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4 Ways to Stay Organised at Work. And Everywhere Else.

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You probably spent the better part of your morning trying to get things in place, knowing you have a deadline looming and worrying about the next big thing.You know you want your day to run smoothly, in some form of undefined structure but you doubt its possibility. You know they are not all important but you feel so overwhelmed with a running to-do list.

Source: Corbis
Source: Corbis

It’s quite knee-weakening really, and frustrating too – to know you have so much to do and stall for a long time. Time management and achieving work-life are somewhere on top of every individual’s wish-list, and quite understandably so – a lot other things are woven into these two complexes.

Not ruling out the fact that external factors like meetings, colleagues, type of workspace and job role determine your level of organisation, there are ways to control your small world and what revolves around it; documents from previous meetings, files for record-keeping, pending tasks, unplanned activities and whatnot.


Your first mistake perhaps is misconstruing busyness for productivity – that it takes your time doesn’t mean you are doing it right.

Whether you run a mini-mart or  work in a highly complex organisation, we all need some form of management. What matters in the end is getting the work done. These 4 tips adapted from Leo Babauta will help you manage your work-life better.

Create a place for everything: The more frequently you need an item, the closer it needs to be to you. And you don’t need to have a clustered space for work station. Start with paper documents to notepads, books and other things like your wallet, bags or drink. This helps reduce distractions and allows you produce more work.
Start your day with two lists; to-dos and not-to-dos: These lists do not have to be on paper, there are email and phone applications to help you conveniently keep up with your day’s tasks and measure your progress. The essence of the lists are to help you set your priorities right.

Don’t procrastinate: This is perhaps a habit most of today’s workers indulge, the age-long procrastination syndrome; there’s always something to do today but you put it on hold for a later time – which becomes a task for a much later time until you soon have a deadline looming.

But we are also quick to forget the mental satisfaction completing a mind-boggling task brings. High achievers know the importance of acting now and ensure they make the most of the time spent on anything; they have or create a schedule for everything, sometimes work in batches; from emails to telephone calls, even meetings; but most importantly, they do not push things aside to spend more time on frivolities.

As the experts suggest, do the most difficult thing on your to-do list first and work your way down to the easiest. Take on difficult tasks early on in the day or when your brain gets more dopamine shots.

Don’t live in the inbox: Top performers master the art of  doing more work in less time  and in our sound-byte world today, where emails now serve as a most preferred media for communication and information source, you can literally spend your entire day looking through your inbox. Consequently, it seems normal, howbeit impractical, to rate all emails as important/urgent. But contrary to this thought; if a message is urgent, a telephone call seems the better option. As mentioned in the tip above, work better by doing things in batches, most especially emails. Have it settled in your mind that if the mail is urgent, you’d get a call instead.

You can burn fast but not necessarily burn out. Work can be fun, no matter how much or less demanding you find it. And with a little effort to stay organised each day, you soon develop a habit that helps the rest of your career and life as a whole.
Do well to watch out for top performing colleagues in your organisation and learn how they manage their work-life.

How do you stay organised at work? Discuss this article in the comments section below.

Lola Olakeye
Notification Bell