I know I say this every year, but this year I really do want to get organized! How can I do that in 2018?
We are no strangers to the exciting promise of New Year’s Resolutions—and the successive shame when months later, we have completely abandoned all hope of achieving our once-resolute goals. Apparently, we have a lot of company! Studies show that most people fail their resolutions, and US News reported that 80% of resolution-seekers call it quits by mid-February. New Year’s Resolutions are all about forming and reinforcing new habits, which requires a multifaceted approach. Pick and choose several methods that work best for your style, as all won’t be applicable to your office or industry, and give your disorganization that one-two punch.
Declutter and simplify
Pare down your space and get rid of unused supplies, outdated paperwork, and anything else interfering with your cubicle feng shui. Everything you need to use frequently should be within arm’s length, while occasional-use items can be stored further away.
If you’re prone to playing the ‘what if’ game with your supplies, try giving yourself a timeline to test if you really need those items or not. Place ‘maybe’ office supplies and paperwork into a separate container or organizer, and if you don’t use them within 6 months it’s time to move on.
Handle your paperwork
Figure out a system to control paper intake and long-term storage, to avoid clutter build-up, and to reduce the potential to lose important documents. With all kinds of file folders, desk organizers and binders to choose from, you can create a tailor-made system for your space. Consider creating digital backups of important files and incorporate the digitization process into your regular work-flow.
Get the right tools
Make sure you have the tools you need to not only do your job, but to keep your space organized in a way that works for your needs. Do you need specialty software? An ergonomic desk chair? Extra shelving? Decide on your must-have and like-to-have supplies. The beginning of the year is often a great time to get your supply requests in the budget, and you can enjoy your new perk (and increased productivity!) all year long.
Streamline your to-do list and figure out how to automate frequent tasks to free up much-needed brain space for problem-solving and creative thinking. Set digital alerts, create a process sheet to follow, or brainstorm with a coworker about how to share tasks. Do you prefer a physical reminder instead of digital alerts? Bright colored Sticky Notes or an eye-catching Glass Board can be the perfect visual prompt.
Use one calendar for everything
Whether paper or digital, you need one central place to keep track of everything to avoid overbooking or forgetting about crucial appointments. Your ideal calendar should be portable to allow for inputting information while on the go. Prioritize in the new year with the Balanced Life Planner, which walks you through 2018 with daily and monthly spreads to help you perfect your work-life balance.
Remember that like forming any habit, you’ll have ups and downs as you adjust to your organization methods. Don’t forget to be patient with yourself and try a new strategy if your first approach doesn’t seem to working. By being diligent, you’ll be more organized come 2019—and you can free up your next New Year’s Resolutions to tackle something else!