By J. Stasiw
Online Career Tips Editor
Believe it or not, we don’t all live in a chaotic world of last-minute reports, altered deadlines and messy desks. A lot of office workers have their own system of organization, and it makes a big difference when important tasks are being assigned out.
Being organized doesn’t make you the office brown-noser. Organization makes you more reliable and more efficient in what you do.
So what if you like to surround yourself with chaos? That doesn’t mean you can’t get organized and be more effective in your daily tasks. Try adopting these five habits to streamline your work life:
- Use a calendar.
- Don’t ignore emails as they come in; instead, categorize them in order of priority.
- Complete the simplest tasks first.
- Make notes on difficult assignments, and save a soft copy of them on your computer.
- Be consistent when you name files.
A calendar is a pretty simplistic tool. You can use your Outlook work calendar, or you can use something like the calendar function in Google that ties into your personal phone and email. Mark down when important projects are due, and also block out time to get work done instead of having meetings.
In the case of emails, NEVER ignore a co-worker’s email just because you’re not working in the middle of a project with them. This could be a missed opportunity that you may regret later. If you’re simply too busy for the overflow of mail you’re getting, then set aside a time to review the work in chunks.
The rest of the tips are pretty self-explanatory. If something takes five minutes to do, then do it now! Putting it off may mean it doesn’t get done by its due date.
Keep your co-workers happy! Take notes as assignments come in so you’re not searching for the answer later. It’s also a pain to ask your colleague the same question three times. Ask them once and record the answer in a place you’ll remember to find it later. Or just keep virtual sticky notes on your desktop for quick reminders.
Finally, one of the biggest pet peeves of an organized person is naming conventions and consistency. Don’t hide a file behind several folders with a name that makes no sense. Stick with an abbreviation or a clear name for the assignment. It’ll help your colleagues to be more independent when they need to find the files later.
Try a new habit every day, then gradually start to add them one by one into your daily routine. Eventually, you’ll have all five as part of your arsenal to keep your work life in better order.