Staying organized and balancing your day-to-day tasks can be challenging. Some days your to-do list keeps growing, and you need to make sure you are not missing a beat. It is important to keep yourself organized to help your business stay within the proper timeframe and budget. Here are five helpful tips and tricks to help stay organized in your workplace:
- Create a to-do list – To-do lists are a great way to see all of the tasks you have to accomplish and in what timeframe they need to be completed. The nice thing about to-do lists is that you can create one that functions best for your workflow. Some people prefer the simple, age-old handwritten to-do list. Sometimes the method of writing down tasks in a list can help you remember them more clearly later. If you are someone who travels or commutes a lot, sticky notes work well.
If a hand-written to-do list is not for you, there are several apps that you can use instead. There are many list-making apps available that allow you to add items, organize tasks based on your own needs, and set reminders. A really great application for making lists and keeping information organized is Evernote.
Evernote is a great resource because once you set up your account, you can access your files from a computer or mobile device. You can also create notebooks and categorize them however you choose (by client, project, due date, etc.). You can create notes and lists, upload files, set reminders, and easily share any of your files to work collaboratively with others.
- Prioritize tasks – Prioritizing tasks is a really important way to keep projects on track. Some tasks aren’t always prioritized based on the order they are received. Depending on your workflow, tasks can be organized by level of importance, amount of work needed, or connection of that task to another project. It is helpful to label or tag tasks based on how you establish their priority.
A helpful resource for prioritizing items on your to-do list is to use different color pens or highlighters to label items. You can use certain colors for more urgent tasks, so you know which ones are high priority tasks. This is a trick you can also use on your digital to-do lists as well. You can use different color or styles of fonts and highlighting to indicate the priority of each of your tasks.
- Declutter workspace/computer – Organization isn’t always about lists. Sometimes staying organized means keeping your computer decluttered and your files structured appropriately. To get your files in order, set aside time to organize them into folders or onto file sharing/hosting services like Google Drive and Dropbox.
Google Drive and Dropbox are great for storing files because you can create folders and label your files based on your workflow but keep them from inundating your computer space. These websites also allow you to easily share files and collaborate with others. So instead of cluttering up your computer with disorganized files and then sending files back and forth, try using Google Drive and/or Dropbox’s services. Having a clean workspace will help keep your mind clear (as well as your computer storage).
- Set realistic, but firm due dates – Setting due dates can help you plan out the process of a project or task. Once you have an end date, you can map out the steps you will need to take to get there.
Using Google Calendar can help you keep track of due dates, meetings, etc. You can set reminder notifications as well, so you will be on top of your daily, weekly, and even monthly events.
The beauty of Google Calendar is that you have so many options to customize it for your own needs. You have the ability to create multiple calendars to better organize clients, projects, etc. You can also integrate meeting links and other external programs/apps to keep all of your calendar information gathered in one location.
- Establish a system to keep track of tasks – To-do lists are great, but sometimes you need another way of setting up and assigning tasks in your business. It is crucial to have an efficient system to track your business’ tasks, to know which team members are working on what task, and to see the status of ongoing tasks. A great resource to use for keeping track of tasks is Trello.
Trello allows you to create boards for setting up lists and individual tasks. It is a great way to visually see the progress of each task and keep track of what team members are assigned to what projects.
Trello also has many features and power-ups that allow you to customize your boards to best fit with your workflow. For example, Trello has a power-up that allows you to link your boards to Google Calendar. Any tasks you have on the linked board will show up on your Google Calendar on the dates they are due. If you have Google Calendar notifications on, it will remind you of the upcoming due dates of any linked task.
The major key to getting and staying organized is to find what works best for you and your business. Not all organizational techniques work best for everyone. Focusing on our simple tips and tricks and balancing that with your own plan will get you on your way to having an organized and well-balanced work environment.