Organization is a difficult skill to master. Although it may seem like easy, common sense, it is even easier to let your business life (and life in general) become continuously unorganized.
Organizing your business life is a skill that takes time to master – starting with baby steps. You may have already dug yourself into the ground with a whole mess of unorganized clutter, which will require some pre-organizing in order to find yourself on steady, organized ground again.
But have no fear. No matter where you land on the organization continuum, these business organization tips will help lift you from the clutter and stress.
5 Tips on How to Organize Your Business Life
- Keep Your Email Inbox Clear & CleanOne unavoidable mess that stresses me out is my inbox. If I miss a day of work or don’t check my email over the weekend, my inbox looks like marketing vomit when I check it on Monday morning. In order to conquer your inbox, you must never get behind on it. When you check your email every morning, be sure to go through each unopened email and decide whether to reply, delete, or add to your to-do list for later. Especially newsletters and your spam folder – delete what you know you won’t read and archive/download what you want to read at the end of the day. As you continue to receive emails throughout the day, read them as they arrive, and delete or archive them, just as explained above. This will take about 5 minutes in the morning and a total of 5-10 minutes throughout the day, leaving you with a clean inbox when you leave work at the end of the day. Instead of waking up to a fully cluttered inbox, you will only wake up to emails sent after work in the evening and before work in the morning. Repeat this process daily to keep your email well-organized.
- Keep Your Desk Free of ClutterWalking into work to find your desk cleared off, clean, and organized is much less stressful than starting your morning off with papers and lists scattered everywhere. Keep papers in files, folders, or binders to be stacked nicely or packed away in your briefcase at the end of the day. Not only will your desk and papers be organized, but not having to worry about the mess you left at work will leave your mind at ease when you head home at the end of the day.
- Make To-Do Lists & Keep Them Within EyesightOften times I get so caught up in a task or project that some of my other projects completely slip my mind. To keep this from happening, I keep a list in my agenda of everything I need to get done by the end of the day. By keeping this list on my desk, I can easily refer to it throughout the day and cross projects off my list as I finish them. The same list can be kept on a computer or smart phone, but I find it easier and more efficient to keep a paper list right beside me throughout the week.
- Prepare for Your Week Ahead of Time
After winding down for the weekend on Sunday evening, sit down with your to-do list and pile of work and review what your priorities are for the week. In your agenda or Google Calendar, keep track of upcoming meetings and due dates that are approaching in the week to come, that way they don’t sneak up on you or cause extra stress because they slipped your mind. Not only does this reduce stress and keep you organized, but it also helps get the work-mode mindset started before 9am Monday morning.
- Do. Not. Procrastinate.When you’re busy, it is extremely easy to procrastinate on small, tedious tasks or push back due dates in order to work on a different project. Realistically, this only causes more stress and makes your to-do list even longer. It may seem more convenient to return the rented movies a day or two late because there are more important things to do, but then you keep forgetting.. and before you know it you owe the library an absurd late fee. Procrastination always tasks us in one way or another. The best choice is to complete tasks and projects as soon as possible, and at the end of the week you might find that you get to begin your weekend early on Friday because you finished everything on time. That’s a pretty nice reward, if you ask me.
Taking action to complete these steps is the start of a more organized work life. Once you begin these practices, they’ll become easier to accomplish week after week and they’ll soon become helpful habits.