What this looks like:
Completes tasks within deadlines without compromising quality and details
Prioritizes projects and requests while simultaneously managing frequent interruptions
Maintains efficiency and is able to retrieve important information quickly by creating an organized physical and digital workspace i.e., neat and tidy desk, clearly labeled folders on email and Google Drive, etc.
Attends meetings on time
Review and plan your calendar daily. The more you can anticipate future activities, the more mental control you have to help you stay organized. There’s no need to catch yourself off guard throughout the day.
Try this: At the end of each workday and first thing in the morning, look at your calendar and recognize the upcoming meetings and priorities for the day. Mentally prepare for your goals of each meeting, and tackle activities that must be accomplished first.
Color-code your calendar. Learning how to categorize and place your work types in buckets will help organize your brain.
Try this: Color-code your calendar by projects so you can see approximately how much time you’ve allocated to each area i.e., meetings for Project A are yellow, meetings for Project B are orange, meetings for project C are pink, trainings and professional development seminars are green, weekly 1:1’s are gray, urgent reminders or deadlines are red, personal items are yellow, etc.
Use calendar tickers.
Try this: For every project, create a project timeline to ensure stakeholders are aware of the deliverables and what to expect throughout the process. Place [weekly] checkpoints on your calendar or milestones to meet with a reviewer before the actual deadline to ensure that the project is on track and meets standards.
Document your workflow. There may be times you inherited a tedious process, or maybe you created a workflow that isn’t as efficient as you’d like it to be. Putting these steps and procedures in writing for future reference will save you time and a headache.
Try this: Identify a process that is not as consistent and/or streamlined as you wish and takes more time than necessary to complete. Set aside time to create a step-by-step document that lays out how to complete the process. Not only will this be helpful to you, but colleagues who may go through this process in the future.
Be honest with yourself. All of us have our quirks and bad habits. We may be likely to avoid certain tasks or tend to arrive late to meetings because we find ourselves socializing in the previous meeting.
Try this: Identify areas where you tend to be late or cut it close. Add at least a 30-minute buffer time in between activities to give you a moment to prepare for the next meeting.
Try this: Identify time of days or environments where you get the most distractions. Plan your activities that need more focus and concentration at times when there are likely to be fewer distractions, when you’re at your most productive, and/or areas where you will receive the least distractions. Remember, it’s okay to disconnect email and instant messaging if you have important work to do. Just notify people how you can be reached for urgent messages.
Resources to Learn More
Medium: 10 Ways to Improve Your Organizational Skills by Stacey Marone
Popular Science: Seven Apps and Tools to Organize Your Life by David Nield
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Netflix: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo