How to Get Organized at Work

How to Get Organized at Work

If you want to get more done in your small business, you need to get organized.

Organization can come in many different forms for small businesses. If you work in an office, then your organization needs are likely to be different than someone who runs a store or a restaurant. But there are some basics that are important to keep in mind no matter where you work. Here are some organization tips that can help your small business get more done right away.

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How to Get Organized at Work

Purge Your Supplies

It’s tough to get organized when you have a lot of unnecessary stuff taking up space. So when you’re starting to get organized, go through all of your office supplies and throw out or donate anything that you don’t use on a regular basis.

Ensure Everything Has a Designated Space

From there, you need to find a place for everything. Try to keep everything out of the way of your immediate workspace so as to avoid clutter as much as possible.

Keep Your Most-Used Supplies Easily Accessible

However, you should give priority to the supplies that you use most often. If you’re going to keep anything on your desk or in the drawers immediately adjacent to your workspace, it should be the things that you use every day.

Go Paperless Where Possible

Part of eliminating clutter is also avoiding the creation of new clutter. So make sure that you only print out and keep documents and other paper items that are absolutely necessary to have in hard copies. Then keep the rest as digital files instead.

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Stay on Top of Your Inbox

Your online life can also be really important to organize. And that starts with your inbox. When organizing, work your way down to inbox zero and then create folders to organize all of your incoming mail.


Then you’ll also want to unsubscribe from any newsletters or lists that aren’t absolutely essential to your operations so that you can cut down on future emails even more.

Sort Incoming Mail/Documents Daily

Once you get all of your emails and mail items organized, you need to work to keep that organization going. To do this, it’s a good idea to set aside a bit of time each day to sort through every incoming item.

Throw Out/Delete the Non Essentials

You’ll also want to keep the spirit of purging the non-essentials going beyond your initial organization efforts. When you get new documents, emails, messages or other items, toss or delete everything that you don’t need right away instead of letting those items take up space for longer than necessary.

Declutter Your Social Media

Social media can be another source of online clutter. If you follow tons of accounts that aren’t necessary, then you’re likely to spend a lot of extra time going through your timelines. So unfollow or hide the accounts that you don’t need regular updates from.

Use Apps to Stay Organized

You can keep important information right at your fingertips with the help of apps. Mobile and desktop apps like Dropbox and Evernote can help you store notes and information in one central place that you can access from anywhere.

But Stay Away from Too Many Apps

However, it’s important that you don’t get caught up in downloading apps for every single function. If you have too many, then it can be difficult to remember what information you have in which app, which defeats the purpose. So try and stick to just a few, and go for those that serve multiple functions where possible.

Turn Off Notifications

You also don’t want to constantly get caught up with new messages and alerts. So turn off notifications on your phone and computer while you work so that you can stick to the tasks at hand.

Fill Your To-Do List With Essential Tasks

Part of being organized is staying on top of the tasks that need to be done. So you have to have some kind of to-do list for each day or week. However, don’t fill up your list with clutter or non-essential items. Instead, prioritize just those items that you absolutely have to do.

Stick to a Single Planner or Online Calendar

In addition, it’s important to keep your to-do lists in one central location. You can use a paper planner or an online calendar or to-do list app, as long as you stick with just one constantly.

Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking is a really fast way to get unorganized. You’ll find yourself juggling too many supplies, open tabs, emails and other items. And you may even fall behind on work altogether. Instead, stick with just one task at a time until you’ve completed it. Then put back any supplies and sort any digital items dealing with that task before moving onto the next one.

Ensure All Inventory is Properly Labeled

If you run a business with inventory like a store or restaurant, then you need to have a system for keeping that organized as well. And make sure that everything is properly labeled so that you employees can easily find items as well.

Schedule Regular Breaks

If you’re going to actually stay organized, then you need to make sure you’re not too overwhelmed to do so. Schedule in some short breaks throughout each work day so that you can stay productive and also have some built-in time in case you get caught up with a particularly time-consuming task.

Set Aside Time for Organization

As with other tasks, you also need to actually dedicate time to organization if you want to be successful with it. So add organization tasks to your to-do list periodically and actually set aside some time to complete those items.

Get Into a Routine

In fact, it can be a good idea to get into a daily or weekly routine to organize certain items. For example, you can set aside five minutes at the end of each day to clean off your desk and sort your emails. Then at the end of the week or month, you can take a half day to actually go through your entire workspace and hard drive.

Create a System That Makes Sense for You

When it comes to organization, there are many different routes you can take. Some people prefer to keep everything online, while others like paper planners and filing cabinets. But you have to do what feels comfortable to you if you want to actually be successful.

Organized Work Photo via Shutterstock 2 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions
  1. I agree about the purging of supplies. You should make it a point to organize everything. This is true for me who cannot work unless everything is organized around me.

  2. Annie: I will clean my office desk and then go through your post and check mark point by point! 😉