As someone who has struggled with organization for most of their life, I understand how overwhelming it can be to manage personal and professional responsibilities. From the time I was a child, when the only thing I had to keep organized was my bedroom and toys, to when I was in college trying to manage a full time job while taking classes I struggled. This meant that for a long time, I felt like I was constantly playing catch-up, and my productivity suffered as a result.
However, when I worked my way up from a seasonal role at my job to a full time one in which I was managing a team of people, being disorganized was no longer an option. So made a conscious effort to improve my organizational skills, and it has made a significant difference in my life. I am now able to manage my time and resources more effectively, and I feel more in control of my tasks and responsibilities. In this blog post, I want to share some practical tips on how to get organized and provide ten helpful tips that you can share with your team to help them get organized too.
- Make a List: One of the first things I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to make a list of all my pending projects. This helps me to see everything in one place and prioritize based on need by dates and project size. I find that writing everything down in a notebook or planner works best for me, but digital tools can be just as effective. It’s a good idea to keep these lists in a place you can reference back to, it helps track accomplishments and ensures that you can reference back to incomplete projects if necessary.
- Prioritize Your Tasks: Once you have your list, it’s important to prioritize your tasks based on their importance and urgency. It can be tempting to tackle the easy tasks first, but focusing on the critical tasks will help you stay on track and make progress towards your goals. I personally use a numbering system to help me identify my prioritize what I will address first.
- Set Goals: Setting clear goals for yourself is essential for staying organized and motivated. I like to break down my goals into smaller milestones and create a plan to achieve them. This helps me stay accountable and track my progress over time.
- Use a Calendar: Using a calendar is a great way to keep track of appointments, meetings, and deadlines. I make sure to set reminders and notifications to ensure I never miss an important event. I also set appointments for myself on days I need to next take action on specific projects, or days I need to follow up with my team to benchmark their progress or ensure they are meeting deliverables. This has helped me avoid last-minute stress and stay on top of my schedule.
- Create a Daily To-Do List: Creating a to-do list for each day has been a game-changer for me. This sounds very similar to my first bullet, but it’s distinguished in the fact that I won’t be keeping large multi-step projects on this, instead I’ll be tracking smaller daily deliverables from myself and my team. This helps me stay focused and motivated to complete tasks throughout the day. I even include any meetings I need to attend in a day to help me track where I’m spending my time. If I’m in meetings half the day, it’s probably not the day to assign myself a task that will take several hours to complete. I make sure to cross off tasks as I complete them, which gives me a sense of accomplishment and progress.
- Keep Your Workspace Clean: Believe it or not, this is the one I struggle with the most, I never got over being that kid with a messy room. But a cluttered workspace can be distracting and hinder your productivity. I make sure to tidy up my desk and workspace regularly, which helps me focus better and feel more organized.
- Learn to Say No: Learning to say no to unnecessary commitments and distractions has been one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve done. Prioritizing my time and energy for the things that matter most has allowed me to stay focused and productive and has reduced my overall stress levels.
Tips for Organizing Your Team’s Personal and Professional Lives
- Encourage Your Team to Make a List: Encourage your team members to make a list of their tasks, deadlines, and appointments. This will help them stay on top of their work and manage their time more effectively.
- Prioritize Important Tasks: Encourage your team members to prioritize their tasks based on their importance and urgency. This will help them focus on the most critical tasks and avoid wasting time on less important ones. Have them share their professional priorities with you as well, to ensure that your priorities are aligned.
- Use a Project Management Tool: Using a project management tool can help your team stay organized and collaborate more effectively. Tools like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp can help you track tasks, deadlines, and progress.
- Set Clear Goals: Encourage your team members to set clear goals for themselves and create a plan to achieve them. This will help them stay motivated and accountable for their work. An added benefit is it helps you target additional training or assistance to help accomplish long term goals this individual may have.
- Schedule Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular formal and informal check-ins with your team to review their progress and discuss any challenges they may be facing. You’ll want to do this individually and with the team as a whole to share concerns that are private and also provide a space for collaborative problem solving. This will help you identify issues early and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Provide Training and Resources: Provide your team with the training and resources they need to do their job effectively. This may include tools, software, or training sessions on time management, organization, or productivity.
- Encourage Breaks and Time Off: Encourage your team members to take time off. Believe it or not, this has been statistically proven to increase productivity and organization.
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