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10 Tips on How to be Organised AF
Step aside, Marie Kondo...
By Tess Dickson
Oct 27th, 2020
Call it meticulousness or call it good organisation, I don’t care because I get shit done and don’t miss deadlines. As an Account Manager it’s super important that I keep myself organised, so that I can also keep my team and my clients organised and on deadline.
Not only is organisation vital for efficiencies in the workplace, it is also important for maintaining good mental health, as it allows you to feel more in control. Here are few of my hot tips on how to make your working life less chaotic. This way, when Friday beers come around, your to-do list for the week is well and truly complete!
Tip #1. 'Eat the Frog'
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
― Mark Twain
Eating the Frog is one of those phrases that naff motivational speakers will use at corporate training days. But the idea does stand up in practise. Eating the Frog means doing that important-yet-boring task as soon as you get to work in the morning. It's an instant win on the board, prevents procrastination and makes the rest of the day's tasks appealing. Plus you avoid having your 'Frog' hanging over you until 4.30pm.
Tip #2. Break your tasks down and adjust deadlines constantly
First thing in the morning on Monday, look through all of the tasks that you have in your list for the full week. Take fifteen minutes to readjust everything to achievable deadlines, making sure to set reasonable expectations for yourself. You should also do this for five or ten minutes every single morning, for the tasks you have on that day.
Tip #3. Have time limits on tasks
You already know how easy it is to get caught up in the work and end up spending WAY too long on single tasks. If this happens regularly you’ll fall into the patterns of sinking whole days into minor tasks and blowing out project deadlines. Before you start a task make sure to think about how long you want to spend on it. Set a timer, give yourself a little bit of leeway, but try to stick to the deadline you’ve set. Micro-deadlines mean the overarching deadline won’t blow out. It can be hard to set limits, so check out some more tips here.
Tip #4. Don’t just focus on emails / inboxes
Inboxes (in your emails or project management system) can completely take over your life if you let them. The best way to manage this is to set allocated times in the day to check each inbox (eg. 9am-10am, 12.30pm-1pm and 4.30pm-5pm). Make sure to let clients/team members know that you won’t be checking inboxes outside of these times and that they can call if anything is urgent!
Tip #5. Write it down
People manage their workflow in different ways, this is totally fine. But if you do have a collaborative project management system it's super important to have all your tasks listed there, so everyone in the team can easily see what your workload is like for the day or week. But for me, I also like to have a written list on top of this, so I can physically cross tasks off - satisfying af!
Tip #6. Choose five major priorities per day
Obviously most of the time you have way more than five tasks to do in a day (I feel like normally it's more like twenty). But in the morning when you're rearranging your tasks for the day, list your ‘Frog’ first and then the four next biggest things that HAVE TO be done that day. Make these your priority, if you smash those, move onto the other lower priority tasks.
Tip #7. Have a reward system
As much as we pretend to be adults, we’re all kids at heart still and we love some positive reinforcement. Set rewards for yourself after completing tasks to help encourage yourself, this could literally be a cup of tea or a walk outside. Having a reward that involves leaving your desk is super important too, to break up the day! Find more tips on personal reward systems at work here.
Tip #8. Remember to think about the bigger picture
When we are caught up in the monotony of the working day or week, its easy to get bogged down in small tasks and forget why the fuck we are doing anything. Generally our smaller daily tasks are part of a bigger picture, so if you feel like you’re getting stuck in the rut, set some time with your team or boss to talk through bigger goals and projects.
Tip #9. Learn from others
In the competitive and ever changing world we live in, we must always be open to adjusting how we do things. There is literally always a more efficient way to do what you are currently doing. Constantly reflect on how you are managing your workflow and consider how things could be done more efficiently. Also research what others are doing in your field and if there are new programs and systems you could be using.
If you’re looking for inspo, check out Ludmila Leiva. Ludi is an extremely talented artist and writer, her Refinery 29 articles on how to be your best at-work-self are a great read. Also check out her Instagram.
Tip #10. Switch off when you're not at work
This is honestly the most important piece of advice that I can give. Setting boundaries for when you will be on and offline is so integral. When you manage your workflow and become organised af, this is even easier. You will just be a better human and employee if you get proper time to switch your work brain off. Check out this article of other ways to make sure you’re switching off after work.