If your desk looks like this, then it’s fair to say you’re a little disorganized.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of consequences resulting from being disorganized that many people don’t realize.
Productivity is the driving force of your output. Without it, you won’t get anything done–or a lot less done.
- “Where’s that file?”
- “Karen, could you send me the presentation again? I lost it.”
- “Yes, Mr. Client, I have your invoice right here–one moment, please. (5 minutes later). I’m going to have to call you back.
When you’re not organized, things take a lot longer than they should. When things take longer than they should, you don’t get as much work done. It’s really as simple as that
Sadly, every workplace is filled with emotionally-driven judgements not based on merit. Because of this, superiors may devalue your skill set based on superficial signs. These could include the way you dress, your odor, your messy desk, and the way you speak.
If you just got hired at your dream right out of college, how do you think your superior will feel if they walk into your office and it looks like the aftermath of a tornado.
Picture this: Multiple empty candy wrappers, stacks of paper ajar, notepads with coffee stains, your desk chair with your gym clothes draped over the armbar and headrest, opened Amazon packages on the floor next to the Subway sandwich wrapper that you tried to “KOBE!” into the trash (but missed), your smelly gym shoes next to the door, yesterday’s togo box that’s too big to fit in the trash, and your earbuds tangled around your laptop charger.
How will your boss think if they see this after hiring you? Probably not too good.
Mistakes (lots of them)
When you’re not organized, things fall through the cracks substantially more.
Most positions require you to store things for later use (i.e. invoices, meeting notes, design files, PDFs, contracts, research, spreadsheets). Sometimes, misplacing these could result in a minor inconvenience, but other times it could be catastrophic.
Let’s say you’re a developer that is in charge of maintaining the company’s website and databases. Every month, you update the plugins and download a backup just in case something happens to the website.
Now let’s say you’re a victim of an unfortunate hack because you used third-party plugins–whoops! Hacks are rare, but they happen. The website hack results in all of your files being deleted off the server. The executive team emails you, panicked, wanting you to restore a previous version.
You sift through your desktop that has 60 applications, folders, and shortcuts–nothing. And then you check your documents–nope! Dropbox? Nope! You email you one of the interns to see if they have it–still no.
It’s lost, along with the company’s important files that contain all of their customer information, and proprietary software. A multi-million dollar mistake.
And sure, this is an extreme example, but it happens.
There isn’t one particular solution to the woes of someone who is disorganized.
However, here are a couple of things to get you started:
Consistency is Key
You can think of being organized much like your personal hygiene. You don’t just shower once really well and then call it a day until next month. No, it’s a regular practice containing multiple levels of intensity. For example, in the morning, you might brush your teeth. Throughout the day, you wash your hands. And then right before bed, you take a shower and brush your teeth again.
And then repeat.
It’s about long-term consistency. rather than short-term intensity.
Once you get all your files on your computer in order, make it a habit to always put everything where it belongs before you leave work.
Use Material Organizers
For material items, using organizers is crucial to getting your desk in order. You want to make sure that every item has a home.
If you tend to have lots of files, be sure to get some sort of filing cabinet with dividers.
If your computer or electronics use lots of cables, be sure to use cable organizers that attach to your desk using sticky adhesive, like this. And, general desktop organizers that may help with the items unique to you.
If you want to be very minimal, you can keep everything you need with you. Lots of people opt to carry everything they need in a professional backpack with lots of pockets for organization your stuff.
Remove the Bloat
Even with the best organizational skills, if you just have too much stuff, it’ll be virtually impossible to get everything in order.
Because of this, it’s necessary to remove some of the bloat.
Do you really need to have all those papers on your desk, or could you scan and store them on your computer, and then shred them? Do you really need 20 different pens? Do you really need all your snacks on your desk for “easy access”?
Removing the bloat is important because it makes the daily maintenance of organization much less taxing if you have fewer items, which makes the daily habit easier to stick to.
Get to Work
If you want to increase your well-being at work by taking your productivity to the next level, have your colleagues and superiors nod in approval after passing by your desk, and be known in your company as the “prepared one,” then get to work!