You would be shocked to know that although I’m considered an Organizing Expert, my office is not always neat and tidy. We all know being organized is important, but it isn’t always easy! In a recent survey, commissioned by Post-it® Brand (my finance background is coming out…here come the numbers), 66% of office workers reported staying late or coming in early to get organized. Before you give them a talking to, for making you look bad to your boss, it’s important to understand that organizing is not one more thing you have to do, it is one more thing you can do to make work, well—less work.
I have read more organizing books then I care to admit, but they did teach me one very important lesson. What works for someone else might not work for me and vice versa. There are no shortage of books, printed books I might add, that identify paper as the culprit for disorganization. I jumped at the opportunity to blame my desktop mess on the paper it was covered with. After all, it couldn’t possibly be my own bad habits contributing to my paper problem.
I invested in the latest scanner. I switched to a digital calendar, subscribed to my favorite magazines online and even tried taking notes on my laptop. The battle was rough and at times downright embarrassing. There was the time I stopped a meeting to catch up when typing notes. Another time(s), I waited on the side of the road, recharging my phone so I could pull up my “to do” list and complete my errands. I purchased overpriced airport copies of magazines I had forgotten to download to my tablet. I missed appointments when my smart phone failed to synchronize with my desktop calendar. I don’t give up easily, but this was a losing battle. Finally, I realized that for me, some things were best done on computer and some on paper.
I had to know, was it just me? Turns out, I’m not alone. When it comes to managing to-do lists, 62% of office workers prefer paper to a computer or other digital device. I do still manage my calendar digitally, but 43% of office workers prefer a planner. As for digital meeting notes, I’m in the 30% who prefer a professional notebook.
What other paper is necessary? Well, I feel overwhelmed without Post-it® Notes and 47% of office workers share that sentiment. Magazines are still a guilty pleasure, I use Post-it® Tabs to mark important stories or pages. I am more inclined to delegate, when I go through my inbox with a stack of Post-it® Notes. Finally, when I need to quickly organize a project, I use Post-it® Notes to temporarily label my files, then when I have time, I make printed labels.
Just remember, there is no right or wrong to being organized. What matters most is that it reduces, not adds to your stress.
I love when I can use science to support my own convictions. The survey, I mentioned earlier, also reports that 94% of office workers are less productive when missing supplies. Before you say “well, no duh” think back to your last bad day. More often than not, a bad day is the culmination of a lot of little things. Work is well, work and while there is much you can’t control, you can control your workspace and preparedness. The red stapler joke is no joke, when you are the one who can’t find a stapler. There is some truth to Murphy’s Law “Everything goes wrong all at once,” but that doesn’t mean you should give up without a fight. You can stop those bad days from getting worse. I’ve learned to recognize when my mood, and productivity, are headed south; then take a moment to pull myself and my workspace together.
Social media has trained us to respond to visual cues. You can tell someone how successful you are, but if you don’t look the part, you’re wasting your breath. Some companies spend a small fortune creating awe-inspiring lobbies and meeting rooms to wow potential clients, but fail to provide the tools their employees need to stay organized and productive. Those clients will not be impressed if they catch site of messy workspaces on their way to those beautiful meeting rooms. And it’s not just potential clients you need to think of, your employees and coworkers also have opinions about messy workspaces. Want to attract and retain quality employees? Think about this:
If you are already organized, fight the urge to pat yourself on the back. Instead, take a moment to share this article with a coworker, friend or your boss (anonymously of course). An organized workplace will make your organized workspace even better.
Be sure to check out the infographic and more key findings from the Post-it® Brand Office Organization survey below!
*The Post-it® Brand Office Organization survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 full-time U.S. office workers in 2015, using an email invitation and an online survey.
When you're feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty getting started, it helps to make a list. Get all that stuff in your mind down on paper. Limit yourself to one line per item, if you have a due date include that next to the item. Don't worry about priority or additional detail at this time, just get it on paper. Once you've finished, group items into categories by priority, then type, for example errands, calls, urgent, etc. Relief will come as you work through the list and cross things off. To read past Quick Tips click here