7 tips to help you become more organized at work

Submitted by A.J. Miller of Miller Organizing

1. Get your workspace organized

Clear your desk and other horizontal surfaces of all unnecessary gadgets and items that you don’t use every day. Keep frequently used items within arm’s reach. Create space and breathing room so you can be more productive. Clean up your bulletin board. Throw away all the old Post-it notes you have scattered around. Use a vertical step rack or desktop file for “action” or important files. Arrange your furniture and equipment so you have easy access to the things you need. If the products, equipment and tools you have don’t work well for you, get new ones that will.

2. Get your information organized

If your filing system doesn’t work well, create one that does. Make sure you can find the papers you need when you need them. Clean up your computer’s desktop by organizing electronic documents into folders much like the file folders of your paper filing system. Delete or move unnecessary or useless documents into the trash. Check and respond to email only at designated times of the day. Avoid spending your time constantly checking your email. It will help if you turn off the incoming mail sound that alerts you to new mail.

3. Avoid interruptions

Place your desk so it doesn’t face the door of your office. This will help ensure that you don’t catch people’s eyes, which will cut down daily interruptions. Stand up to greet people who enter your office, and don’t invite them to sit down. This will allow you to control the length of the interruption. Establish office hours like college professors do for their students. Ask drop-ins to come back during that time to see you. Let colleagues and staff know that interruptions outside of office hours are not forbidden but rather discouraged. If someone has an urgent issue or can’t continue to work productively until the issue is resolved, they should come talk to you right away. Otherwise they should try to wait for your office hours. If you have to speak with someone, go to his or her office. That way, you can control the length of the visit by excusing yourself when you’re done and leaving.

4. Outsource staff

If you don’t have staff to assist you, think about hiring a temporary or freelance professional who will work on an as-needed, contract basis.

5. Manage your time

Use only one calendar or planner to keep track of your appointments. It’s less confusing than multiple tracking methods and prevents you from accidentally double booking your time. Be sure to check it every day so things don’t fall through the cracks. Try to leave at least 15 free minutes before and after appointments for unexpected delays or other problems that might arise.

6. Draw from experience

When you start to lose steam on a project, re-energize and re-motivate yourself by remembering a past success. Use the positive memory of that experience to inspire you to carry on with the project at hand.

7. Manage meetings

Send out an agenda to participants before the meeting with discussion time limits for each item. Ask participants to prepare for the discussion ahead of time. Stick to agreed-upon time limits during the meeting. Be strict about beginning and ending your meeting on time and feel free to start without latecomers. Keep track of any actions you agreed to take by putting them in your calendar or planner.

Miller is a residential and small business organizing expert, a popular motivational speaker and writer based in New York. She founded her company, Miller Organizing, in 2005. She is a past member of the board of directors of the New York chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the recognized authority in the field of organizing. Over the course of her career, she has helped hundreds of busy New Yorkers to get – and stay – organized. She writes a column on getting organized, clutter control, time management, living more simply, increasing productivity, how being organized reduces stress and other related topics for a local New York newspaper. She also runs the Clutter Support Group of the New York Public Library.

As of June 27, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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