These 5 Easy-to-Implement Tips Will Keep You Organized and Stress-Free in 2018
Oh, what I would get done if I were more organized and less stress!
Does this sound like the rhetoric that often goes through your mind? When it comes to the work environment, a little more organization and less stress go a LONG way! Now that the end of the year is near, we want to help you kick-start a productive and satisfying 2018 with five tips on getting more organized at work!
Office Organization Tips for a Fresh Start in 2018
1. Make Time For Reflection
We are an action-oriented society, and as a result, many of us tend to forget to take the time to reflect. The end of any frame of time, in this case, the year, is an opportune moment to take a moment, solo, or with your team, for reflection. You won’t know what to do differently in 2018 until you discern what did and didn’t work well in 2017. We recommend scheduling yourself some time for reflection.
If this is to be a solo reflection, consider taking a walk, or heading somewhere calming or motivating. Type out or hand-write out a list of things that went wrong at work this year, and a list of things that went well. Give each item an attribution – why did it go wrong or why did it go well?
As you move through this exercise, avoid negative mind chatter. Do not waste your thoughts on “shoulda, coulda, woulda” or self-criticisms. Instead, focus on what you learned and how you will use the knowledge to your benefit in the new year. This entire exercise can be done with your team as well!
2. Keep It Clean
If your surroundings are chaotic, chances are so is your mind. You have plenty of challenges at work to contend with; a messy or disorganized office need not be one of them! Determine what is at play that causes the mess, is it:
- Lack of organization
- Lack of self-discipline
- Lack of time
It could be all three. When it comes to organization, ask for help. Hire a professional or ask a team member to help you implement an organizational strategy. The key is for every item to have a designated spot (that you can remember). If the cleanliness struggle is due to your inability to put things away, then you must work on creating the self-discipline to address that issue. Create a new habit of immediately returning every item to its home after use. Sounds simple enough, but is often a bit trickier in practice. If time is preventing you from cleaning, then it’s wise to be proactive and schedule a block of time to clean each week. Fridays are always nice; then you can walk into the office on Monday feeling ready to tackle the week ahead!
3. Put an End to Disruptions
How anyone gets anything done in this age of constant interruptions, we’ll never know! Oh wait, we do – by putting an end to the disruptions. Every alert, buzz, ring, and beep momentarily displaces your attention, with the possibility of displacement for much longer than a moment. Every innocent glance at your phone is a productive moment down the drain.
Stress is derived from the feeling that one is not up to the challenges presented. With far fewer distractions, the challenge of not enough time starts to dissipate. Give yourself the gift of working uninterrupted. For a few hours each day, place your phone on do-not-disturb (note, with most phones you can select a few numbers that can get through regardless, in case you need always to be available for someone in particular).
Work for hours on end without opening, glancing, or using your phone. If you need outside help to achieve this, give your phone to your secretary or a coworker and then only retrieve it once your block of time is up. Notice how much more you can achieve in the same amount of time!
4. Practice Prioritizing
Time-management is a lifelong practice, and learning to prioritize is key. Often we favor tasks that are easier or more enjoyable, saving the most challenging or arduous for last. That may work sometimes, but more often than not it results in immense levels of stress. Why? Because all that time spent procrastinating enabled the fear of the “difficult” task to loom in the mind, growing more intense.
Now, not only is the task not completed, but the mind is stressed out. Instead of going down this cyclical path, get better at prioritizing and sticking to your schedule. List the top five most important items to accomplish each day, and then make your way down the list. Find ways to reward yourself after accomplishing each one, which will help you get in the habit of finishing what you start. Notice if your stress levels start to diminish as you implement prioritization more often.
5. Get Comfortable With Saying No
Every workplace will be more organized and less-stressed once everyone gets more comfortable saying no. Not that we are always in a position to say no, but chances are you have the option more often than you realize. If you have an intense workload, say no to additional tasks. If you need more time to work on a project, say no in your meeting RSVP.
The more time and less stress you experience will result in a job done better. The more jobs you do well, the more effective your organization will be as a whole, the better your organization is, the better the work life becomes and everyone will benefit. This is just one example, but all things work cyclically, especially the power of saying no!
Small, everyday changes are what lead to genuine improvement. Reflecting, tidying up your workspace, setting boundaries, prioritizing, and saying no on a regular basis will work wonders for your productivity, organization, and stress level. It may not seem accessible to suddenly become more organized at work, but when you make small changes over time, it will happen. We hope you find these tips helpful, enjoy the holidays, and have a happy-and-productive New Year!