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How to Stay Organized at Work: Avoiding Distractions & Establishing Work Routine

Maria Kharlantseva, April 4, 2024
how to stay organized at work: 15 essential tactics

Being organized is proven to have a wide variety of positive effects on your mental and physical health, such as minimizing your stress levels and increasing your productivity.

However, we all know that staying organized is easier said than done. This is especially true with the onset of the pandemic, which drastically changed how we worked and presented us with new challenges.

In this article, we’ll talk about what might be keeping you from being organized and share our best tips and tricks on how to stay organized at work.

6 Things Keeping You From Being Organized

Before we discuss how to stay organized, we first need to understand the biggest hindrances to our goals. Once we know how these factors affect us, we can take the right steps to overcome them.

Here are six things keeping you from being organized.

  • Not knowing where to start. Whether it’s organizing your files, your workload, or simply the contents of your desk, there are so many things to keep track of that you may not know where to start.
  • Lack of strategy. A good strategy brings direction to any plan. Without it, it will be much harder to achieve your organizational goals.
  • Fear of failure. Sometimes, we build up the importance of a certain task so much that the idea of possibly failing scares us into inaction. Remember, it’s okay to fail as long as you try again.
  • Inability to commit to a routine. While it’s important to start organizing, sticking to it is just as crucial in maintaining your organized state. If you can’t commit to a routine, you will just end up going back to square one sooner or later.
  • Exposure to plenty of distractions. A good strategy and a willingness to stick to a routine won’t matter much if you’re frequently exposed to energy-sapping distractions at work.
  • Lack of relevant knowledge about organizing. Organizing is a skill that has to be developed. Like any other skill, you need to learn and practice it to be good.

Don’t worry; these hindrances aren’t a death sentence but rather a key to unlocking your organizational potential. In fact, understanding them is the first step towards knowing how to stay organized at work.

Top 15 Tips for How to Stay Organized At Work

Are you ready to start organizing? In this section, we’ll discuss fifteen tips and tricks that you can use to stay organized at work.

1. Establish a schedule 📆

One of the most effective organizational tips for work is to create a schedule using the time blocking method.

Time blocking is a scheduling method where you delegate specific tasks to certain times of the day. For example, at work, you can have the following time blocks:

  • 7:45 to 8:00 AM: Arrival and preparation
  • 8:01 AM to 12:00 NN: Work on monthly reports
  • 12:01 NN to 01:00 PM: Lunch break

With time blocks like these, you know which tasks to focus on at a particular time, allowing you to plan out your entire day. You can also adjust them based on last-minute additions or sudden meetings.

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2. Use an application 💻

One of the easiest ways to be organized at work is to use an application. In fact, there are plenty of apps specifically designed to help people stay organized at work.

Practically every time management technique has its own app, from simple timers to dedicated task management software.

When using apps, it’s important to remember not to be swayed by hype and reviews alone. Remember, no app in the world can help you become more organized if you don’t enjoy using it. Make sure to try it out first to see if it matches your needs and preferences.

3. Stick to a daily routine ☀️

Routines are powerful mental tools that can help structure your day. An efficient routine will automatically help you organize your work, even without your direct input.

“If you believe you can change—if you make it a habit—the change becomes real.”

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

4. Have a daily and weekly plan 📝

A daily or weekly plan can help you eliminate distractions and focus on what you need to do. Write down all the things you have to achieve within this period.

Not only can this improve your performance, but it also helps you avoid having to make sudden decisions not based on logical thinking.

5. Create a checklist ✔️

Using a checklist can help you visualize the tasks you need to do. Not to mention, crossing things off always gives a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.

One effective trick is to arrange the tasks depending on their level of priority when making your checklist. You can do this in the traditional pen-and-paper way or with an app like Basecamp or Asana.

6. Color-code your to-do list 🖍️

Level up your checklists by color-coding items based on specific categories, such as priority level or task type. Doing so can help you determine your next course of action with just one glance.

7. Stay on top of your emails 📩

Checking emails is one of the most persistent tasks that every employee around the world has to deal with every day.

To stay on top of your emails without reducing your productivity, set aside a portion of your day specifically for checking your inbox. Ideally, this should be at the beginning, middle, and end of your day.

You can also unsubscribe from unimportant newsletters, create email folders by importance, and mark important ones that need more attention.

8. Don’t multitask 🏃

It might surprise you, but multitasking isn’t as effective as it’s made out to be.

The truth is, multitasking simply pulls your energy into multiple different directions. Although doing many things at once may seem like a productive undertaking, it actually just spreads your focus, preventing you from getting things done.

Instead of multitasking, concentrate your effort on achieving realistic goals per task. This way, you can give your 100% on each one and cross them off your to-do list much faster.

“Being busy is not the same thing as being productive.”

Ryder Carroll, The Bullet Journal Method

9. Silence your phone 🤫

It’s tough to resist the urge to check your phone whenever there’s a notification, even if it’s unimportant.

Turning off your phone–or at least putting it in silent mode–will remove this distraction. It’s also one of the simplest things that you can do to get organized at work.

10. Set up a work-only browser 👩‍💻

If you want to know how to get organized at work, you should try setting up a work-only browser.

Just like setting up a dedicated physical workspace in your work-from-home setup, a work-only browser acts as a dedicated digital workspace. After all, your normal browser contains shortcuts to all your interests, so it’s easier to get distracted when you’re using it.

On the other hand, a work-only browser won’t have these distractions, which means you’ll be less tempted to procrastinate while working. Be sure to tweak its settings, filters, and permissions to optimize it for your work tasks.

11. Keep your desk clean 🗄️

Studies show that an organized workspace reduces stress levels and enhances productivity.

This means that organizing your office to conform to your workflow and keeping it clean can help you motivate yourself to work. This includes finding a place for everything, clearing up your desk after work, and throwing away useless clutter.

12. Have a trash can near you 🗑️

If you don’t have a trash can within arm’s range, you’ll just put off throwing garbage away until it piles up in your workspace. Having a trashcan nearby can eliminate this tendency.

13. Use desk organizers 🗂️

Having a designated place for everything in your workspace can help you keep things organized. Not to mention, spending a few minutes every day to look for important supplies can take away precious time from your work and even increase your stress levels.

14. Store your most-used supplies close by ✍️

If you’re interested in getting organized at work, don’t place essential office supplies away from you, especially if you have to stand up and walk over to get them. This can mess with your productivity and workflow

Instead, have them close enough that you can reach them easily without thinking twice about it.

15. Take regular breaks 💆

Working too long too often with no breaks is the surest path to stress and burnout. To combat this, schedule small but frequent breaks, ideally five minutes for every half-hour.

While it may seem counterintuitive, work breaks can refresh your mind and replenish your energy levels, allowing you to work harder for longer. 

How to Organize Work Tasks: The Bottom Line

At Everhour, we help people learn how to stay organized at work. With its timesheet app, features for task management, time tracking, and even billing, Everhour is guaranteed to streamline your workload and give you a more organized, more efficient experience every time.

All-in-one time management system for your team

Estimate tasks, set budgets, customize reports – direct in your project management tool.

✔️ Asana time tracking
✔️ Trello time tracking
✔️ Basecamp time tracking
✔️ Jira time tracking
✔️ GitHub time tracking
✔️ ClickUp time tracking
✔️ Monday time tracking

Maria Kharlantseva

Maria is a proud content guardian with experience working for international teams and projects of different complexities. Maria has a passion for fantasy novels, music, black-and-white films, and nitpicking (because there is always room for improvement!).