As a working woman, it’s crucial to be productive and to stay on top of things. The skills you must have would be, and in no particular order, to be reliable, a good listener, can be held accountable, kind, and last but not least, being organized. Being organized is an important element, as this is what can save you from being stressed out. By simply having a more efficient system to keep track of all your papers, schedule, can help minimize stress-influenced conditions such as depression, skin problems and high blood pressure.
There is a reason why those who are the calmest and least stressed manage to get things done – they understand the significance of organization, and thus, they have instilled their habits accordingly. The good news is that it is indeed, possible for you to become more organized and productive, too.
- Don’t let your desk be cluttered. Maybe with the mess on your desk, you would still know exactly where an item is, in which stack of paper, in which drawer. But you would be lying if you think that you would be less productive if you actually cleaned and organize your desk. An organized desk means an organized mind. The messier your desk is, the harder it will be for you to focus.
- Don’t touch things more than once. Try not to put things on hold, or “I’ll do that later”. You end up wasting your time when you can do it then immediately. As soon as an email or a phone call gets your attention, you should act on it, pass it on or delete it. “Just do it” says one of the most famous slogan.
- To-do lists. Your day should start and end with your to-do list. Commit to getting everything on that list done each day, and when you are through the list, good news, you are through with your day! Get a calendar and maintain it, always. Old fashioned desk calendar or an app that’s synchronized to your phone or email, use it. If you find yourself writing on post-its or scribbling on random papers, then you should know that that is a sign that you are slipping! I don’t know about you, but what works for me is having a dated diary or planner, and write down all the things I have to do for that particular day, and also to mark it on my calendar. Apps aren’t really my thing, I guess I am old fashioned that way.
- Make full use of modern technology. On the other hand, this goes to the tech-savy people. Technology can make us more productive, Make full use of apps like Evernote so that you can organize information, or cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Documents. You can save a lot of time from transferring one file to a drive, when all you can do is just ‘search it’.
- Self-awareness. Productive and organized people have a clear picture about who they are. You should know your strengths and weaknesses. If you tend to let meetings run too long, set a timer for it so you won’t go overboard. If you struggle with keeping the meetings fruitful and effective, create a meeting agenda, so that you don’t stray away from the main reason to have that meeting. If you forget to check important messages in the morning, set a reminder for yourself to do it. The details don’t really matter here, because what is important is that you think cautiously.
- They make time for lunch. We’ve all been there—you’re so busy that you don’t realize that the hours have gone by. By the time you look up at the clock, it’s way past lunch time. You end up either going without eating anything or grabbing a snack from the vending machine. You need to have a proper meal. Make it a priority to eat something. Skipping meals will affect your concentration and productivity, and nobody wants that if you want to keep on moving.
- Complete the ones you don’t want to do, first. They beat procrastination by doing the most dreaded item on their to-do list first, before anything else. When you’re done doing something that would potentially harm your mood or concentration, you’ll be free to tackle others that’s actually exciting and will inspire you.
- Tidy up. Neaten up at the end of each day. Set aside at least ten minutes at the end of each day to organize your desk. It will make you feel more relaxed leaving work, and the next day you’ll come back to a much neater desk. Although things are best to touch only once, it’s normal that we’ve stopped doing a task halfway because a colleague stopped by to have a little chat, or you have to attend to a phone call. There are just some things that you can’t prevent.
- Plan your days the night before. Those that are organized and productive would to go bed each night knowing what they want to accomplish the next day. Straighten out your priorities and once the day starts, you’ll know what you will be doing and would be less likely to get distracted from the new tasks that somehow seem important, but actually aren’t.
- Snail mail. Don’t ignore it. These days, there might not be a lot of snail mail anymore. But when you do receive them, don’t be quick to ignore them as it could cause problems. It could be bills and other notifications. Just open it and deal with it as soon as you see it. You don’t want to regret it later and have to search that stack of envelopes lying around.