Since starting my new job last week, I have had organisation on my mind. I wanted to begin this new chapter with a clean, tidy and organised work life, and although sometimes things can get hectic, I feel I have managed (and will hopefully continue to manage) the art of organisation within the workplace.
- Write lists
Something I have done for years (since I was in high school) is write lists. Whether it is a list of things I need to complete for the day, week or month, I find that writing things down at the start of the day/week/month can be really helpful in getting things out onto paper. Take a moment each morning while you drink your first of many coffees for the day and write down the important tasks you need to complete/start on. When you have completed a task, cross it out – it feels so satisfying to see your list decrease as time goes on, and it also keeps you up to speed in the instance of someone asking you for a status report. If it’s crossed out, it’s done!
Taking the above List tip to another level is the art of prioritisation. Write your list and then take a moment to go through your tasks and have a think: what needs to be done ASAP? What can wait a day? Number your items from 1 (most important) to help you organise what you need to achieve. Another really important thing with prioritisation is speaking up and asking questions. If 3 people give you work that needs to be done ‘ASAP’, sometimes asking when exactly the task needs to be done can help ease stress. Sometimes people are happy to wait a day or two for things and others need things arranged right away. Speak up so that you aren’t caught in the middle of a rush that may not be needed.
Group your paperwork into files and store them in the same spot. Same goes for digital files on your computer/laptop – the easier you group things together, the easier it will be to find them in future. Be basic with what you call your files (for example: Invoices, Bank Statements, Customer Records) and then break things down further if you feel it works better that way (for example: Invoices – May, Bank Statements – 2016, Customer Records – A-C). Remember to be very basic with the names you give your folders/files so that finding files in future won’t be a headache.
- Use Microsoft Outlook’s ‘Calendar’and ‘Tasks’ Features
Take advantage of the tools you have to schedule and plan your days. Once you get the hang of Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar and Task features, it is so easy to not only keep track of your own productivity, but others’ as well. Calendar allows the user to create events and invite other attendees to the events, creating an event on their calendar as well. You can send Tasks to others with instructions on what is needed to be done and the date which it should be prioritised for. Once the task has been completed and ticked off, you will be notified. I find it really worthwhile to use whatever calendar feature your computer may have to really set out what time you are using.
- Keep Tidy
This is really a given, but it needs to be said – clean up. Tidy your desk. Wash your coffee cup. Put your waste paper in the recycling or use it as note paper. File away books and bundle up your spare pens. The tidier your office/deskspace is will help you in the event of a stressful day and will hopefully make it easier when you are desperately needing to find a certain thing. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to tidy so that you can arrive to a clutter-free area the next morning.