Do you find yourself always sifting through piles of paper trying to find the one sheet that you need for your meeting in five minutes, or trying not to knock over the stack of books and other assorted items? Sometimes even finding where you put something on your computer is a problem! Then it is time to get organized. This can be a hard task to get started on and sometimes an even harder task to keep up on. It is important to start small. A good place to start would be your computer desktop. Then move on to your email before tackling your desk. If you are a visual person, making a list on a whiteboard that you can cross off what you have done, so you can see what you accomplished throughout the day might be a good idea. Getting a lot done will help you to be more motivated to keep up the good work!
Let’s get started with your computer! I know from experience that it can be very easy to just save everything to your desktop right where you can see it and it is easy to find. Pretty soon, however, your desktop is so full of documents, pictures, and other data that you can’t find anything anyways. This can be a big problem especially with all of the work that college students and other professionals do on their computer. I know that personally I save on at least five things to my desktop daily! This can add up very quickly. A method that I have discovered that works well for me is folders so that my computer is just like a filing cabinet only in a digital form. During the school year when I am taking classes I have one folder for each class. Any work that is totally completed goes in the specific folder. Inside that folder I may have two or three other smaller folders inside with various projects, bigger assignments, or groups of assignments such as journal entries. At the end of the semester all of the class folders for that semester go into one big folder with the semester name on it. By categorizing everything you can easily find documents that you need when you need them without having to go through all of them on your desktop. I have also found that I get a lot less stressed and overwhelmed when I set my desktop up in this way. This is also a good way to organize your computer on the job. It is important to have like things grouped together so that they can be navigated easily.
There are many people who have thousands of unread emails. It is time to clean those out! By having so many emails it is easy to miss something really important or forget to respond to someone. It is time to go through them and see what you really need. Much like your desktop you can also make folders for your email. What I recommend doing first is getting all of your unread junk email out first. I know that it kind of a pain to go through and check every one individually and delete them and it is really time consuming, but it has to be done. There is also an easier way to delete several emails in a row that are not necessary. The easiest way to tackle this job is to select the first one then while holding shift you can click on one four or five down and it will select all of the emails that are in between. You can then delete all of them at on time. Another way that you can do delete big bulk of emails at once is to go through and star all of the important emails when you have finished that you can go to the select button on the left hand side of the tool bar and choose the option to select all not starred email. You can then go up and trash all of the not starred or unimportant emails. I would not prefer this method because I would be too scared of accidentally deleting something important. Another way to organize your email is through your settings. In my email I have it arranged so that all unread emails are at the top and read emails are at the bottom so that I can see what I still need to take care of. If I open an email that I do not have time to deal with right away, I mark it as unread so that it remains at the top.
This final portion of organization is organizing your workspace. This is what I struggle with the most. I tend to have a big clutter of stuff on my desk because I am scared to throw away something that I might need. One investment that should be made in order to get the paperwork off of your desk is a filing system and filing folders. The filing system may be a small system that fits on your desk or a filing cabinet depending on what size you need. This does not have to be extravagant, just a way for you to organize the papers on your desk. Another way to organize your workspace is to get rid of everything that you do not need. Normally thinking that you might need something means that you will probably not ever use it or that you will use it so rarely that it isn’t worth keeping. It is just taking up space. Also get rid of any duplicates that you have. You don’t need two staplers, tape dispensers, or calculators.
By becoming more organized you will be able to be more productive because you can spend less time looking for things and more time getting work done. All of this organization does not have to be done in one day, but it is important to set your goal and to take small steps to achieve that goal. Organization is important especially if you are sharing your workspace with others. Having clutter may be very distracting to them so it is important to be respectful and on top of your game when it comes to being organized. It isn’t easy, but your hard work will pay off!