At home or in the office, we all strive to do one thing—save time. Time is critical when trying to put the finishing touches on the monthly reports, or when trying to reach your deadlines.
Fortunately, there is hope for even the most disorganized people. By making a few simple changes, you can save the time you need to be able to focus more on the important tasks in your office.
1. Perhaps one of the most frustrating ways we waste time occurs while flipping through phone books or piles of paper as you try to locate numbers that you use on a regular basis. An easy way to avoid this is by having a list of the numbers you frequently use near your phone. You could make up a small list and tape it to your desk, or you could try using a roll-o-deck to keep them in order.
2. Why put off until tomorrow what you can get done today? Don’t let the little things accumulate until there is just so much to do that it will take you hours to get caught up. For example, filing is a small task that when not done regularly, adds up to major time loss in the office. File those papers as needed.
3. Keep the clutter away. Maintain a clean work surface on your desk. If this means having a drawer to keep papers or projects in that are incomplete, then that’s fine. A cluttered work surface is overwhelming. Looking at all those projects that need finished can immobilize you in the office and can make it nearly impossible to get anything done. All you can think about is how you are ever going to get it all done, or where you are going to begin.
4. Take it one task at a time. When you are feeling overwhelmed by all you need to do, order your projects by priority. Stick to the most important project and give no thought to the others until that one is done. For example, if you have reports due the first of every month, and it is the 29th already then make those your priority. Don’t worry about the project that is due the middle of next month.
5. Get into the habit of using a desk clock. Use it for those projects that you are really procrastinating on. Tell yourself that you will work on it for a half hour and stick to it. This will help you motivate on things you aren’t really excited about doing.
6. Don’t be afraid to say no if you already have more than you can handle. If your office mate comes up to you and asks you to file some papers for her because she is short on time, just be honest and tell her that you are too. Often we get more stressed than is necessary because we do not know how to say no.
7. Finally, do whatever you can to make your office as stress-free as possible. Light relaxing scented candles like lavender to make you feel at ease at your desk. If you have a knack for growing plants then set a couple on your desk or somewhere nearby. Plants are surprisingly therapeutic. Just having something close that is alive and growing can bring some sunshine to your day. Bringing pictures of loved ones and decorating for the seasons will also make your area a little more cheerful. The less stressed you are, the better you will be able to focus on your tasks.
If you are disorganized, as many are, you will be amazed at how much these small changes will help you to save more time—leaving room in your day for the more important undertakings you are responsible for.