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While the world as we know it isn’t entirely paperless, it’s safe to say that the days of packed filing cabinets and labelled binders are pretty far behind us. And today, with the help of apps, storage platforms and digital folders, we can easily tidy our working environment and our calendars with the use of these modern tools.
This upgraded way of organizing should make life easier for the average worker, but for many of us, those age-old habits of scattering files all over desks has changed into computers and mobile phones being left in a similar state – albeit a digital one.
Initially, when you’re starting a new job and feeling determined, arranging your work seems a modest task. But as time goes on and the days that follow get busier, we tend to alter our neatly arranged system and struggle to maintain a once coordinated workspace. Often, this makes it hard to find key documents or photos precisely when you need them or to remember the many emails or meetings that seem to pile up on top of each other.
That’s why it’s essential to generate a system for your digital workspace that you can maintain and keep organized, even when the weeks lend no time for the task.
To help you and your workspace transform into its best and most organized self, we’ve collated some simple tips that will make all the difference.
When creating a filing system on your computer, it’s important to separate tasks and recognize that projects will probably evolve. Start with a few broadly named folders and as you continue with your work, create mini folders as and when you need them. And stick to a naming convention that’s similar for all files, otherwise that ‘Quick Access’ search tool won’t work well when you need it. Also, if you’re the type who saves files and random folders everywhere, try creating a place titled ‘Temporary’ where you can eventually delete all the files that you know you won’t need later on, and create another folder named ‘Important – file later’ so that you can remember to file the vital documents into the right place.
Finding time to tidy up your computer and all your files isn’t always easy, but all it takes is around 15 minutes a week to stay on top of everything. So, set yourself a calendar reminder to straighten up your ‘to-dos’ and the files that haven’t found a home on a day that’s typically less hectic.
Create a central place for your to-do list so that your notes aren’t stored in various places and typed on random sticky notes or word documents. Set up the list on word, excel or even a website, and review your tasks throughout the week, so that you can check off or delete what’s been accomplished or add in anything that comes up.
For those who are comfortable working amidst the chaos, try having 5 – 7 folders to store emails that are actioned so that you keep the unread emails or the ones you’ve yet to respond to in the inbox. You can also mark important ones with a star or a flag and make it routine to check those regularly. Though don’t get carried away with these, as those areas can quickly overflow with too much. If it’s completed, move it to an email folder. And if it’s waiting for a response, mark it as a follow-up task or write it on your to-do list to chase.
Productivity and organization tend to go hand in hand. When we feel unproductive, we ignore all our mess and carry on. But this isn’t helpful, and it certainly will make your working life a lot more complicated. So, stay on top of the time you spent mindless browsing or staring out the window. Apps like TimeIvy are excellent for this, as its purpose works as a gentle nudge and an uplift of necessary motivation, not a scare tactic.
Keeping an organized and accurate calendar is your saving grace, and if you have personal ones too in different places, it can be tough to remember the important things. Syncing your calendars can assist in keeping every engagement, meeting or personal task in one central place, so you actually know what’s happening when and what to expect for the day or week ahead.
The options for organizing digital workspaces are endless and much more advanced compared to old-fashioned filing cabinets and pin-up calendars, in fact, new programs or features are being designed nearly every day. So, make sure to utilize what’s available to you and start making an impact on your work environment. After all, a more organized working life will inevitably lead to a more organized personal life and these useful tips are sure to be the touch of magic you’ve been missing out on.