How to Be Organized at Work

5 Different Systems For Getting Things Done at Work

If you've forgotten one too many tasks on your to-do list, perhaps it's time to reevaluate the way you organize your day. Everyone has a different way of organizing, and here a couple of suggestions that might work for you:

Post-it system: If you're using post-its to remind yourself to do tasks, a possible strategy is to write down various tasks on different sticky notes and paste them all around your computer screen (or something else that's hard to ignore on your desk). When you're done, you can peel each post-it off your computer and feel a sense of accomplishment. This might be too messy for those who like to keep their desk organized and free of paper bits.

Calendar reminders: Schedule specific times to do certain tasks and set a reminder for everything so you don't have to rely on your overworked memory. Use your digital calendar if you work with computers, and use a planner if you don't. You should check your calendar and make updates when you first get into the office so you can better plan and prioritize your day. Throughout the day, keep referring back to your calendar and make changes if needed. Using a calendar is a fail-safe method to ensure you're getting things done!

Emailing and texting self: For those who are always checking their inboxes or phones, sending reminders via texts and emails is a good way to stay on top of things. There are certain web tools that will help you with this method. NudgeMail lets you time when you want the email reminders to come in. For example, if you have a meeting with your boss on Friday, you can send an email to Friday10am@NudgeMail.com and add details in the email. The service provides a list of commands that'll help you figure out what email address to notify when you're trying to pick a time or access other functions such as deleting all active NudgeMails or receiving a list of the commands in an email. As for text reminders, there are a couple of apps and websites to check out — TextMinder ($2), Oh, Don't Forget, and textreminders.

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Bell curve method: Plan your work schedule on a bell curve. Start off with easy and pleasant to-dos while you're sipping your first cup of coffee. Then once you're all warmed up, tackle the most challenging tasks. After lunch, start on your mindless tasks or grunt work while you're digesting your meal and trying to rebound from your afterlunch slump. Finally, finish off the day with something you enjoy.

Organizing days by theme: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey organizes his days by theme. For example, Mondays are for management meetings and "running the company" work; Tuesdays are for product development; and Wednesdays are for marketing, communications, and growth. Of course, not all of us have the luxury of planning our days by theme, but it's a good idea to use a slight variation of the strategy. For example, you can dedicate a weekly task to a specific day of the week and resolve to work on it only on that day instead of spreading it out over several days. Assigning a task to a day will help with remembering to do it and will also help you be more focused on your task.

It's a good idea to test out which systems work for you and tweak them to suit your needs. If one doesn't work, you can try a combination of a few of them or even craft your own. What kind of system do you personally use to stay organized at work?

Source: Thinkstock
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