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Hectic workdays often equate to cluttered surroundings, making it difficult to find supplies or complete paperwork. Extra time spent searching for misplaced items or trying to get comfortable takes valuable time away from your workday. It also sends a negative message to colleagues who witness you tearing through your belongings or barely making meetings. Solid organizational skills can help you better meet productivity metrics. No personal assistant, no problem. Developing organizational skills is an obtainable, worthwhile goal.
Break Bad Habits
Letting small things slide can easily snowball into larger problems including missed deadlines and damaged business relationships. Arrive to work and meetings 10 minutes early instead of rushing to beat the clock. Respond to voicemails periodically throughout each workday instead of allowing your inbox to reach capacity before acting. Complete to-do lists instead of merely drafting them. Making colleagues aware of your plans can give you an added incentive to follow through. It may also be beneficial to ask an organized colleague for guidance.
Organize Your Workspace
Composing and proofreading correspondence, returning emails or evaluating business opportunities from a disorganized workstation is difficult. Organizing your area is a necessity that entails more than just tossing clutter in a trash bin. Round up all of your office supplies and group like items together. Assess items for current and future usefulness before discarding them or buying additional supplies. Donate or recycle duplicate or outdated electronics. Consider the flow of your office as you place your desk and office furniture. Relocate active filing cabinets and storage bins to make them easily accessible. Avoid obstructing windows and vents for maximum airflow.
Manage Your Documents
Choose a filing system based on the amount and type of files you want to store, available space and confidentially requirements. Each system has its pros and cons. Open shelf systems take less space but are also less secure than traditional locking cabinets. Hanging file systems require space devoted to pulling out drawers. Effective physical and electronic document management also includes choosing memorable, consistent file names and creating folders for like items. For example, you may make folders for correspondence templates, signed documents or scanned business cards. Including dates in electronic file names can jog your memory when confronted with large lists of files. Color coding physical management systems can decrease search times.
Manage Your Time
Procrastinating and multitasking can wreak havoc on your productivity. Procrastination prevents you from staying ahead of assignments. Unforeseen issues such as weather-related power outages may not be your fault, but you will pay the price if your work is late because of them. Multitasking increases chances for errors due to omitting, overlooking or misunderstanding important details. Develop a system for completing individual tasks in chunks, before their due dates. Embracing productivity apps such as Evernote, Focus Lock and Mailtracker can streamline your workday activities and decrease paper usage.
Mika Lo has been producing online content since 2005. The majority of her work has been published in areas such as parenting, lifestyle and health. Lo has also assisted with the development of community and hospital-based patient education programs, including creative discharge classes for new mothers and assisting underprivileged patients with medication assistance and information.