How to Be More Productive at Work

Getting organized is the first step to be more productive at work

Did you know that the average worker wastes close to 2 weeks every year searching for things that are lost or misplaced? That’s a lot of lost time and productivity. Due to their organized and detail-oriented nature, “Type A” people often find it easy to be productive at work. But the rest of us need to work harder at staying organized and on top of projects. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to get buried in the day-to-day tasks and get nothing accomplished.

While there is no one all-encompassing way to organize and structure your day, these tips should help get you on the path to increased productivity.

  • Use one type of planner – electronic or paper, whatever works best for you. Stop using scrap paper or post-it notes to jot down meetings, appointments, and deadlines.
  • Have a notepad designated for phone messages, numbers, addresses, confirmation numbers, and other notes. Next time you have to look something up you’ll know where it is.
  • Schedule time in your planner each day to work on projects. Break large projects down into smaller, more manageable parts. You’re more likely to get everything done if you give yourself a specific time frame to do it in.
  • Set a daily to-do list with your top 2-3 tasks that must be accomplished that day. It’s important to make it realistic, because other tasks will come up throughout the day that will require immediate attention. If you get more accomplished, great. But if you only get to the 2-3 tasks, you won’t feel discouraged and overwhelmed.
  • Resist the urge to check each email as it comes in. Instead, finish the current task at hand before reading and responding to emails.
  • Sort your inbox like you do regular mail. Delete the junk, respond if necessary, or flag the email if it needs referencing. Regular inbox cleanups of 15 minutes a week will help keep your inbox under control.
  • Start the day with structure. Answer emails and messages that came in overnight. Quickly respond, so that other people can then get to work. Delete everything not important to keep your inbox clean.
  • Create a clean and clutter free work environment. Purge your desk/office of junk. Go through stacks of paper and throw away outdated documents, duplicates, etc. Only keep the supplies you use on a daily basis on your desk. Everything else can be stored in a drawer or on a shelf.
  • Organize the papers on your desktop. Have an inbox, a folder for current projects, one for items you’re waiting on approval/answers, and one for papers that need to be filed away.
  • Get your desk in order before you leave work for the night. Just like it’s nice to come home to a clean home, it’s great to come in to a clean desk, ready to work.
  • Group together small tasks like filing and data entry. This way you aren’t jumping back and forth between jobs all day long.
  • Try tackling your most disliked tasks first, so you can’t procrastinate on them. Or try planning your toughest tasks for the times you have the most energy.

Do you have any organization tips to be more productive at work?