How to be Organized
Taking Control of Your Day
Learn how to organize
Time is really the only capital any human being has, and the one thing he can't afford to waste. – American inventor Thomas Edison
Do you waste much time during your day due to disorganization? Perhaps you spend 5 minutes searching for a misplaced file, another 5 looking for an email detailing an important meeting, and perhaps 10 minutes more finding today's to-do list, lost in the piles of papers on your desk. Before you know it, you've spent an hour throughout the day looking for things you can't find. And that's just one day! Imagine how much time you're losing each week, each month, and each year!
Many people struggle with disorganization. And, while some think they can succeed amidst the chaos, this disorganization can end up costing a high price. Disorganization can hold us back from getting the promotion we've always wanted. It can block our creativity, add stress to our lives, and prevent us from being as productive and effective as we could be.
In this article, we'll look at some strategies for getting organized, so that we can start living and working to our full potential.
Organizing Best Practices
Use a notebook – One strategy that many organized people use is to work with a notebook. This notebook is like a "catch-all" for your thoughts and for what you do during the day.
For instance, use your notebook to take notes when you're talking with a colleague or with a client on the phone. If you're working and need to remember to tell your boss something, write it down in your notebook. If you have a brainstorming session in the afternoon, your ideas can go in there too.
The advantage of a notebook is that you keep all of your thoughts, conversations, and ideas in one place. And, once things are written down, you don't have to waste mental energy remembering everything!
It's helpful to start a new, dated page each day. This way, you can easily go back and find the information you need.
Get organized during the first 15 minutes of your day – When you walk into the office in the morning, spend your first 15 minutes looking at what you need to do that day. Start with the "Next Actions" list from your Action Program , if you have one – or make a To-Do List , with your most important priorities at the top. This gives you a solid grasp of what tasks are most important to complete first, and what you can complete later in the afternoon.
During this organization time, knowing when you do your best work can also be a helpful scheduling tool. Find out more with our article Is This a Morning Task?
Clear your desktop – Your desktop can often become a "catch-all" zone. There are old papers, future projects, files you're currently using, and a pile of papers you simply haven't put away yet. Although some people feel they work better with a cluttered desk, it's distracting and inhibiting for many of us.
If you want to get organized, then clearing your desktop is a smart strategy. This can be a time-consuming task, so it might be best to work on this at the end of the day or at the weekend. It's important to do this slowly, especially if your desk is extremely cluttered!
Start by clearing everything off of your desk. File papers and reports that you've finished using, and recycle anything you don't need. Office supplies should go in a drawer or cabinet.
The items that are left are probably files and paperwork that you currently need.