Author Chris Baily stated, “Productivity isn’t about how busy or efficient you are – it’s about how much you accomplish.” Increasing productivity is a fundamental desire of most people, but many organization methods take more time to implement than they save you. To get more done you have to find simple techniques that deliver maximum impact and improve the way you work. We’ve compiled a list of the eight best organization ideas for boosting your efficiency at work and home. By using these tips, you’ll be able to focus your efforts, plan your time, and truly accomplish more every day.
1. Optimize Your Space – properly setting your workspace up helps you stay focused and get more done. First, remove clutter by cleaning out drawers and throwing out, recycling, or donating items you don’t need. Then, reorganize your space so that the things you use the most frequently are close at hand, and everything else is filed away. Take advantage of vertical space using shelving or wall mounting. You can even create your own storage solutions. Check out some of these DIY options over at LifeHack.
2. Use To Do Lists – whether you use a web service, an app, a planner, or a bullet journal, tracking the tasks and activities you need to complete is a simple way to boost your efficiency. Make your lists even more effective by using deadlines, grouping similar activities, and breaking down larger tasks into smaller, actionable items.
3. Organize Your Email – email can be one of your biggest time drains. Keeping your Inbox orderly will help you save time, be more effective, and get more done. Organizing your email is so much more than just creating folders. Make use of rules to file email into folders automatically saving you time and helping you stay focused. You can use the tasks or favorites settings in most email systems to help you stay on top of items that need your attention. Use color coding or tagging functions to group emails and easily find the messages you need.
4. Keep a Notebook – carry a notebook with you everywhere. “This simple hack will help you get more done by giving you a place to jot down great ideas that might otherwise take away from tasks you should be focused on or risk being forgotten,” according to Bindertek. A notebook also gives you a place to organize your thoughts regardless of where you are or how much battery life you have. An added benefit is you’ll reduce stress because you won’t have to worry about forgetting things.
5. Assign Deadlines to Everything – providing yourself with timeframes for tasks, projects, and goals help you to stay focused and keep moving forward. In an article from Inc., entrepreneur and investor John Rampton suggested that tracking your time, limiting time spent on each task, and setting deadlines will help you work smarter and increase your productivity. Set a time limit for everything from how long you spend checking email to when you should be complete with each of your goals.
6. Use Lean Six Sigma Methodologies – a well-known and proven method for improving efficiency, Lean Six Sigma focuses on reducing inefficiency and improving processes. Although ample training is available on these fundamentals, you can break the formula down to documenting and measuring your current process, identifying areas that waste time or resources, and creating solutions to reduce that waste.
7. Try an App to Keep You Organized – with apps available to help you organize everything from your time to your files to your finances and even your social media; you’re sure to find a solution that puts improved productivity right in the palm of your hand. Many of the more popular apps are available across multiple platforms letting you access the same information on your PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Check your app store for the available titles under organization, productivity, and efficiency, or try this Forbes article about apps for organizing your business.
8. Incorporate a Proven Productivity Technique – looking for more direction on getting and staying organized and improving your efficiency? Try following one of the several proven techniques from leading experts. Numerous books and websites exist dedicated to detailed plans for these techniques. Whether you’re looking for a more character focused method like Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” or a time management method like the Pomodoro Technique, there are many options for you to try. Mix and match until you find the style that works best for you. This infographic from NFIB details five of the most common techniques.