Have you ever woken up from a dead sleep thinking, “Did I send out that status report?” or “What was I supposed to do from last Friday’s team meeting?” There’s nothing like the fear of being unorganized to disrupt your rest. In this article, I will give some tips for staying organized professionally. With a little effort and a sustainable plan in place, you can reap the benefits of staying organized in your professional life.
Organization Reduces Stress
Ronni Eisenberg, Professional Organizer and Time Management Consultant at Organize Yourself! states that, “Organization is important because it helps to reduce the stress from the daily and chronic chaos in your life. Being organized helps you to manage the overwhelm you feel because you have too much to do, you do not have the time, and you don’t know where to begin. Organization helps you to find what you are looking for, get to appointments on time, and get things done.”
Tips for Staying Organized Professionally
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Write it down or type it out.
Getting ideas, tasks, topics down is a good first step. This will allow you to visually see the magnitude of what needs to happen. Next, you can ‘bucketize’ the items. Sometimes, you may have more than one item that is similar or items overlap. This way you can cross one of them off or rename to include both.
Finally, you should prioritize them. I typically will rank them in order of importance from one to 10. Eisenberg also mentions prioritization as a key question to ask yourself: “What’s the most important thing for me to get done right now? What must get done and what can wait?”
Create a spreadsheet of daily or weekly recurring tasks to complete.
I, personally, keep a sheet with project names and tasks to complete on a certain day each week or each month. As I complete the tasks, I highlight the task name in green to visually remind myself that I’ve completed it. If I’ve partially completed it, I’ll highlight it in yellow and insert a link in the next column with the document so I can refer back and complete it.
Utilize your calendar.
I’ve linked my personal and work email accounts on my phone, so I can view events on the same calendar to stay in sync with schedules. You should also block off time on your calendar to complete tasks. This works as a visual reminder but also helps you mentally and physically block out the required time necessary to accomplish your tasks in a timely manner. You can also link documents within the task to easily reference what you need to work on.
Create folders in your inbox.
Create project folders, team folders, etc. in your inbox to easily file and/or retrieve emails. Once an email has been tackled, file it away. Use your inbox as a to-do list versus an unmanageable black hole.
Utilize the star function for important emails in case there is a need to review and/or take action later on. Create inbox rules if you happen to be on email distribution lists that junk up your inbox but that contain content you possibly may need to review eventually.
Try this inbox hack. If you find yourself with a lot of folders, and there are folders that you utilize more often than others, and the name of a particular folder that you need regularly falls lower in the alphabet, you can insert a symbol to the beginning of that folder’s name to bump it to the top of your list. For example, you could rename that folder *Project X, which would then bump that folder to the top of your list of inbox folders because you placed an asterisk symbol to the beginning of the folder’s name.
Use a notebook.
Some people prefer handwritten tasks lists over the use of digital tools. Just keep in mind that it is important to title your notes with the name of the project or call with a date, who attended, key points and action items.
Be sure to capture action items or next steps and who will be tackling them. I typically draw a circle, note the responsible person’s name, write the letters “AI” (action item) and then list the action items. When I complete an action item, I manually check off the circle for that action item.
Staying organized professionally is satisfying.
Staying organized will not only take the mental pressure off yourself of trying to remember things, but also gives you satisfaction in visually marking it off as completed or accomplished for the day/week/month. Yes, I’m one of those people who loves creating to-do lists and finds so much enjoyment in crossing things off!
By using these tips for staying organized professionally, your stress levels will decrease, you may finally get a good night’s rest, and your productivity is bound to grow. Plus, you will also be presenting yourself in a professional and dependable manner. Need a professionally organized team to manage your website project? Contact us today. We’d love to keep your project organized, on budget, and launched on time.