In the name of organisation

Abbey Perkins

As we all know, organisation is a crucial component of productivity and efficiency in the workplace, but not everyone is born with the ‘organised gene’. If you are like me, you are a process-driven, organisation-loving, spreadsheet-making, administrative crazy person. If you are not like me and are somewhat organisationally and administratively challenged, this blog is for you!

Being organised in the workplace gives the impression employees have a clear understanding of priorities, deadlines and responsibilities. It means being able to manage your time effectively and efficiently, ensuring that important tasks are completed on time and that projects move forward smoothly.

Disorganisation can lead to missed deadlines, more mistakes, increased stress levels and overall, decreased performance. For me, how my space looks is often a good indication of my headspace – if my desk is disorganised, in a total mess and I have clutter everywhere, you can almost bet that that is what my brain looks like too – a little bit all over the place. These are the times that I am more likely to rush, to make mistakes and get stressed – so organisation and processes are key for me.

I have put together some tips and tricks that I try to practice daily to get the most out of my day:

  1. Clear space, clear head.

Ensure your space is clean, clear of clutter and makes logical sense for whatever task you are performing. This applies to both your physical desktop as well as your digital desktop. Creating a system that works for you, that eliminates excess files taking up space, and promotes productivity is key.

For example, the digital files I use and reference the most are pinned as shortcuts to my desktop; and the files and documents I reach for most or things I am currently working on are in the file rack organiser on my desk keeping them front of my mind and space. The rest of the documents are filed away in drawers and folders that are clearly labelled and logically located.

  1. Carve out time in your day for tasks.

Time blocking is one of my tried-and-true tips. If your role is client face to face and you are in back-to-back appointments you could try adding 5-10 minutes dedicated ‘admin time’ at the end of each appointment, this means that anything urgent you need to action from that appointment you can get started on or complete rather than waiting to do them at the end of the day and having to stay back late.

If your role is less client face to face and you find yourself with a laundry list of tasks with competing deadlines you can use time blocking to give some structure to your day. Allocate yourself a certain amount of dedicated time to work on a specific task or project. During this dedicated time, you could divert/silence your phone or try closing your email browser to minimise distractions. This way you are not tempted to just ‘take a quick call’ or ‘just quickly’ reply to an email which, more often than not, can completely derail your workflow and progress on your tasks.

I often use my calendar to do this – I add a ‘To do’ event to my calendar every morning with specific tasks that I need to complete that day, and if I don’t complete them they roll over into the next day’s list. I use the description of the calendar event to list my tasks in priority order. If I have a project or specific task I am working on I will also block out a period of time in my day with a calendar event, named after the project or task, I then once again use the description of the event to list what I need to do and note anything about the project or task that I need to keep in mind. This is also a great way to track your time if you are a billable team member.

  1. To-Do or not To-Do? Always, create a To-Do list.

Whether you are working solo or within a team, a To-Do list is a great way to guide your workload for any given day or project. To-Do lists become increasingly important within a team and are critical for team collaboration. Using an interactive platform like Trello has been a game changer both for my personal workload and in terms of team collaboration.

Trello neatly organises your tasks and ideas so that you and your team know what needs to be actioned and you can be held accountable for it, allowing your whole team to communicate in real time, from anywhere, to share information and to understand their roles and responsibilities. Using a platform like Trello often also helps reduce inbox overload of emails updating your team on the project or task, and instead providing a centralised communication platform.

If you are more old school and prefer putting pen to paper, you can download some great To-Do list templates through the likes of Canva and Etsy which can help you categorise your tasks and organise your thoughts better than a traditional list.

  1. If it’s not in the calendar, it didn’t happen.

Be it in your personal life, your professional life, through Outlook or through a Google calendar, a detailed calendar is one of the best tools you can utilise. Use a colour coding system so you can see at a glance where you need to be or what you need to be doing, take advantage of the task functionality and set yourself tasks with due dates to keep yourself on track and accountable, and pack as many details as you can into the events you set by adding notes, addresses and linking documents or emails.

Ensure you keep your calendar up to date – accept invitations from your team, remove events that have been cancelled and make sure the event titles are clear and can be understood by anyone body else viewing your calendar. Add the times you are not available into your diary, marked by an event called ‘Unavailable’ for example, so your team is clear on when you are and are not available, which can help cut down on cancellations and rescheduling.

  1. Take all of the notes.

Not just some of the notes… all of the notes – even if you think ‘I’ll remember that’, write it down! Capturing and organising ideas, meeting notes and important information is so important. In training, in meetings or just in your day-to-day tasks; details are key, so do everything in your power to help your future self by taking detailed and comprehensive notes. You can of course create your own shorthand or key to take faster notes but don’t cheat yourself on the detail.

I can’t tell you how much I refer back to my notes from when I started with Inspire HQ on how to do tasks or how to handle certain situations. You can use these notes to create a comprehensive manual for yourself and your team or use as a reference to know who asked for what, when what was due, what to do for that project, etc. This means you can spend less time asking your team the same questions over and over, chasing team members for information and questioning if you are on the right track.

Now, I know that you will not be organised ALL THE TIME, life happens! But if you can put these simple tips into practice to help navigate your days and stressors, it might just make it that little bit easier for yourself day to day. I can honestly say that I personally use all the above tools and tricks in both my personal and work life to help me stay on top of my game.

About The Author
Abbey Perkins

Abbey is mostly known for being ‘the organised one,’ but she also has strong roots in customer service and administration in a myriad of industries ranging from civil construction to a perfume boutique. Abbey is always keen to connect with people and experience new things, she loves being at the centre of the hustle and bustle and getting down to work. Abbey is all about building meaningful connections within her work, be it from her past in sales or administration roles, she never forgets a face and a name. You can count on Abbey to think about every little detail and make those big ideas come to life. Support and enthusiasm are her middle names.

Outside of work, Abbey has a keen interest in all things history and interior design. Abbey can often be found sweating it out at a barre class or enjoying a catch up with friends in the local Ballarat restaurant and bar scene. Abbey is excited to be a part of the Inspire HQ team and looks forward to making meaningful connections with the community.

For more useful information, follow Abbey on LinkedIn.

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