Tools to Stay Organized at Work

“Be the ruler of your workspace, don’t let it rule you.”

These were the words of my very first boss, on my very first day of work in a real office. At the time, his advice meant making liberal use of the many different colors of Post-It noted in the supply closet, to serve as reminders for everything from upcoming meetings to coworkers’ birthdays.

But as connectivity has increased, the workspace has become a hybrid combination of cloud-based services, digital integration, and, lastly, the real-world office space itself.

Whether you’re looking to start off on the right foot at a new job or just want to revamp your personal organizational system that you’ve relied on for years, we’re here to guide you through some of the most practical and efficient ways to keep track of commitments, obligations, and important documents.

In just a few simple steps, you can turn that messy desk and cluttered computer into a streamlined command center, one that consistently reminds you of what’s most important.

Evernote

Many of us grew up with cork boards at home or at school, likely filled up with magazine photos, maybe an inspirational quote or two, and scraps of paper with nothing more than scribbled ideas on them. And there’s a good reason that the same basic concept of visualizing tasks, inspiration, and passing thoughts has continued on into the digital age.

The world-famous Evernote has taken that same basic idea and supercharged it. Offered both as a smartphone app and a desktop download, the Evernote system makes it easy to categorize information and stay on top of deadlines and a wide array of projects.

You can set reminders, collaborate with other members of your team, or even give yourself a roadmap for the months and years ahead.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb0o8fTV6lg

And since you can sign in from any compatible device, from just about anywhere, Evernote lets you stay on top of your work even when you’re traveling or otherwise don’t have access to your hard drive. And here in the 21st century, that kind of accessibility can’t be overestimated.

Best of all, Evernote’s basic version is free to use, elevating it as one of the most cost-efficient ways to get all your proverbial ducks in a row.  

Good Old-Fashioned To-Do Lists

As history has taught us, many of the best ideas are also very simple ideas.

Keeping a master to-do list with your phone or with pen and paper is a great low-cost way to prioritize tasks and stay on track.

Apart from referring to these lists later, the act of writing or typing a task can actually subconsciously communicate to your brain that a particular task is important.

Saying a specific task out loud to yourself as you add it to the list can also trigger a sense of ownership over the work. But if you’re in a shared workspace, just be sure to let your coworkers know that there’s a method to the apparent madness.

Get Your Files Straight  

Intelligent file organization can very well be applied to physical files in those familiar manila folders, but for most of us it means taking another look at how we manage our computer desktops.

When working with a large company or organization, it’s a good idea to include a copy of every file on a shared hard drive or server. That way, it’s easy for the whole team to keep track of progress and access important documents without having to personally ask you for a copy.

Additionally, be sure to keep any personal files and photos out of your business accounts and away from company computers. It may seem difficult or frustrating at first, but keeping those worlds separate can prevent future headaches.

Once you have your system ironed out, be sure to make it last by funneling brand new files into their appropriate folders. Soon enough, naming and organizing files appropriately will become second nature.

Desk Organizers

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but desk cubbies and compact organizers tend to go overlooked in favor of tidying our phones and computers.

And while keeping our devices tidy and efficient is key to boosting productivity, maintaining our physical workspaces, whether in the office or at home, can be crucial to letting our minds focus on the task at hand, not on trying to find a single month-old note in a cascading pile of papers.   

We have a special affinity for the Slatwall system, which allows for a modular and personalized approach to making sure that the desk itself stays clear for devices, idea pads, and, of course, a highly caffeinated beverage of your choice.

The Slatwall system. Image via Steelcase.

Even if you’re on a budget, a simple desk caddy from big-box retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon will justify its purchase price again and again.

Make Purges Monthly

Beyond giving yourself a place to put all your most important items, the next and arguably more difficult step is to make a habit of clearing out the bits you don’t need.

Don’t wait for spring cleaning or a New Year’s resolution. Make purging unnecessary files, documents, and notes as monthly (or even a weekly) occurrence.

