How to Stay Organized at Work

intelligence safety Nov 02, 2020

If you walk into my office, you may not think I have a right to be talking about organization at work. I have papers scrambled all over my desk and film equipment is usually everywhere but the reality is we all have our own method to our madness. So even though my work environment may not be organized to some standards, my work life is. Here are a few of my tips and tricks:


Know you!

As a millennial, I attest to being highly reliant on technology. But I would challenge to ask other millennials, "Why?" It could be the reality that we have had a computer or TV shoved in our face since childhood, or it could be we want to be environmentally friendly.  For me, it is something much more simple: I lose EVERYTHING.


My brain goes a million miles an hour even though I have had a lot of training in mindfulness to help control it. With my having to worry about keeping my mind organized, I sometimes set aside the physical environment of organization. So I know me. I know that I rely heavily on technology. Not to fit the millennial lifestyle, but to make sure I stay organized. I have found it is easy for me to lose a thumb drive, but it is hard for me to lose the Google Cloud. I know I lose my purse and wallet, but I can ask Google, or Alexa to find my phone (which is now my purse/wallet thanks to technology). Also, the nifty voice commands have become great resources to remind me to not forget to do a simple task when I get to a certain location, minimizing the embarrassment of when I forget to do something AGAIN.


So if you haven't gathered this yet, my organization is more around having my mind and time organized which leads me to my next tip on how I stay organized:


Technology is a friend, not a Savior.

As you just read above about my affinity for technology, I do have to say I can use it as a crutch sometimes, leaving me to fall on my face in time-sensitive projects. For me to stay organized, I have to have a careful balance between technology doing the human skills and the human (me) doing the human skills. A big part of Workzbe is the mission of bringing the human being back into the work environment. Human beings are what make systems and future work. We are the only creatures that have a brain to conjure up deep reflective thought and forward-thinking. So when we try to give humanistic features to a computer, it can throw our world into chaos especially if it fails or the power dies or a reminder doesn't go out at a crucial moment. For me, it is more important to have my mind and my time organized than my office environment. I do that by relying partially on technology to remind me of meetings or important tasks, but, I also have my own brain to use to make sure I am organizing myself officially. I look at my time and use my judgment to determine what is best rather than the data in front of me.

For example, I know if I am hitting a brain fatigue point, I go for a walk and change my environment. A quick 5-10 minute walk can do wonders for your work as it gets blood better circulating back to your brain. For me, my best ideas typically come when I don't have access to technology like in the shower or 2 am lying in bed or out on a stroll with my friends or family. I have to know how to remember stuff on my own. (Just think of it this way, how much quicker were you at math when you didn't have a calculator at your fingertips.)


The final tip is to:

Be human by creating your own system.

Your humanity is your strength so USE it. Create a system that works for you. This can be done by trial and error or seeking advice from others. I have never found two people with the same organizational system. We all have our own system so here is a little about mine:

  • Eat 3 Frogs- I listened to a speaker a long time ago that said to "eat 3 frogs in the morning." I don't know if this was a southern thing or such an off the wall saying that it stuck with me, but it works. The idea is to do 3 things in the morning you have to do but don't particularly like doing. It allows you to free up your time to do the things you want to do. Kind of like eating your veggies as a kid so that you could get to the ice cream. So I decide to eat 3 frogs in the morning.

  • I can be effective with people but not efficient- This may ruffle a few feathers but, in my opinion, you are efficient with things such as products because you can assign a time and structure with their outcomes. But with people, their unique ability to think and create systems can cause disorganization. For example, I can ask my team to see X amount of people per day to have great productivity but is it truly efficient? I care about inspiration and change, not exactly about seeing  X amount of people in a given time frame.

    This has the potential to cause disorganization but you can plan for it. Authentic relationships need to evolve for true success and we know an hour for an initial visit with clients typically will suffice. But every now and then, we get a person that will pour their heart and soul out to us. We want to be effective with them even when it may not be efficient. We can't say, "sorry time is up, next!" We believe this doesn't go with our core beliefs that relationships matter and lead to true change. Instead, we take the time to give empathy, care, and openness to our people. So for me to stay organized, I need to plan my time to be around a person. I also have found in the long run, this makes for great business even as we are actually more efficient by having an effective strategy. This allows us to organize our days, have open, honest conversations, build relationships to expand our impact, and gives us the power to say no without hurting feelings.

  • Create boundaries - I don't know about you, but for me, I have found that I sometimes catch myself in the middle of a mindless task that isn't effective. Email is probably the biggest thing that can eat me alive! I believe it adds unwanted additional stress. To combat this, I try to create boundaries with my time. (Note: I haven't perfected this yet). One main boundary is to check emails only twice per day unless they are "on fire" subject lines. (Yes, ask people to reply on fire or urgent if it is warranted). I have found the people- pleaser in me thinks that not replying back within 1-2 hours to disappointing others, which isn't true. I typically get the response, "Wow, that was a quick reply" or "Thank you for your timely reply" opening me up to the reality that I didn't have to put all that pressure on myself. By setting boundaries, I am organizing my time and allowing myself to prioritize and get things done.

So if you feel like a disorganized mess, maybe some of these tips can help. I have no way mastered the art of organization, but I am working on it every day to be my best self. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about Workzbe and what we have to offer, please contact me at [email protected] We are here to listen, coach, and grow with you to be your best self.