How To Be Organised at Work To Reach Your Career Goals Faster

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organisational skills are some of the most important skills you can have as a professional. These skills can help you succeed at work. Being organised can help you meet deadlines, perform your duties and responsibilities while minimising stress. In this article, we show you how to be organised at work and explain the benefits of staying organised.

How to be organised at work

Learning how to be organised at work can make it easier to focus on tasks so that you can be more efficient in the workplace. There are many ways to stay organised in the workplace. Consider taking these steps to maximise your workplace productivity and efficiency:

1. Time block your days

Time blocking your days can help you focus on your duties and responsibilities. To use this strategy, plan out your calendar so that you can complete certain tasks at specific times of the day. For example, in an eight-hour workday, you might work with 16 30-minute time blocks, delegating tasks such as creating reports, meeting with team members and responding to emails to each 30-minute block. When you use time blocks as a guide for your day, you can be flexible and adjust them as needed based on meetings and other last-minute requests you receive.

Related: 10 Effective Time Management Skills and Their Benefits

2. Establish a routine

When you set a daily routine, you're more likely to establish habits that can give you structure and make each day go more smoothly. It can also help you meet your goals more efficiently because the steps you take to reach them are now more streamlined. A routine can become more automatic the longer you have it in place.

3. Adhere to your schedule

If you plan to use the time blocking strategy, make sure you adhere to this schedule and your daily routine as best as you can. Although deviations can happen, setting a schedule can make it easier to get back to the tasks you need to complete. Schedules are also crucial when you're working with colleagues on a project. For instance, your colleagues may depend on you to complete a task before they can do their part, so it's important to adhere to your schedule to make sure you complete your tasks on time.

Related: A Guide to Work Hours in Hong Kong (With Types of Schedules)

4. Use your email calendar

In the workplace, you likely have occurring meetings with managers, co-workers or both. If you use an email calendar to set up alerts for these meetings, you can remain organised and prepare for them in advance. An email calendar is also useful for inputting due dates on tasks so you can complete them on time and adhere to your routine.

5. Write everything down

Writing everything down can help you remember important information and provide a place to reference your notes later on if needed. Consider writing things down on a notebook or a note-taking application, depending on what suits you and your workspace best. You can write down a to-do list, important dates and meeting notes.

6. Create a colour-coded to-do list

When items are colour-coded, it's much easier to glance at your to-do list and determine if a task requires immediate attention. For instance, you can colour-code based on each task and its priority level. This way, you can immediately determine which items you need to complete first.

7. Create checklists and templates

If you have recurring tasks and projects, create templates and checklists so that you can streamline and standardise your work processes. A checklist can help you avoid missing any steps while working on a project. A template can help you simplify repetitive tasks, as you don't need to start from the very beginning each time. Thus, both tools can improve your organisation, focus and productivity.

8. Establish a filing system

Whether for digital or physical paperwork, establishing a filing system can help you reduce clutter to remain organised. For instance, you can set up folders for different types of important documents, such as contracts and invoices. You can also create email folders for different categories, such as senders or projects, to make sure you're saving all important correspondence without keeping too many items in your inbox.

9. Clean up regularly

A clean workspace can help keep you motivated, productive and focused. It can also make it easier and quicker to find important files and other paperwork. Consider taking some time each week to throw away unnecessary clutter and reorganise items into folders and desk drawers.

10. Set up desk organisers

When you clean up your workspace, it might help to use drawer and desk organisers. For instance, you can set up an organiser for your notebooks, pens and pencils and another one for paper clips, push pins and other small office items. Consider keeping similar items together and maximising the space on your desk and inside your drawers to keep your space organised and clean.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition, How To Use and Examples

11. Complete one task at a time

Instead of multitasking, consider focusing your efforts on completing one task or project at a time. This can help you meet deadlines, lower workplace stress and prevent mistakes. You might also feel more accomplished when you focus on a specific task or project without distractions, and once it's done, you can check that task or project off of your to-do list and use it as momentum to start your next task.

12. Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks can help you stay organised during your workday. It can also help you remain focused and minimise distractions. Consider getting up from your desk and taking a quick walk around your office building. You can also go sit outside and enjoy the outdoors for a few minutes. If you're working off of momentum and focusing on a particular task, wait until you get to a good stopping point to take a break.

13. Set aside specific time for emails

Rather than spending a lot of time throughout the day checking your inbox, consider setting aside blocks of time in your schedule to check your email. During these times, you can respond to priority messages, save any emails that you need to get to later and organise informational emails into folders. By keeping your inbox organised, you can stay focused on tasks without getting distracted while ensuring that you still respond to emails in a timely manner.

Related: Email Etiquette: The Professional Business Email Format

14. Use the right tools

Regardless of your job or the industry you work in, you can benefit from certain tools and software, such as project management software or a time management application, for managing your time and tasks and keeping you focused. There are also applications for collaborating and reporting. Look for tools that can keep you organised and help you perform your duties more effectively and efficiently.

Benefits of keeping organised at work

When you're at work, it's important to be organised so that you can balance multiple tasks at once. Being organised can also help you in the following ways:

Helps you accomplish goals

When you're organised, you're more likely to accomplish your career goals. With a plan in place, work tends to be more streamlined and you're able to complete tasks more quickly. For example, being organised can save you time, which may allow you to pursue other career goals in your free time, such as going back to school or earning certifications to further your role in a company. When you're organised, you're also able to help your employer reach its objectives.

Allows you to maintain work-life balance

Organisation skills can contribute to better work-life balance, as you're more likely to complete your tasks during working hours instead of needing to take a project home, work overtime or make work calls and answer emails outside of your workplace. You can also enjoy your weekends at home if you can finish all of your assigned tasks during the workweek. Maintaining your work-life balance can help you get ready to start each new week with a clear mind.

Helps you keep up the momentum

When you remain organised during the day, you can complete tasks more quickly and build momentum in your work. Momentum can provide you with the motivation you need to complete tasks on time and in order of priority. It can also help you check items off of your to-do list and can contribute to a sense of accomplishment at the end of the workday.

Boosts your productivity

By keeping organised, you can save a lot of time looking for things and may have more time to work on important tasks. Being organised can improve the flow of communication between you and your colleagues, which can improve your productivity. After all, better communication leads to better results.

Helps you stay focused

By having a clean and organised workspace, you can focus more on your tasks. Not only is it easier to find what you need, but it can also provide fewer potential distractions. When you're focused on a task, you may also have a better sense of what else you need to do and by what deadline. Consider writing your tasks in order of importance so that you know exactly what to work on next.

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