We’ve been getting questions about organization spurred on by New Year’s resolutions, but they tend to be about home organization rather than office organization. Most popular resolutions are designed for our personal lives — exercise more, save money, make time for family members, and so on. Yet research indicates that the average person spends one-third of their life at work. Why do we ignore that one-third when making our yearly goals? Consider dedicating your energy to a professional goal this year and make the most of your work life.
If You Want To: Increase Your Productivity
Do you find yourself fluttering from task to task or easily distracted by your inbox? Try focusing on managing your attention, rather than your time. Quartz’ take on time management suggests that shallow work tasks are more likely to lead to distractions and loss of productivity than involved, deep work. By tackling your high-priority items first, which are usually deep work tasks, you can knock items off your to-do list before becoming fatigued. You’ll need to set yourself up for success first, by creating a thorough to-do list in advance, categorizing your tasks by priority or attention type, and pledging to avoid multi-tasking until priority tasks are complete.
If You Want To: Become More Detail Oriented
Work on remembering the details by working with your brain rather than against it. Set up a workflow that you can easily follow, regardless of what others around you are doing. Writing things down has been shown to improve memory more than typing can do, so maybe you need a good notebook to keep close-by. If you prefer a searchable, indexable document you could create a custom spreadsheet with various categories. Color can be a great visual trigger — use bright page flags to highlight important documents or choose a colorful file folder for projects in-progress.
If You Want To: Maintain An Organized Desk
It’s all too easy to spend an hour or more cleaning out your desk, only for it to descend into chaos again a few weeks later. We know the feeling all too well! Start the year off by getting an organization and filing system in place, making sure to try a new-to-you method if your previous efforts were hard to maintain. Schedule regular upkeep sessions on your preferred digital calendar or post a message you can’t miss nearby. You’ll need to commit to your resolution to build this habit, so consider treating yourself to small rewards throughout the year — say, a new desk plant after two months of successful organization upkeep.
If You Want To: Feel Energized at Work
Feeling sleepy? Low energy at work affects all of us at one time or another. The basics, of course, are usually to get enough sleep, caffeinate oneself as needed, and move around regularly when possible. The Muse has a list of quirky variations of these classic tips that’s an entertaining read. However, we’re partial to the study results from California State University that indicate interesting tasks are less draining and can enhance energy flow. Be proactive and ask your boss about taking on some new responsibilities, assisting on another team’s project, or pitch a new idea to them. You’ll likely impress them with your enthusiasm as an added bonus!
For more ideas of professional New Year’s resolutions, check out these three lists we like. It’s never to late to get started on a new goal, and you don’t have to tie it to January 1st to achieve success. Simply plan ahead, set SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Realistic, Time-Bound), and make sure you have the tools you need on hand.