How To Get Your Shit Together At Work

Organizational Tips for Optimized Productivity


Do you struggle to meet deadlines and complete daily tasks in time? Maybe you are perfectly fine until you arrive at work and fall into a deep pit of frustration as soon as you sit down at your unorganized, cluttered desk. I maintain, you only feel as good as your desk looks.

Being organized is not something that happens naturally for all of us. Some of us may need a little more help getting our shit together. Being an extremely well organized, admin orientated person, I am going to share a few tips on how to optimize productivity in the workplace by making a few small changes in our work environment.


1 . Start afresh

Start by decluttering your desk. Get rid of everything that you haven’t used in the past month, and stick to the basics. Only keep one of everything on your desk, less is more. When you’re done, move your things around until you are satisfied with the layout of your desk.

2 . Decorate your work space

Again, less is more. Incorporating your favorite colors and designs is a great idea to create a pleasant and homely work environment. I would suggest minimal decor like a pen holder, mouse pad and desktop filing drawers – in your preferred color/pattern.

It’s important to keep the level of professionalism in mind when decorating your desk. For example, if you work in a corporate environment, too much color on your desk could result in not being taken seriously enough.

3 . Use desk top filing drawers

Desk top filing drawers are a must in order for you to have your shit together at all times. They are cost effective and come in all colors and sizes. On my desk, I have a 5 Drawer filing cabinet and the drawers are marked: Courier/Shipping ; Filing ; Invoices ; To Do, Unanswered emails.

I would definitely not be able to survive without this. I go through every drawer every day to make sure that I have not missed anything, and my desk is never hidden under paperwork of different sorts.

4 . Diarize, Diarize, Diarize

I would suggest getting both a diary and a desk calendar. I use the desk calendar for big deadlines and submissions (which also reflects in my diary), and in my diary I write all the small tasks that need to be completed by end of day.

When I get to work, the desk calendar is the first thing I see, so it goes without saying that I will prioritize those tasks first. Once that is out of the way, I will start completing all tasks noted in my diary and tick them off as I go along.

I would suggest that you set a date for yourself on which you will be updating your desk calendar for the next month. I usually do it on the last day of each month, for the next.

5 . Sticky notes and paper clips are your new best friends

Sticky notes and paper clips are an absolute must have when it comes to sorting out paper work. It just puts everything into perspective if your paper work is arranged into categories and clipped together, with a sticky note of what exactly that pile of documents are for.

There are some cool paperclips on the market , and using pretty paperclips will motivate you even more to become more organized!

6 . Make use of an actual contact book

Although a lot of people use their cellphones and business cards, I still believe in having a good old fashioned contact book, with pages in alphabetical order. You could buy one in a color/design you like and write all your important contacts in there.

This is actually much quicker than getting a contact number from your phone, when using a landline.

7 . Buy stationery that make you happy

I don’t know about you, but when I use stationery I like, I instantly feel motivated to work. I highly recommend buying stationery of your choice. Whether it’s glamorous rose gold or pretty pastels, you’re bound to be excited about using them at work! You’ll also feel more motivated to keep your work space tidy when you actually like the things you are displaying.

8 . Keep your computer desktop clean!

Your mind is instantly cluttered when you switch on your computer and stare into a cluttered desktop. If there is one thing that’ll make you feel as though you DON’T have your shit together, it’s a cluttered desktop.

Move all your documents into folders, naming them accordingly. I suggest having one folder on your desktop with your name. Under that file you can list all of your categories. Under each category the years, under each year the months, and under each month the relevant document. This makes it much easier to find documents, without having to view a hundred of them before finding the one you’re actually looking for.

9 . Prioritize emails

The only way to stay updated with reading and answering emails, is to actually read and answer them in the same day. If you skip as much as one day, the next day you will have double the amount, which could create a feeling of frustration.

Every morning when I get to work, I open my emails. I respond to the ones I can, and flag the rest. That is all good and well, but this is not a reliable method as one could forget to respond to emails. I suggest printing out the most important, unanswered emails, and putting them into your drawer marked: ‘Unanswered Emails’.

10 . Do not leave your desk until all tasks have been completed

This is the last, most important tip in becoming more organized. Make sure that all your diary and calendar tasks have been ticked off, before you leave your desk. This includes your named drawers and the documents you put in them during the day.

If, for some reason, you are unable to complete a task, carry it over to the next day in your diary. I would suggest highlighting it so that you prioritize it in the morning, before completing tasks for the new day.

This is where self discipline comes in. A habit only takes a few days to form, and if you can push yourself to do this for a week, it will soon become second nature. You will start receiving compliments from your boss and other co-workers and will feel much more relaxed and in control when it comes to your work environment.


I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to comment any additional tips and tricks to becoming more organized in the work space.

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South African Lifestyle Blogger. Blogging in the fields of Lifestyle, Relationships, Parenting, Health and Psychology.

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  • Firesprite

    Excellent advice. They say that it takes 13 days to create a habit, if the individual has ADHD, it averages out to approximately 30 days, if they are successful at all. : /

    • Multipotentialite

      Thank you for that valuable information! xx

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