If you’re hesitant to delete or toss even the most menial files, make use of a simple archiving system, perhaps on a backup external hard drive or a physical filing cabinet where your past work will stay safe for years to come.

The organizational effects will be immediate, and you’ll also get to feel highly productive and proactive. What could be better?

You Do You

In the end, when it comes to organizing your professional life, the most important step is to find what works for you. It may be that you prefer certain methods over others. The only way to find out is to experiment, learning over time what works best for you and your work.

We hope that these tips will inspire you to tweak your own methods to help reduce stress and ultimately lead to a healthier work life.

 

 

Nine Common Signs You Will Be Laid Off in the Near Future
How to Inspire Others in the Workplace on a Daily Basis
Seven Helpful Examples of Professionalism in the Workplace
Overhearing Someone Talking About You at Work: What to Do
Staying Positive at Work in Tough Times: A Basic Guide
Helpful Car Driving Tips for Beginners in the USA and Beyond
What to Look for When Renting an Apartment Checklist
Interview: Culinary Pros Talk Food, Work, and Passion
Tips for Working Full-Time and Running a Small Business
Top Business Books of All Time that You Should Read ASAP
How to Apologize to a Friend for Being Rude (and Mean It)
Negotiating Used Car Price Over Email: Getting the Best Deal
What Equipment Do You Need to Start a Podcast? - A Guide
"I Can’t Get Out of Bed in the Morning" - Possible Solutions
The Best Hybrid Bike for Beginners: An Introductory Guide
Eight Fun Games to Motivate Employees in the Workplace
What Makes Employees Feel Valued? - An Exploration
Seven Great Ways to Improve Efficiency in the Workplace
How to Research a Neighborhood Before You Buy - Helpful Tips
Nine Great Low-Stress Jobs for Homebodies and Freelancers
8 Cheap Ways to Make Your Small Business Look Professional
Interview: Denny Sila on Raising a Jazz Piano Prodigy
How to Be Fashionable on a Low Budget: Tips and Advice
Reconnecting with Old Friends Advice - Suggestions to Try
How to Ask for a Donation in an Email: Suggestions to Try
"I Prefer to Be Alone Most of the Time" - The Pros and Cons
How to Be an Active Member of the Community: Tips to Try
"My New Job is Not What I Expected" - What to Do Next
How to Stay Calm When Angry at Work: Suggestions to Try
How to Stop Arguing with Someone: Five Suggestions to Try
The Importance of Public Speaking in Everyday Life
Technicals Skills of an Entrepreneur: Essential Knowledge
The Importance of Art and Culture in Our Life: A Guide
List of Social Activities for Adults: Fun Ideas to Try Today
How to Find a Hobby or Passion: Guidelines and Suggestions
Not Hearing Back from Jobs? - Here's What to Try Next
Quitting a Job Without a Notice Letter: The Pros and Cons
How to Apologize to a Customer for a Mistake: Tips to Try
Why is it Important to Love Your Job? - An Exploration
The Many Benefits of Home Cooked Meals Vs. Fast Food
How to Get into Running When Overweight: A Concise Guide
Depressed About Being Single For So Long? - The Bright Side
The Side Effects of Working Too Much: What to Watch For
9 Jobs That Require Travel and Pay Well - Ideas and Tips
Cheap Healthy Meal Plan Shopping List: Suggestions to Try
Funny Ways to Answer the Phone to Telemarketers: Tips to Try
What Makes a Good Sales Associate? - Tips for Your Success
How to Apologize Professionally in an Email: Tips to Try
Ideas to Make the Workplace Better: Several Suggestions
Workplace Fun Friday Ideas to Increase Employee Motivation
The Basics of Workplace Etiquette: An Introductory Guide
Creative Ways to Give Advice: Ideas and Suggestions to Try
11 Jobs for Laid Back Personalities: Ideas and Suggestions
How to Deal with a Demanding Boss: Tips and Tricks
