Sifting to Simplify

The single most important aspect to succeeding at your job is being organized. Yet, for many people, it’s a nearly impossible task that creates more stress than it relieves. Being organized is key to staying on track when it comes to tackling various assignments (aka. multi-tasking!). The overall benefit is a stress-reduced work environment and a more relaxed employee.

My favorite tips for getting organized could go on for pages, but here are the essentials for every day:

•  To-Do Lists: I make a list every morning of things I need to get done that day. Not only does it help manage time but it also ensures that tasks are not left forgotten. The best part of my day? Seeing the crossed-off tasks!

•  Post-its: This tip goes hand-in-hand with the above. Using post-its to jot down quick messages or notes helps to keep track of thoughts throughout the day. I can often go from one call to the next to the next, so I typically use post-its to remind myself to do the follow-up tasks promised in each call. The notes go right on my computer screen—it’s impossible to forget things that are staring me in the face.

•  Calendars: My calendar of preference is Google Calendar, but 30 Boxes is also a nice choice. Having one calendar to keep track of all appointments, important dates, meetings, in one place will instantly organize your life. An added bonus is co-workers can send you group meeting invitations that can automatically be added to your calendar.

•  Keep desk area clean: Clear desk of clutter, miscellaneous papers, things that are not constantly needed. It will help keep a clear mind.

•  Avoid the printer: Try your best not to print off every document or e-mail received. Often times it is all too easy to press the button but this not only creates more clutter but also hurts the environment. Only print things that are absolutely necessary, and keep everything else in folders on your desktop.

•  Scan and Save: Scan important documents onto your computer and save them on your desktop as a PDF. Then file the original copy away in a filing cabinet. This will help eliminate paper piles around your desk area.

Use E-mail Folders: Create folders for different projects, clients and accounts you are working on. When you receive an email, move it to the designated folder. Not only will it prevent a constantly full inbox, but it will also be easy to find specific emails.

•  Boards: Hang a bulletin board or dry erase board next to your desk area. Put important papers or notes as a reminder for things you don’t want to forget. Added bonus – hang some pictures as well to keep your area personal and cheerful!

•  Passwords: Write down important passwords to accounts such as phone/internet, fax, e-mails, and different websites, and keep them in one place. There are several iPhone apps that help to make this possible, such as LockBox.

Implementing these tips into your everyday work life will ease stress and help you do a better job overall. What are some of your favorite tips to stay organized?

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