Organize the Workday – Critical to Success

“Just as it’s never a good idea to hard crash your computer, you shouldn’t hard crash your day,” – Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward

The office plays a central role in the success of a company. A well-managed and organized office is critical for the smooth functioning of each person that works there – helps the management team to strategize and decide intelligently and allows the other members of the company to work comfortably within its ‘confines’ for the long periods of time required to perform well each day. It is therefore the onus of each member of the company to organize the workday in a manner that allows their own work and that of the others to flow systematically and without problems. It is extremely crucial that the office of every company is organized and each member of the company must organize their workday to ensure that the sanctity and decorum of the office is maintained.

Most people must spend a lot of time traveling to and from work, which itself can be quite tiring and stressful. Without taking the time to organize the workday you could be adding heaps to this stress and feel burned out at the start of the day. With low productivity and seemingly careless work, you could find yourself being ‘pulled up’ and even land up losing your job. There are however, many simple yet effective steps to organize the workday that would not only make you work more efficiently but also relieve a lot of stress and also allow you to help your co-workers, thereby enhancing your productivity and reputation in the office. Organized and disciplined people stand out and are more easily picked out for plum assignments, promotions and other career progressing projects. It sounds inviting and would be something that you would want for yourself right? What steps do you take to organize the workday in a manner that it reduces the pressure and stress of everyday work life?

The oft used and clichéd technique – but most often ignored because of its simplicity is preparing a clear and concise ‘to-do list’ for the next day. To organize the workday that follows your current, this simple yet effective technique must be practiced ‘religiously’. Most often a professionally skilled person would be aware of what the next day would entail and a to-do list helps to arrange these tasks in order of priority and also ensures that no important tasks get left out. To organize the workday, it is essential that the person understands what would need immediate attention and must be attended to at the start of the day and which tasks can be left for later. If you are leader or a manager, it makes sense to delegate tasks that others in the team can do. This allows you to focus on the core set of responsibilities and duties that are critical to your role and workday. Many managers still have a lot of problem in ‘letting go’ of tasks as they believe that they will lose control if they don’t attend to everything personally. In order to effectively organize the workday, this mind-set would need to undergo a change, enabling flexibility in the day’s schedule and more time for the crucial tasks.

As you go through the tasks on the to-do list, ensure that you complete one task before proceeding to the next. Once it is done, tick it off your list and put the relevant paperwork into the respective folder or file – either physical or virtual.

To get a head-start to organize the workday – arrive at your workplace early. Not only will you beat the frenzied traffic but also be able to organize your thoughts better with fewer people around. An early start ensures that you are able to give yourself some breathing time before starting work, visit the restroom and also have a leisurely cup of hot beverage before the day kicks in. Organize the workday in such a way that you not only accomplish all your tasks but also have time to spare, which you could utilize to be part of some company-wide project adding volumes to your resume.

To organize the workday means that you would need to align some of the tasks with a co-worker or even your manager. Schedule such tasks during the time of day when each of these people, are available. If you find that some parts of the day are less rushed than other times, schedule your breaks during these time slots. Catching up with co-workers or discussing some project over a cup of tea / coffee is a great way to relieve stress and feel less burdened.

Experts have put together the ideal working hours in a typical day at work – organize the workday to ensure that you are productive and get the major portion of your work done during the standard number of hours. Staying late and putting in extended working hours over a long period of time, is a major cause of stress and burnout in office workers. When you limit the number of hours you have, it would lead you to be more productive during the time you have and reduce wastage of time for any reason. The mind and body need time to unwind and relax before ‘getting to the grind’ again – it is each person’s responsibility to ensure that they give themselves enough time during the day to work efficiently and take off from work at the end of business hours.

Distractions are an inevitable part of any office.  These could range from a talkative co-worker, gossip, emails marked to ‘all’, wasting time on social media and other such time wasters. You could schedule some time during the day for such activities – probably during the time that you would like to take a break from work. By isolating these time wasting activities to a particular slot during the day, you are able to organize the workday and get a lot of work done and also have time for activities that help you unwind, that too without the ‘guilt’. Of course, ensure that you don’t give yourself too much time for these activities – 10-15 minutes a day suffices.

Brush up on your communication skills – especially written communication. By doing so you would be able to write more effective emails without them being long. You will save a lot of time and energy and people reading your emails will also have less to read and their responses too would be shorter and more precise.

We have earlier discussed the utility of the ‘right’ number of meetings and the futility of too many. Meetings that don’t follow a structure and agenda can be major time wasters and could mess up anyone’s schedule despite taking the trouble to organize the workday. Insist on short meetings with a proper agenda and also that timelines are adhered to strictly. Wherever possible, find other means of communicating ideas and thoughts – approaching meetings with the right mind-set can save a lot of time each day and add up to a number of hours each week. If you wish to organize your workday you would need to garner support from others too.

Use technology to your advantage. Most companies use the intranet to communicate company related news and activities to their employees – reading them is essential but when this information is on-line it can be read via one’s smart devices – anytime and anywhere. Put reminders and updates that you need regularly on repeat mode so that you don’t waste time remembering or catching up if you forget. Automation also reduces the dependence on paperwork – further reducing the time to organize them.

The other most oft ignored but most obvious step to organize your workday is to have a clean and clutter free desk. The top of your desk must only have those papers and things that you require for the task at hand. Put everything else in the drawer or trash whatever you don’t need. A clutter free desk makes one feel more at ease and less stressed contributing to a better and more fruitful work day.

Despite your best efforts to organize the workday, there could be times when you don’t accomplish everything you set out for the day. Don’t let this dampen your spirit – there is always the next day. By getting frustrated and annoyed at not having completed all the tasks planned, you will most likely ruin the next day too and before you know it – you will get stuck in a vicious cycle. Organize the workday right and to the best of your capacity and then give it your best shot.

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