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Get Organized and Stay Focused at the Office and Home - Part 1

We're right on course to one of the busiest times of the year — come to think of it, they're all pretty jam-packed. To avoid the risk of being bogged down by to-do's and suffering the eventual stress meltdown, start taking proactive steps now. Organizing your home and work life can enhance your productivity, which means more time for the fun stuff — or even more work for the workaholics among us. In this two part blog series, we'll offer tips and tricks that will keep you focused while allowing for some down time. First let's tackle how to get organized and stay focused at the office.

Nix the Time-Wasters:

According to Salary.com, Human Resources reps assume those who work an 8-hour day will waste about an hour of it performing non-work related or unnecessary tasks. However, those surveyed admitted to wasting over 2 hours per day — that's over 65 lost workdays per year. Think of all the things you could be doing in that time! To combat this productivity loss:
  • Keep a time log: you may not even realize that you just spent 45 minutes catching up on celebrity gossip or playing online Cubicle Warfare. By tracking how much time you're wasting and where, you'll guilt yourself into resisting the temptation of meaningless toil.

  • Do-away with distractions: Turn off visual email alerts, text message notifications and maybe even your business phone. According to Stanford Professor Dr. Clifford Nass, though multi-tasking may seem like a viable method to get more done, it actually hinders productivity. Focus on one thing at a time rather than constantly diverting your attention toward other projects. If possible, refrain from constantly checking your email and answering phone calls. Instead, schedule time during the day that is dedicated to reading and responding to messages.

Keep Your Office Space Organized

Everyone's got their own system for organizing their workspace and their tasks. The trick is to identify the method that works best for you. Organize your workday by:
  • De-cluttering your desk: Your desk has to be squeaky clean to be functional: Myth. It doesn't matter where stuff is, as long as you can find it. While designated file folders, drawers and bins are usually helpful, for some, the actual process of organizing can eat up more time. Instead, focus on organizing items in a way that works for you. You want to be messy? Great! Just don't let it slow you down.

  • Setting daily goals: Make a list and set realistic time limits for the must-do items for the day — but also determine rewards and penalties based on your success or failure. If you have too many tasks to complete and not enough time accomplish all of them, set priorities. Something is going to be pushed to the wayside and it's better that you decide what project it's going to be.

Be Realistic

Being human is synonymous with imperfection. Sure, you want superpowers that let you finish everything you set out to do with flawless accuracy while you meet impossible deadlines — all with a smile on your face. But here's a reality check: it's not going to happen.
  • Delegate: If you manage employees, strive not to micro-manage. Instead, pinpoint your personal responsibilities and stick to what you know. Anything that can be passed off without creating even more headaches for you or overloading your team members should be delegated.

  • Don't bite of more than you can chew: Track the obligations you already have and make realistic determinations of how much time each item is going to take. Then, you'll have a rough idea of how much time you have remaining for future projects. If you have more projects than work hours, just say "no." For the workaholics out there, the word can leave a bitter taste in your mouth, but approach project completion with the "quality over quantity" mentality.

  • Take breaks: Allowing a few minutes to unwind can help you focus more intently and get things accomplished when you are hard at work. Take a few minutes and relax.

When You're Off the Clock, Keep Your Focus

Stay tuned for part two of "Get Organized and Stay Focused at the Office and Home." you'll learn tips to maintain your new, organized lifestyle while you're away from your workplace.

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