We all know how much easier it is to work when we're organized, but having the motivation to get organized is a little hard for many to come by. This is because disorganization leads to feelings of being overwhelmed, and when we're overwhelmed, it is hard to think clearly on any one task let alone change the way we are used to doing things in the name of organization.
It's a vicious cycle really. If you could get organized, the feelings of being overwhelmed would fade away and your productivity would go up. But you cannot take the time to get organized if you are completely overwhelmed and behind in production. Hence the vicious cycle.
This is why many people look to professionals to help them sort out their cluttered mess. While advisors can be a great asset to have, you don't necessarily have to have one to get things straightened out in your life and in your office. All you need is one day. Only one day to get it all together and start fresh. That's not so difficult. You can use a personal day, vacation day, or the weekend to do it. You may even be able to talk your boss into giving you a break from your regular duties while on the clock to get it all done.
The first thing that you need to do to get organized is to clean up your work area. Get rid of any trash and papers that you do not need. Then, organize the ones that you do need into a filing system that is easy to maintain. Keep in mind that you do not have to use a traditional filing system if it is likely that you will not stick to it. You can create a system that makes sense to you and is easy to follow.
Never underestimate the importance of calendars, planners, address books, and "to do" lists. Having your workload in writing in front of you allows you to better plan your day. It also prevents you from taking on more work than you can handle. Start or end each day by writing a list of the things that you need to accomplish. Put the most important things at the top of the list along with the tasks you didn't get finished from the previous day and work through the list as the day goes on. This will keep you focused to the tasks that need to be accomplished and prevent you from wasting time on unimportant tasks.
Once you have implemented a filing and scheduling system, stick to it. Don't allow papers to pile up on your desk or post it appointments to get stuck to your shoe. Stay organized and take a moment each day to clean and organize your work area. Do this for a few days and you will find that you have a lot more time to actually work instead of looking for your work.
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