Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

5 Ways to Get More Organized at Work

By Maurie Backman - Feb 12, 2018 at 7:42AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Need help getting a handle on your workload and schedule? Here's where to start.

We all experience our fair share of stress at work, and for many of us, it's a product of not organizing ourselves properly. Think about it: If you're constantly rushing to meet deadlines and struggling to keep track of the various projects you're working on, you can take it as a sign that your organizational skills need a bit of an overhaul. With that in mind, here are a few ways to clean up your act and save yourself some anxiety in the process.

1. Physically clear your space

It's hard to feel organized when you're surrounded by piles of paper and folders whose contents you haven't checked in months. The first step on the road to getting organized is to physically clear unnecessary items from your desk. Go through your papers, toss or shred the ones you don't need, and file any remaining documents for future reference. Along these lines, go through existing files and make sure their contents are still relevant. If not, discard what you don't plan to use again. Having a cleaner workspace will set the stage for a more organized approach to whatever it is you do.

A cluttered desk with papers, a calculator, a stack of Post-its with a pen on top, and a smartphone around it, as well as a pair of glasses on top of it.


2. Find an easy-to-use calendar

If you're juggling multiple deadlines and constantly being asked to attend meetings, keeping that information in your head and no place else is basically a recipe for disaster. A better bet? Find a useful calendar app and use it to clearly outline your schedule. Just as importantly, set reminders for key tasks and appointments so you're less likely to get caught off guard.

3. Create a to-do list -- and stick to it

Getting organized is often a matter of setting priorities and seeing them through. So, as a matter of course, start creating to-do lists that outline your pressing tasks and establish a hierarchy for tackling them. This is something you can do on a daily or weekly basis -- whichever you find works best for you. In fact, you might do both -- create a weekly list and then use it to establish sublists for each day.

4. Schedule time for emails and phone calls

When you're plugging away at your desk, it's easy to get distracted by phone calls and an overactive inbox. That's why it's smart to carve out time each week to respond to emails and voice mails. This way, you'll be more likely to keep focusing on the priorities we just talked about rather than feel the urge to stop what you're doing every time the phone rings or a new message pops up on your computer screen.

5. Turn off your personal phone

Distracting as your work phone and inbox may be, there's nothing like the perpetual ding of your personal phone to throw you off your game. Remember, a big part of being organized is learning to properly manage your time, so if you keep your cellphone tucked away on silent during the workday, you'll be less likely to get sidetracked by text messages and the like. Of course, most of us can't go the entire day without a glance at our personal phones, so if need be, schedule a couple of five-minute breaks (say, once in the morning and once in the afternoon) where you check in briefly. Outside of those windows, however, it should be business as usual.

The more organized you are at work, the more productive you're likely to be. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll lower your stress level and help your career simultaneously.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/30/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.