Tips for Better Organization at Work

March 14, 2015 by Raymond Lee

Does this image look all too familiar? Being organized at work allows you to be much more productive and get things done. Below are tips for better organization at work.


1. Clean up and clean out!  Clean up the top of your desk so that you have a space to work efficiently.   Clean out all of your desk drawers, filing cabinets, and storage spaces.  Throw away paperwork that is no longer needed and store documents that you will need in the future.  Remove all clutter.

2. Create a filing and storage system that is easy for you to use. 

·       For paperwork – use file folders to sort and organize based upon topic.  Use color-coded files to find information faster.  Sub-divide larger files with interior files if necessary.  Use desk trays on top of the desk if you need to organize papers that you are working on.  Use storage boxes for paperwork that is not needed now but may be needed in the future.  Use magazine boxes to store trade publications and product catalogs.  For articles, use a file folder or scan into your computer.

·       For incoming mail – sort it into file folders:  file, read, and contact.

·       For emails – create a folder system within your email so you can group emails according to main topic.  This makes it easier to find an email when necessary and keeps your inbox from being too cluttered. 

·       For online documents – once again, create a folder system by topic and sub-folders if necessary for larger projects.  You do not want to spend time searching for the documents you need when working on a project.

·       For office supplies – use containers to store pens, pencils, paper clips, etc.  An organizer desk tray in a desk drawer is useful or jars/containers on top of the desk (if you do not have drawers) make it easier to find what you need when you need it.

3.     Use one calendar.  Decide which type of calendar works best for you – paper or online.  Online calendars make it easier to input recurring appointments and can often be accessed from your mobile device.  However, you need to determine what system works best for you and stick to it.

4.     Make sure you input all appointments and events.  For online calendars, it is also useful to use the Reminder function so that you are alerted to upcoming project deadlines or meetings.

5.     Make to-do lists.  Create a long-term to-do list to capture all of your goals for the upcoming year.  Also create short-term to-do lists to make sure you are being efficient each day toward those larger goals.  It is important to prioritize your tasks and assign deadlines so that you are using your time wisely.  It is also important to check these lists regularly to make sure you are not getting off track with what needs to be accomplished.

6.     Straighten your work-space at the end of the day.  Taking a few minutes at the end of the day to clean up, will save you time in the long-run.  It allows you to make sure you achieved what you needed to that day and it allows you to start fresh the next day.

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee is the President of Careerminds, a global outplacement company based in Wilmington, Delaware. He has over 20 years of human resource, outplacement, and career consulting experience. He has his bachelor’s in psychology and holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University. He is active in SHRM and ATD. Raymond’s been featured on SiriusXM Business Radio, CareerTalk, and the Wall Street Journal and he’s published a book titled, Clocking Out: A Stress-Free Guide to Career Transitions.

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