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25 Tips Being Organized in Your First
Paula Royalty is an expert at getting and staying organized. Aside from her
business which rests on helping people with their organization issues, she
is the past president of a professional association of organizers. We asked
her to give us her best ideas about getting and staying organized from day
one of a first job.
COMPANY INFORMATION FOR NEW EMPLOYEES
There will be an influx of information when you join a company. Make sure
all binders are labeled and in alphabetical order on your shelf for quick
retrieval and easy placement. File the rest of the information in alphabetized
subject files as soon as you receive it. For example, "Benefits" or "Policies."
Most people are "needful learners." That means they will understand and integrate
new information when they have a "need" to learn it. If you do not need to
read all the information you get when you are new, file it under its subject
and retrieve it when you have to make a decision.
This is an inexpensive alternative to a day planner. Use a spiral bound 8.5"
x 11" notebook to record voice mail messages, meeting notes, random ideas,
etc. Keeping everything in one place will reduce the need for scraps of paper,
several notepads, and Post-it® notes cluttering up your desk.
At the beginning of each day, write the date in the narrow left-hand column
by the holes.
After each event is recorded, draw a horizontal line across the page to provide
a visual cue for the end of that item.
When you have completed the task associated with that item, draw a diagonal
line across the item to tell your eye that you have nothing more to do.
When all the items are crossed off on a page, draw another diagonal line
across the entire page to show your eye that you have finished all the tasks
on that page.
When there are several pages that have been completely crossed off, clip
them together with a paper clip so you do not have to constantly flip through
them to see if there is anything left to do.
When the entire notebook is completely used up and crossed out, you can either
throw it away, or save it for a few months in case something comes up that
you want to review.
|Post a minimum amount of information on your office walls. Less
visual distraction will make it easier to focus on your work.
OFFICE AND DESK SET
Make sure you have a garbage can and a recycling box within arms reach when
sitting at your desk.
Label both of your "In" and "Out" boxes (or trays). If you need more categories
of mail, use more boxes or trays and label them appropriately. Ideally, these
are within arms reach when sitting at your desk. Even if you are the only
one who delivers mail to your office, or takes it out of your office, get
in the habit of having only one place to put it when in your office.
Post a minimum amount of information on your office walls. Less visual
distraction will make it easier to focus on your work. The only things you
usually need to post are:
Calendar (unless it is on your computer)
Clock (unless it is on your computer or your wrist)
Telephone list of the most frequently called numbers
Any specific job-related data that you need immediate access to because you
use it several times a day, like a list of code numbers.
Keep most tools in a drawer organizer in a designated tool drawer, for example
scissors, a ruler, highlighters, staples, tape, back-up pens and pencils,
an eraser, large paper clips or binder clips, a calculator, a 3-hole punch,
back-up Post-its®, and Thank You cards and envelopes. The few tools you
may want out on your desk during the day are a stapler, a paper clip holder,
a pen or pencil, a Post-it® pad, your intake notebook, and a calendar
planner unless it is on your computer.
Bring a dictionary and thesaurus to work unless they are provided or are
on your computer.
Orient your computer so you are working straight ahead on the keyboard and
looking straight ahead at the monitor. Working at an angle is too hard on
Put your telephone on the left side of your computer or desk if you listen
with your left ear, or the right side of your computer if you listen with
your right ear. If you are on the telephone a lot, use a headset, and put
your telephone on the side of your dominant hand for dialing.
Use one file drawer or the front of your only file drawer, or a shelf, for
keeping To Do's until you are actually working on them. Do not have stacks
of papers and documents on your primary work area. This will make it more
difficult to focus on your task.
Keep the floor of your office clear. This presents a professional image instead
of looking like a supply cabinet or a closet.
Keep personal items to a minimum. You are there to work, not to bring your
personal life to your office.
Designate one drawer and one file for your personal items so they do not
infiltrate your work area.
Personal items to keep in your personal drawer are listed below. Keep what
you use regularly and what you might need in an emergency.
Any prescription medication you might take during the day
An over-the-counter pain reliever that works for you
A box of tissues
A comb or brush
A shoe polishing rag
A travel mending kit
A small mirror
A cup or plastic bottle for drinking
A set of silverware
Dental floss or dental picks
Personal information to keep in your file is listed below. When this file
gets too big, create separate files for each of the subjects.
An updated resume
Certificates of training and achievement
Training transcript (usually provided by your employer)
Letters and emails acknowledging your accomplishments and contributions
A few personal pictures are fine, as long as they do not overwhelm your work
area. Keep them out of your direct line of sight when you are working on
your computer or at your primary work space so they do not distract you.
Make sure any food you bring into work does not start smelling before it
is eaten. Never leave anything perishable overnight or especially over the
If candy is not a temptation for you, consider having a bowl of it in your
office for others to eat. This will bring traffic to your office, and will
give you a natural way to stay in touch with your co-workers. Put the bowl
in a far corner of your desk so it is not in your way when working.
© Copyright 1999 Paula
|Put your telephone on the left side of your computer or desk if
you listen with your left ear, or the right side of your computer if you
listen with your right ear.
Author(s): Paula Royalty founded WorkSmart
Productivity Consulting in 1989. She has personally consulted with more than
700 individuals and presented to thousands of people on office organization,
delegation, filing systems, mastering information overload, time management,
and selling. Royalty has an M.B.A., a B.S. in Civil Engineering, a B.S. in
Psychology, and is a past national board member of the National Association
of Professional Organizers.
Copyright © 1999, by WorkLife Solutions, Inc., all rights reserved
Since December 1999 - last modified: February 22, 2012