My Coworkers Are Jealous of Me: Ideas for What to Do Next
Career Path Planning for Employees: Guiding Principles
Starting a Side Business While Employed: Tips and Tricks
Business Ideas for Students in University: Seven Suggestions
Careers for Introverts in Healthcare: Ideas and Suggestions
What Qualities Make a Company a Great Place to Work?
Books for Guys Who Don’t Like to Read - The Idea Trader
Do Kittens Sleep Through the Night? - The Idea Trader
Can I Become a Graphic Designer Without a Degree?
Best Books for Aspiring Entrepreneurs - The Idea Trader
Gregory Finkelson Devises Brilliant Plan To End Shutdown
UK’s Brexit Troubles Urge Caution to Other EU Nations
Estimates of Children Separated at Border Higher Than Before
How to Calm Down A Kitten When Hyper: Tips and Tricks
How to Make Work Fun for Employees: An Idea Trader Guide
How to Improve My Attendance at Work: An Idea Trader Guide
How to Deal With Neighbors Who Are Bullies: Tips and Tricks
Fun Things To Bring On A Cruise: An Idea Trader Travel Guide
How to Live Well on a Small Income: Helpful Tips and Tricks
Best Way To Clean Walls When Moving Out: Tips and Tricks
What Does Business Casual Mean For a Man? - Ideas and Tips
9 Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Efficiency in the Office
How To Stop Procrastination In The Workplace
Tools to Stay Organized at Work
Home Remedies to Fall Asleep Quickly
Weekly Update, 12/16/18
Weekly Update, 12/9/18
The Plan Behind the Packaging: Leading Designers Moree Wu and Sijia Zhang Give a Pre-Holiday Crash Course on the Importance of Design
Weekly Update, 11/18/18
One Big Three-Legged Race: App Designer Yunning Liu on the Undying Relationship Between Technology and Design
Weekly Update, 11/11/18
Weekly Update, 11/4/18
Weekly Update, 10/28/18
Weekly Update, 10/21/18
Bassist Ole Kirkeng on the Ins and Outs of Being a Musician in 2018
Weekly Update, 10/7/18
Weekly Update, 9/30/18
Weekly Update, 9/16/18
Interview With Grocery Delivery Mogul, Tejas Viswanath
Software Whiz Ahmed Ilyas On What It Feels Like To Be At The Center Of The Tech World
Weekly Update, 9/9/18
Weekly Update, 9/2/18
Weekly Update, 8/26/18
Saurabh Rajwade’s Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions in the Modern World
Australia Places Ban on Plastic Bags
The Future of Carbon-Neutral Cars
UN Report on US Poverty Puts the Blame on Politics
The Cost of Elon Musk's Vision for Transportation
Anthony Bourdain: a Legacy of Food, Culture, and Travel
Psychedelic Drugs and their Effects on Depression Discovered
Spotlight in Screenwriting: an Interview with Karolyn Carnie
'Ye' and the Conflict of Artistry
Gender and the Millennial Issue with Impostor Syndrome
Behind the Big Screen: an Interview with Gemma Karlsen
Study Links Body Clock to Certain Mental Illnesses
UK Facial Recognition Wrongly Identifies Criminals
World’s Largest Cruise Ship is a Floating Mega-Resort
3-D Printing Startup has Eye on the Sky
Tesla Model 3 Becomes America’s Best-Selling Electric Car
Impossible Foods Leads the Way on Meatless Substitutes
Your Smart Device Might Be Listening
Cobalt Robotics Receives Funding for Robot Security Guard
Intel Feels the Hurt as Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips
Uber Suspends Self-Driving Car Tests after Fatal Crash
Chaos By Trump: Stocks Display The New Fragrance
Worst week ever? Tech takes a bow, not in a good way
A Mexico Mystery: What Happened to the Sharps?
Did Sister Jean Not Believe in Divine Providence?
Will This Be The New World War or Cold War?
Iran Continues to Mount Tensions Against the U.S.
He Was Born In A Small Town… And Performs There, Too
This Singer Happens In Vegas, But Doesn’t Always Stay
Moving Through Jell-O Pudding: Cliff Huxtable’s Troubles
If Only #Monet Had A Hashtag …
Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram