Take Breaks

Though it sounds counterintuitive, taking breaks throughout the work day actually keeps  you on task and more engaged with your work. Breaks from work are shown to reduce stress and anxiety, boost creativity and productivity, and improve mental health.

  1. Celebrate Wins Big and Small

Acknowledging accomplishments helps you maintain momentum and motivation to keep going. Even if it’s just with a cup of coffee, reward yourself when you complete a project or cross a few things off your to-do list.

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