Best Tips on How to Get Organized at Work When Overwhelmed
If you’re like most people, you have a lot on your plate at work. Deadlines, meetings, paperwork, phone calls, emails – all of it can easily make you feel overwhelmed. However, a little organization can go a long way in making your life less stressful. We’re going to share a dozen simple tips on how to stay organized at work to help you stay on track.
Because when your workspace and your work routine are neat and tidy, everything goes more smoothly.
How to Stay Organized at Work: 12 Tips
1. Schedule Out Your Days
One of the best tips on how to stay organized at work is to create a schedule. Staying organized is more than just keeping your physical workspace neat and tidy. It’s also about keeping your routine organized.
Take the time to schedule out your days. Time blocking your work days will make it easier to stay focused, complete tasks efficiently and minimize distractions. Time blocking also allows you to adjust your schedule or change things around as needed in a structured way so that you can stay on track for the day.
Once you’ve created a schedule and time block your day, do your best to adhere to it and only make changes when something isn’t working.
2. Create a Routine
Along with creating a schedule, you also need to create a routine. Creating a routine and sticking to it will help you form habits that will keep your day and your office organized.
Your schedule can be the foundation of your routine, and you can build it from there. Some of the other tips on this list, such as blocking out time for emails or taking breaks, can also help you build out your routine.
3. Use Printable Planners
You’re creating schedules and routines, but how are you keeping them organized? Printable planners are a great tool to use to help you get organized at work. This is one of the best tips on how to stay organized.
Best of all – they’re free.
No matter your needs, you’re sure to find a planner that will meet them, whether it’s a:
- Weekly plan
- Daily plan
- Monthly plan
- To-do lists
- All of the above
Use these planners to help block out and organize your day, week, month or whatever you please.
It’s easy to create a schedule and routine in your head, but writing it down makes it official. It’s much easier to follow and stick to your schedule when it’s laid out in front of you. Creating task and to-do lists can also help ensure that you get things done more efficiently.
4. Don’t Multitask
When you have so many deadlines and tasks ahead of you for the day, it’s tempting to try and do several things at once. While it may feel like you’re getting more done, there’s a good chance that you’re not.
Rather than trying to juggle multiple things at once, focus all of your time and energy on one task. Once you’ve crossed that one off of your list, you can move on to the next.
Research shows that multi-tasking slows down your brain, affects your attention span and makes it harder to recall information over the long-term.
That’s why it’s so important to create schedules and routines. When you have everything planned out for the day ahead, you can focus on just one task at a time without feeling lost or overwhelmed.
5. Set Aside Time for Emails
How often do you check your email at work? If you’re like most Americans, you probably spend three or more hours per day just on work emails alone. That’s a lot of time wasted that could have otherwise been spent on productive tasks.
Plus, checking your email multiple times per day can easily throw you off track and lead to other distractions.
Rather than mindlessly checking your messages throughout the day, block out time in your schedule for emails. Maybe you check your emails first thing in the morning or just before you clock out for the day. Avoid checking emails at lunch – reserve that time for you.
Depending on the nature of your job, you may have to block out time at the start and end of the day for emails. The most important thing is just to make sure that you’re only using these dedicated times for emails.
If you can’t stop yourself from checking your messages throughout the day, use a website blocker to restrict your access outside of email hours.
6. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks
Making a schedule is a great way to make sure you’re staying on track and getting things done. But if you’re not scheduling in time for breaks, you’re going to find yourself burnt out and frustrated.
Research shows that breaks are essential for productivity and mitigating stress. Breaks give your mind some much-needed time to reset and relax, even if only for ten minutes.
If you want to keep your workday organized, make sure that you’re scheduling breaks throughout the day. Don’t do anything productive during your break. Relax, meditate or just sit quietly and allow yourself to rest.
7. Create a Place for Everything
To keep your physical workspace organized, make sure that you create a place for everything. When everything has a place, it’s easy to find what you need when you need it.
But here’s the secret to how to stay organized at work: you also need to get into the habit of putting things back into their homes. If you make the conscious effort to keep everything in its place, it will eventually become a habit, and staying organized will be second nature.
8. Declutter Your Desk
When you’re in the process of creating a place for everything, take a moment to declutter your space. Get rid of anything that isn’t absolutely essential to your workday. Keep just a few decorative items on your desk and just your necessary supplies.
A clutter-free desk will not only help you stay organized at work, but it will also help you stay focused on the tasks ahead. When you have too many things on your desk, it can make you feel stressed and make it even more challenging to get work done.
You can donate any items that you don’t want or need to ensure that nothing goes to waste.
9. Create Color-Coded Task Lists
Task lists are a great way to stay organized at work. When creating them, color-coding can help you prioritize tasks so that the most important ones get done first.
Color-coding in general can help you stay organized and focused. You can create your own color system, but here’s a good example:
- Red for your most important and urgent tasks
- Blue for enjoyable tasks or for your breaks
- White for planning
- Purple for creative tasks
- Gray for meetings
Eventually, your mind will associate these colors with their respective tasks. A quick glance at your list will give you a picture of the day ahead so that you can mentally prepare for what’s to come.
10. Use Labels
Like color-coding systems, labels are a practical way to keep your space organized. Labeling files, organizers and other items in your workspace can help you find things more easily and keep them organized.
Take the same label-creating approach for the files on your computer. Organize and label your files in relevant folders so that you can find what you need quickly and easily.
Although it may be tedious at first, creating a labeling system will save you time, keep you organized and help with productivity.
11. Use Organizers to Keep Your Most-Used Supplies Close By
Once you’ve decluttered your desk and pared everything down to the bare essentials, you can use organizers to keep your most essential items close by.
You likely have items that you’ll use every day. Keeping these items within arm’s reach makes it quick and easy to grab what you need and get on with the task ahead.
If you store all of your most used items across the room, you’ll have to get up each time you need to use them. While it’s great to take breaks to move around, having to do this dozens of times a day will only waste more time.
So, save yourself time and help yourself stay on track by keeping your most essential items nearby.
12. Clean Your Workspace Regularly
Organizing your workspace isn’t just a one-off thing. You have to keep at it every day to keep your space and your days organized.
So, when you’re creating your weekly schedule, consider setting aside time for cleaning. During your cleaning session, make sure that you’re:
- Getting rid of clutter and anything you no longer need
- Putting everything that isn’t in its place back in its home
- Cleaning and dusting
Cleaning your space can be ritualistic and help prepare you for the day or week ahead. For example, many people prefer to clean their workspaces at the end of the week, so they come into an organized space at the start of the next week.
Now that you know how to stay organized at work, it’s time to put these tips into action. You’ll find that staying organized has many benefits. Along with helping you get more done, organizing your day and workspace will help reduce stress.