Tips on How to Stay Organized in the Workplace

By: Susan West

For many people, there are not enough hours in the day. With full schedules, there are daily problems that will occur and will need immediate attention. This means that other tasks will have to be put to the side. Impromptu meetings, employee absences, employee issues, and other situations can make getting through the workday almost impossible. Staying organized and having a plan for when your time is being used for another purpose are essential if you want to stay on task and complete a project or assignment on time. If leading a team, you will have to know what the other members of the team are working on and when they will be done also. This way, you will be able to delegate additional responsibilities when necessary. The following tips will help you and your team stay on track even when other situations present themselves.

· Invest in a calendar with big blocks so that you can write down not only your schedule, but also your team members schedules. Have a hard copy of this schedule in case the computers are down. No one can predict when the system will crash or when files are erased. A calendar can be used to keep track of projects, assignments, and team member availability.

· Have phone numbers handy in case of emergencies. You should have a place to put these numbers other than on your computer. They should be in some type of order so that you can find the numbers you are looking for quickly.

· Keep files separate. Make sure you file all material in the designated folder. Each day, take out what will be needed and keep it close by. If giving a presentation, have all materials ready to go and in your bag so that you don’t forget anything. You should do this when traveling also.

· Make lists of daily tasks and mark them off as you complete them. This will help you stay on track and if you need to handle another problem, you will know where you left off.

· Try to give as much notice as possible for team meetings. Your team members have other job responsibilities as well. Respect the fact that they are busy and try to plan meetings ahead of time.

· Create a list of your team members and their strengths and skills in a particular area. When planning a project, refer to the list when deciding which roles people will fill. If a team member specifically asks for a role, write it down on their list so that next time, you will remember to consider them for it.

It is important that while you should be organized at work, you should also plan time into your day to spend with family, work on a hobby, or spend some quiet time alone. Finding a balance between work and free time will help keep stress levels low. If you are taking work home everyday, then you may want to look at where you are spending your time during the day. Taking home work is fine occasionally, if it becomes a habit, then more planning will need to be done.

Learning how to organize and plan your workday may take some time. You will have to devote some time to making lists, filling calendars, and creating team member skill sheets. But this preparation will help on days when there isn’t enough time. Unfortunately, you will not be able to plan for everything. There will always be some situation at work that you will have to handle or fix. Having a schedule will help during these times.

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Visit for a wealth of leadership development information. Susan West has held many executive leadership positions during her 25 years of business experience. She shares her knowledge and lessons learned through a variety of programs offered by QuadWest Associates, LLC including coaching, leadership workshops, tele-seminars and consulting.

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