10 Unusual Ways to Get Organized – and Stay That Way
Why is it that some people seem to be effortlessly organized, and others struggle to keep silverware in the right place? For many of us, we fall in the second category. However, there are a couple of unusual ways you can trick yourself into getting organized – and then staying that way.
Set Realistic Goals
If you’re not already organized, the biggest hurdle might simply be starting to organize your work space. It can look like an impossible project if you try to tackle too much at once. Therefore, it’s important to set a realistic goal for yourself. If you can imagine using your calendar consistently, for example, start with that and go from there. You don’t have to push yourself to transform overnight.
It might be tempted to jump head first into implementing a new system at work. However, for anything to be sustainable for the long term, there must be a strategy in place. Take the time to create a plan for exactly what you want to accomplish by when. Do your best to stick to it as closely as possible but don’t give yourself a hard time if you make changes down the line. Flexibility is key.
Use colors to your advantage. Designate specific colors for people in the office, or for different projects. See if organization software or tools you use can be customized and take advantage of it. Buy colored markers for whiteboards and get a variety pack of post it notes. Using a variety of colors and shapes to convey information is easier to understand than flatly colored text, so use it liberally.
It’s tempting to dump all the documents you need onto your desktop without a system in place. However, it can be difficult to find important information if you don’t have an organized way of filing information. Make folders based on client information, date, project, anything that is specific to the document. Create subfolders of the same information. It will save you time in the long run to have multiple subfolders for documents, because you will know exactly where they will be located.
Create a Routine and Stick to it
The hardest part about being organized is staying that way. The best way to keep yourself on track is to do the same thing over and over. Create a predictable routine for your workload and try to make it follow your plan as closely as possible. Soon enough, it will become second nature to use your new system.
In the beginning, find one thing that absolutely MUST be organized. It’s easy to let even important developments slip into chaos, so determine what will give you most value when you organize it into a system that works for you. Give this priority over other things you want to get done so you don’t get distracted. Once you finish, move on to the second most important, then the third, and so on.
Get Rid of the All or Nothing Mentality
This is an extension of prioritization. Feeling like you must complete all your goals on the same timeline with the same amount of focus is not as time saving as you think. Doing only some things sometimes is also not the same as doing nothing. It’s okay, and even sometimes better, to only take on a little bit of a project at a time. You can always pick up where you left off later.
Give Things a Home
Things move around in an office setting – that’s kind of how work is done. You move files around, patch up documents, change the location of your coffee mugs. That’s normal. However, it’s extremely helpful to have a designated spot for EVERYTHING when not in use. I call this an object’s ‘home.’ When they’re done, take them home. That way, when you need them again, they will be exactly where you expect them to be.
Have a Set Point
Everybody has a limit. It might take some trial and error to find the point before you burn out, but once you find it, take note. At this point, give yourself a break or just be done for the day. Use this time to focus on other things or just take some time to entertain yourself. This can be used for most areas of life, not just in terms of organization, but it’s still a helpful skill to learn.
Keep yourself accountable for your progress. If needed, bring in more people to help you stay on track. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help. Keep up with systems that work for you and make sure they are maintainable. Reward yourself for good progress and be aware of when your progress slips. Then get back to it. It’s much easier to start from point 1 than point 0, so if you see yourself slipping, get back into gear.
Staying organized takes ongoing work, don’t get me wrong. But with these tips, it’ll start to feel easier to stick with it. However, it’s also important to note that not everyone responds to the same things. Try other things that might work for you if these tips don’t. You’ll find a rhythm that fits into your lifestyle and can be more productive than ever!
What are your tips for staying organized? Let us know in the comments below! You can also contact Think Beyond the Desktop to help organize your QuickBooks and other bookkeeping needs.