When things get busy at work, it can be very difficult to keep on top of everything and stay organised. You can soon find yourself losing control, ending up with a disorganised mass of paperwork on your desk. At times like this it is even more important than usual to have processes in place to remain organised. This will reduce the chance of mistakes being made and of you feeling overwhelmed.

Below are six different tips on how to keep yourself organised:

Prioritise your tasks.

A lot of people work with To Do lists and, whilst To Do lists can help you to remember everything that you need to do. They do not acknowledge the importance of the tasks. This can sometimes result in the feeling of being productive and having achieved something, whilst you have not done the tasks that are most important.

To combat this, you need to prioritise your task list. Take the time each morning to consider each task and decide whether it is:

  1. Important and Urgent – it needs doing urgently and is important. These are your top priority tasks.
  2. Important but not Urgent – it is important but does not need to be done quite so urgently. These are your second priority tasks.
  3. Not Important but Urgent – it needs doing quickly but it not important. Depending on what you consider to be important, these tend to be few and far between. Always consider whether you should be doing these tasks.
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent – it is not important and does not need doing quickly. These tasks are more passive and can be done as and when you have time. Again, you should always consider whether you should be doing these tasks or concentrating on something else.

There are other approaches to prioritising your task list, depending upon your preference. Spend some time researching different methods and choose the one that fits best with you. Then integrate this type of prioritisation throughout all of your tasks and projects.

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Organise your inbox.

Your email inbox can become unruly and full of unread messages quite easily. For this reason it is important that you have a system to keep on top of them all. Utilise the prioritisation tip above to prioritise your emails and decide which ones need responses urgently and which ones can wait. Then deal with them accordingly.

Once you have dealt with an email, file it away, leaving only emails that need to be dealt with in your inbox.

Keep your diary up to date.

It is very easy to forget to add a meeting or a task into your diary when you are rushing around trying to get everything done. This can result in important meetings being forgotten and haltering the progress of your business. Potentially damaging relationships with potential clients who do not appreciate being forgotten about.

Slow down a little and take the time to make sure all appointments are entered into your diary immediately after agreeing them. This will minimise the risk of forgetting about them and help you drive your business forward.

Keep your space tidy.

We have all heard the saying “Tidy desk, tidy mind” and there is nothing truer when trying to juggle lots of different tasks. The last thing you need when you have a lot on your mind is not being able to find a particular item that you need, or to have to fight through clutter to get to it.

Keep your desk and your desktop both tidy, spending some time to sift through everything you have. Remove anything you have not used for over 6 months. Then, make sure that everything you might need on a regular basis is within arm’s reach, allowing you to get hold of them easily.

Set times for checking emails and messages.

If you are driven by your incoming emails and messages, then you will never get anything done. You may begin to find your workload feeling more and more hectic as more messages come in. To stop this, allocate set times throughout the day to check your emails and messages and deal with them. At these times, review each email and make an action towards it – whether that is by deleting it, replying or making a note on your task list to follow it up.

If you dislike having any unread emails in your inbox, utilise the prioritisation technique explained earlier in this article – allocating them a “Prioritisation level” when they initially come in and then dealing with them within the allocated time slot.

Get some rest.

To work at your very best, it is important that you are well rested. As busy as you may be, it is important to get sufficient sleep and down time whilst you are outside of working hours. The more sleep you get, the more focussed you will be, the better you will be at making quick decisions and the more efficiently you will complete your day to day tasks. Sleep and rest also boosts your mood! Helping you to feel positive whilst you are working and giving you the energy that you need to keep driving your business forward.

Why not try out some of these tips over the next week and see how they work for you? Alternatively, OakHouse Professional provide a range of services that can help support you and keep you organised. Find out more on our Services page.