Even if your personal life is perfectly organized, it isn't always easy to transfer those skills to your work life. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a freelancer, or an employee, being organized at work is a key to efficiency, time-saving, and deadline meeting.

The better organized you are, the simpler your job will be to do.

If your organizational skills are currently pretty pathetic, these five tips will help you get going today:

1. Start with pen and paper

There are a million digital tools in the world that help people manage their work lives. If you have one you want to try, that's fantastic, but if you're new to the world of organization, it's a good idea to just start with pen and paper.

Why? Because they're inexpensive, you probably have them within reach right now, and they'll help you get going.

If you start your quest for better organization with reading online articles about the best organizational widgets and notifications options, you'll get lost in details and never actually start organizing. Your best bet is to figure out how you organize things, and then find a tool that lets you do that, rather than trying to fit the tool from the start.

2. Embrace lists

When you're just starting with getting organized, you need to complete a total survey of plates are spinning, as well as what tasks you need to work on going forward.

Lists are a great way to get started. Lists get everything out of your head and free up brain space for more complicated tasks down the road.

If you try to put everything on one list, you will likely get overwhelmed and want to quit. A better plan is to start with broad categories.

You might have "To-Do Today," "To-Do This Week," and "Ongoing Long Term," for example. Then, you might have categories for any major projects that are upcoming or in progress.

Once you have your categories, start listing more granular items. Today's To-Do list might include checking with a coworker about status, emailing a different department to see what's going on with a report, and sending in a payroll statement, for example.

As you break down tasks in your projects, you may be able to break them up into tasks that will eventually migrate to Today or This Week to-do lists.

3. Embrace priorities

Once you have a good idea of what you have going on, the next step is to figure out what has to happen immediately.

It's often a good idea to organize your daily schedule in a way that gives you natural breaks and changes in attention to refreshing your mind. For example, you might schedule an hour cleaning paperwork off your desk and then walk to another department to check up on the status of an item.

Many highly organized professionals choose three things off their to-do lists to accomplish right now and then choose three more when those are done. This helps keep them moving without getting overwhelmed at the quantity of items.

4. Choose a time to organize tomorrow

What makes you feel good about your day? Do you feel better knowing that you can walk into work and dive straight into a project that needs a great deal of focus and attention first thing?

When you know how you want to start your day, you can choose when you will make a habit of organizing. Usually, the beginning or end of the day is best.

People who like to organize at the beginning of the day often want to start with a clear goal or an easy task or two, while those who like to organize at the end of the day want a feeling of leaving work at work, and being ready for tomorrow.

5. Reward yourself for success

If you want to create a habit, you need to reward yourself for your success. For some people, simply crossing items off their to-do lists is reward enough; for others, an extra break or a nice coffee in the morning as a reward for getting things done in a more efficient manner might work.

You should choose something that makes you smile, and feel like you're doing something good by approaching your work in a more organized manner.

We often hear that entrepreneurs are too busy to get organized. The truth is that anyone can organize their work, and the more organized you can be, the less busy you will feel. You might have a lot to do, but that feeling of being out of control and constantly putting out fires will fade, letting you focus on the aspects of your business that matter the most to you.

What tricks and tips do you offer to people who are just now trying to get organized?

Published on: Oct 12, 2016
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