Getting organized. This was the number two New Year’s resolution made in 2015, as reported by The Statistic Brain. When we are disorganized, items are misplaced, appointments forgotten, tasks take longer to complete. It costs us, as individuals and organizations, time and money. In a discussion about time management with The Observer, Dan Ariely, author and behavioral economist at Duke University stated, “control your environment, or it will control you.”
Most of us don’t need research to tell us that more often than not, resolutions are set and then soon forgotten. So how can we achieve our goal of not only getting organized, but also maintaining organization and taking control of our environment?
To start, try replacing the nondescript, daunting resolution of “getting organized” with a more concrete, identifiable goal. What do you want to bring order to (your work area, your schedule, inbox)? Next, find a system that works best for you.
There are many tools out there, with new ones popping up daily. Here are a few that have many singing their praises:
Trello: A virtual bulletin board that helps you manage projects and to-do lists. Accessible via their app or website and the ability to create multiple boards, and customize each with options like color coding, dropping in images/links, or even invite others to collaborate with you on them. Check out an extensive list of tips here.
Slack: Brings all of your communications together to one place. Talk to and share information with one person – or a group of people. For remote workers, it can help keep everyone “in the loop” and feeling less isolated. This popular tool (some calling it an email killer) is being used by leading organizations such as DOW, Harvard University, eBay, NBC Universal and more. An ultimate cheat sheet found here.
Google Calendar: Unlike the first two tools, you’ve likely heard of this one. Sometimes the best tools are not the newest thing on the market. With Google Calendar, you can share your calendar…or sync with others, color code appointments, set up recurring events at the touch of a button, or even print it out (for those who like a physical calendar hanging up). Tips you need to know.
When we talk about organization, we cannot forget about organizing your physical workspace as well. Clear out any distractions, give each item a home…and never underestimate the power of aesthetically pleasing tools, containers, accessories, and/or furniture. There’s nothing wrong with surrounding ourselves with things that make us smile – and help us look forward to work.
In the end, keep it simple, to increase your odds at not only getting organized, but maintaining it throughout the year.