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Getting seriously organized is the need of the hour especially now since our homes have become our workplaces. Working on untidy desks or sitting in messy areas clutters our mind.
Organizing the area around us, our desks, and our houses in general, increases efficiency and things automatically get done faster.
This also happens because now we can find the things that we’d otherwise rely on our moms to find for us. (Don’t worry moms, we still need you in our lives!)
Disarray and clutter cause your mind to be un-organized, confused, less focused and stressed. This makes for an unhealthy work environment.
This is not something we actively want, do we? So the first order of the day is to start cleaning up your desk, then you can move to your work area, and then to other parts around your house.
You might even find things you didn’t know existed while doing this exercise.
I’ve listed 10 ways to help you get seriously organized – be it with respect to your work station or your house in general.
Apart from this, you can also take a look at the tidying expert, Marie Kondo, whose KonMari method and books, the first of which is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, are world famous.
# 1 Daily to-do lists, prioritize it
Making a checklist of things you need to finish for the day and prioritizing them by deadlines or by importance is a very efficient method of getting organized.
Not only are you jotting down what you need to do for the day, you are also tackling the time sensitive ones on priority basis.
And don’t even get me started on the pleasure I get of ticking items off my list which I’m sure is a universal happy feeling.
# 2 Write everything down
Keep a journal or post-its handy in places where you think you’ll need to take notes like near the telephone, next to your computer/laptop, at your bedside stand, etc.
Write everything down so that you don’t forget to send out the email you discussed in the morning or to bring a specific item that you would need to prepare your meal later.
#3 Use Planners
Planners keep you organized and efficient as hell. Depending on the planner you pick up, you can take down notes, fill in appointments, events, organize your day.
Some organizers help you stay hydrated by letting you fill in how much water you’ve drunk in the day, some let you keep track of your exercises and some even let you keep track of your period!
#4 Leave Buffers
Keeping your calendar chock-a-block with meetings, calls and events is going to leave you very exhausted.
It might also leave you irritated if one of your meetings goes on for longer than you provisioned for thereby having a cascading effect on the rest of the meetings scheduled for the day.
Leaving buffers for such unexpected delays will give you a few minutes to gather yourself before the next scheduled event without leaving you harried.
Don’t forget to take some time off for yourself. Squeeze in a relaxing coffee break in between or even a short afternoon nap too if you’d like.
# 5 Declutter and clean your workspace
Cluttered workspaces or inboxes are big put offs.
They leave you irritated when you can’t find the pen you swear you put down just a minute ago or when you can’t find a Post-it to write your “next big idea” on that was by the mousepad the last time you saw it.
Watch how your mood instantly changes on having a clean workspace.
Extend the decluttering exercise to your emails as well.
Seeing 100+ unread emails might leave you procrastinating on tackling them so clean as they come in – put aside 15-20 minutes a day to do this task.
Alternatively, you could put aside a longer duration, say once a week, to do it.
# 6 Get Rid of items you no longer need or have expired
Old notebooks, pieces of paper with random notings or documents you no longer reference or need can clutter up a space quickly so throw ‘em if you don’t need ‘em.
This extends to expired medicines and even makeup which can be hazardous for your body and health so periodically throw them away too.
# 7 Sort everything and label them
Storage boxes can be used for practically everything.
Old items that are no longer needed can be stashed away in a box and put on top of your cupboard, all your stationery could go in a small box to be kept on your table, etc.
Sorting everything and putting them away in boxes will give the perception of more space and make your place look tidier.
Don’t forget to label all your boxes so that you know what’s inside a box the next time you find it.
Label files with their purpose or by client names and sort them by date so it is easier to find.
Name revisions accordingly and smartly which means using xx_final, xx_final_final or xx_final3 is a BIG NO NO. Delete old files and folders.
#8 Tidy up whenever you can
The advantage of this task is that work doesn’t pile on in the end.
Imagine cooking all your meals through the day and leaving all the dishes to do at night.
One thing is you will be tired after a whole day’s work.
Secondly, seeing a pile of dirty dishes in the sink will put your mood off instantly.
The same applies to your work desk as well.
If you leave files, papers, folders, etc. all scattered around to be dealt with later, work will just pile on and you will feel overwhelmed to clean up all of it once it has.
So tidy as you go to deal with smaller messes at a time.
#9 Setup appointments, meetings and events in your calendar for the month
Scheduling your commitments, i.e., appointments, meetings, zoom calls, in advance is super beneficial.
It doesn’t leave you wondering if you’ve missed an appointment or forgotten about a meeting.
#10 Take breaks
Burning yourself out isn’t going to help you in the long run.
Use the Pomodoro technique. Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals.
Each interval is known as pomodoro. Each interval should last 25 minutes after which you can take a 5-minute break.
After 4 such pomodoros, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes.