Organization and discipline are the two pillars for productivity at work and not only. Being organized will make you do things that you think you don’t have time for. In the following article you will learn 5 tips for making your work organized and multiple tools for helping you get started and be consistent.
Why you need to be organized
Being organized is a great benefit not only for work, but other spheres of life as well. When you are organized and disciplined
∙ you manage to do more things than others
∙ you learn to control your time and get the most out of it
∙ deadlines don’t scare you
∙ you are not constantly on needles about not managing anything on time
Starting from a young age, in school people are taught to be disciplined and organized. Some turn it into part of their everyday routine and retain it far into adulthood, while others struggle with it and need to get reused to it later in the workplace.
Whether you belong to the first group and consider yourself well-organized or like the second group you still struggle with staying focused on work for a long time, you will nonetheless benefit from the following tips.
Let’s get started
Here are 5 tips to make your working process and time organized
1. Start planning your time
Planning your day beforehand is the first way of staying on track throughout your work. It does not mean you need to plan every single detail, but having a picture of what your next day is going to look like takes some load off your brain.
Some people go even further to plan a whole week beforehand.
Start by dedicating an hour every week or day to planning the next one. Luckily, there are many tools that will simplify this process for you.
If you want to do the planning digitally, on your computer or phone, apps like Todoist, Microsoft To Do, Evernote or even your phone’s built-in notes and calendar will be enough.
If you are a crafty person, there’s something for you as well. There are planners and bullet-journaling or BuJos.
As a creative and crafty person, you will enjoy the process of dedicating the Friday evening to writing down, illustrating and planning in your journal. You can find dozens of examples on the internet, but you can still make yours special in your own way.
Bullet-journaling involves not only planning and writing down to-do lists, but also making calendars, devoting a section for notes, tracking mental and physical health and more.
I tried bullet-journaling back in university and let me tell you it was not only effective for planning but also gave me a chance to do something creative in the midst of busy university life.
Remember that you do not need fancy journals or planners, just a simple notebook will do. The important thing is to try, see if you like it and stay consistent.
2. Remove possible distractions
Remember that one time you got a notification while working, went to check what it was only to look back at the clock to see you wasted more time on it than you had initially intended.
You are not alone.
Distraction is one of the top productivity hindrances many people experience in their work process.
According to this article, a study showed that the most common distractions include
∙ Browsing the net
∙ Gossiping/Conversation with Co-workers
∙ Social media/Email
∙ Snack breaks
∙ Noisy co-workers
Luckily, there are tips and tricks for dealing with these as well.
- Start by putting away your phone and turning off unnecessary notifications.
- Use a different browser for work only. Believe it or not, not having quick access to your personal social media or other websites you use outside of work, you will most likely not bother going there and signing in again.
Even if this doesn’t stop you, go ahead and block those distracting websites.
You’ll thank yourself later.
- Use the Pomodoro technique. It’s a time management method that requires you to concentrate on your work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-10-minute break and repeat the cycle.
Take longer breaks (20-30 minutes) after 3 pomodoro sections. You can use the Pomofocus website as a timer.
- Declutter your desk and surroundings as much as you can. Go through your belongings at least once a week and get rid of unnecessary things. You will stay so much more concentrated when you have a clean and tidy desk.
3. Take BREAKS
More and more studies are proving how important breaks are. Breaks allow your brain to have some rest from the concentrated work and reset itself. As a result our productivity and performance rise significantly.
This article from the American Psychological Association mentions different studies showing the effectiveness of breaks on the brain’s performance.
One such experiment was carried out on two groups of students who were given a task requiring concentration. One group did not have a break during the 45-minute task, while the other was given a 5-minute break in the middle of the task. The latter were told to spend the free time however they wanted without leaving the room.
Of course, the group that had a short break performed much better than the one without a break.
Such studies are numerous, so maybe you should consider more breaks as well.
You can use the Pomodoro method from the previous section as a starter and see for yourself how greatly your performance and time management improve.
4. Use organizational software
There are so many great digital tools out there that many people are missing out on. Tools like organizational and management apps, spreadsheets, reminders, note taking apps, to name a few.
Let’s take a look at some of them and see which ones you have been missing out on.
∙ Spreadsheets– great for working with data, for organizing it into columns and rows, for making charts and graphs.
∙ Reminders– imagine having someone remind you about your plans. Most phones have a built-in reminder, so for this one you do not need to go out of your way and find an extra app.
However, if you don’t have one, try Todoist or Microsoft To Do.
∙ Mind Mapping Tools– to give your mind freedom and let your thoughts wander on the screen.
When you need to come up with new ideas, mind mapping is the way. And if you want to map your ideas in a fancy and colorful way, you can use MindMeister.
But if you ask me, nothing beats the good old pen and paper.
∙ Time tracking tools– efficient for keeping remote work and teams organized. With a time tracker you do not only monitor the time worked, but are also mindful of when you start, finish and do your work throughout the day. Try WebWork as such a tool.
∙ Note-taking apps– it’s like having a small notebook at hand anytime.
Have an idea? jot it down right away. You can use Evernote, Notion, or even built-in phone apps. But make sure to check whether your built-in notes app has a synchronization option.
∙ Management software– whether you need to manage a team or a project of your own, management tools will be of great assistance. You can assign, monitor and control your employees, or again if you are working by yourself. You can try Asana and Zoho Projects.
5. DON’T multitask
Start prioritizing your work and tasks and do one at a time. Many people try to multitask and think they can actually do more work that way. But the actual result is that by tackling several things at the same time, they don’t produce as efficient results, they burn out faster and don’t really complete any of those tasks efficiently.
On the other hand, when you focus on one thing at a time, your brain has only one issue to deal with and spares no effort to solve it. Only after completing it, will you feel at ease to start worrying about the next thing and so on.
Even if you are only thinking about getting started, you are already making the first step.
Your next move should be putting these tips into action. Try and find what works best for you.
But know that one thing is certain; with the results you’ll make when being organized, you will never want to go back.
Hopefully, you learned something from this article and are now going to go plan your next day.
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