How to improve your organizational skills - Blog

How to improve your organizational skills

Organization correlates directly to success. The more organized you are (and the more organized you feel), the more productive and efficient you’ll be, especially at work. But organizational skills don’t necessarily come easily to everyone.

Plus, organization encompasses a wide breadth of things like time management, planning, scheduling, and decluttering things from your desk to your email inbox to your brain!

Whether it’s physical or mental organization (or both) you’re having trouble mastering, here are some ways to know you need a little order in your professional (and personal) life, and tips on how to make it happen.

Signs you’re struggling with organization

If you’re struggling with organization, you probably already feel the effects. But just in case, here are some ways disorganization manifests. If you find that any, some, or even all apply to you, you may be suffering from a lack of organization:

  • Having trouble finding items

  • Forgetting things

  • Messing up times and dates

  • Lack of productivity

  • Feeling distracted or unfocused

  • Feeling stressed or overwhelmed

Why bother getting organized? Yes, there are benefits

Leading a more organized professional and personal life can benefit you in a variety of ways. Besides simply getting more done, which is a feat in itself, staying organized can also:

  • Keep you stress-free, relaxed, and healthy

  • Improve relationships (both professional and personal)

  • Improve job satisfaction and efficiency

  • Give you a better sense of control over your life which leads to happiness

  • Lead to promotions at work

  • Give you more time to do things you enjoy

7 ways to improve your organization

You don’t have to be an organizational disaster forever. We get that there are times in your life where your organization may be worse than usual: after starting a new job, when moving, having a new baby, or during other major life changes. But if you’re noticing some of the aforementioned signs, it’s never a bad time to improve your organization. Here’s how:

Start with an analysis and overhaul -- and be honest about it

First things first: evaluate your current organizational skills. It doesn’t matter if you were a personal assistant in your college years or your first condo was impeccably organized. Times and situations change, and so do you. You can’t fix anything if you don’t know the problem and its severity. Honestly evaluate how you feel about your organizational skills in all aspects:

  • Your physical workspace

  • At work in general

  • Your physical personal spaces (car, home, etc.)

  • Your mental organization

  • Joint organization with family or co-workers

  • Your technical organization: email inbox, desktop, phone, and beyond

  • Your time and how it’s used

If it helps to use a scale from 1-5, give each category a value and then address the items with the worst values first.

De-clutter your workspace -- and everything else

It’s hard to stay organized when your workspace (or your life) is a mess. While it may take some serious energy and effort to clear out your desk, a clean, distraction-free workspace will help you focus on what’s really important: the work you’re doing there. Psychologically, it’s much easier to focus when your physical surroundings are clear.

Decluttering doesn’t just have to apply to your workspace. It can also apply to your email inbox, your kitchen, your closet, your papers, your iPhone photos, and beyond. Schedule in time, whether it be daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly for cleanouts. For example, monthly email inbox cleanouts may be a great plan, whereas closet overhauls can be limited to once per year. You may want to do daily sweeps of your desk to make sure there isn’t any paperwork pileup or mess.

Use tech tools

While certain tech tools can help you organize your tech devices themselves, technology can help you organize pretty much everything from your schedule to your communication to your mental state. Some of our favorites here at eloquence are:

  • Calendly: Schedule meetings and organize your professional life with this app that seamlessly integrates with your calendar as well as other useful workplace apps.

  • Trello and Asana: Manage your tasks and workflow with these useful systems.

  • Tide FM: Use white noise and timers to perfect your laser focus and get things done.

  • Toggl: See what you’re spending your time on in order to re-organize and prioritize.

  • Todoist: Better organize your never-ending to-do list with this app.

  • elocance: Listen to your emails, important documents, and more via audio as you de-clutter your spaces.

Try to destress

One of the best ways to improve your mental organization and forgetfulness is to destress, relax, and meditate. Using apps like Insight Timer or Calm, take some time each day (even just a couple minutes) to fully clear your mind. A walk in the park or a yoga class are alternative options. You’ll come back refreshed and your mind will seem less cluttered.

Know your prime time

Not everyone is a morning person, and that’s okay. But figure out when you’re at your best, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. Easier tasks that require less focus can be completed during less productive times of the day.

Ask for help

You don’t have to get organized alone. From life coaches to house cleaners to assistants to interns, help is out there. And it may already be in place, especially at work. Think hard: are you really utilizing your co-workers, employees, assistants, or interns to their maximum capabilities? Are you delegating? Micromanaging or taking it all on can kill off those organizational skills, fast.

The same goes for your personal life. Insist your teenager help with the tidying, or sit down with your partner to create a joint calendar. At worse, pay someone to help if you’re able. Being organized is often a team effort.

Make lists

If you’re not making to-do lists, you should be. It’s the first step to better organization. If you’re already making lists, think about if they’re effective or not. Are you simply not getting to everything on the list? Are certain tasks taking longer than they should? Should larger tasks be broken up into smaller tasks? Should you be delegating something? Is your list in order of importance? Are you putting your most important tasks during your prime time?

Evaluate your lists just as you evaluated your general organizational skills -- honestly. If things aren’t working, change it up with a new style of list, a list app, a color-coding scheme, or a plan to ensure each item on your list really does get tackled.

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