Friday, March 13, 2015

Getting Organized in a New Work Environment

Starting a new job can often cause a flood of emotions among young professionals.

There’s stress, excitement, anxiety, nerves and the thrill of success. Before starting a new job there a couple things to keep in mind to stay organized and maneuver the work world. Take some time to observe your new work environment and office politics and then be yourself and start adjusting to your new routine.

The tips below will help to get you and your space organized to prime working conditions.

Clean up your desk
While some people function well with a messy desk, us neat freaks don’t handle that well. But whether you prefer a messy workspace or a tidy workspace it’s still important to set aside some time once a week to put things in order. Taking the time once a week to organize your space will help to keep your papers in order and the tasks at hand under control.

Manage your Time
Time management is an organizational tool that never gets old. Being able to manage your time at work effectively will be noticed by colleagues and superiors and is a sure-fire way to make sure that you’re accomplishing the tasks expected of you.

Establish a Routine
Develop good work habits and put them to use. Though our work days and schedules may vary, developing a habit of sorts will come in handy. And though habits like a consistent lunch-time are a bonus, that’s not the kind of habits I’m talking about.

What I mean by habits, is using the last ten to fifteen minutes of your day to clean up your space and prepare your schedule for tomorrow; or a habit for managing emails and email correspondence. Developing a routine and habits will help to make your workday more successful and a little less stressful. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Three Tips to Keep Clutter to a Minimum

This week, I thought it might be helpful to review some of the things that cause clutter. Everyone will have their own ticks that cause a build-up of clutter but for the most part, there are a few commonalities that are agreed on. And hopefully, after being able to recognize the things that make us tick, it will be easier to overcome them. So without further ado, let’s start breaking down a few of the common causes of clutter.

Put things away right away. This goes for mail, groceries, coats, books, new clothes…everything! Everything has a place, so once it goes into your home, apartment, car, wherever, PUT IT AWAY! This is an instant way to assure that chaos in your home is kept    to a minimum.

This one I have mentioned before but I am adamant about it so I’m putting it in writing again. If you haven’t worn it or used it in the last year then get rid of it. If you haven’t used it in a year than chances are it’s just collectingdust in your closet so time to move on.

Get motivated and start organizing. Dive into a project and set realistic goals. Give yourself a reasonable timeline to complete a project. The more progress you make the more pride you will have in the completed project. Motivation is not always easy to find but it’s worthwhile to set goals that are achievable and take pride in a job well done. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

At this point we should all have an agenda, a designated workbag/schoolbag and our closet organization should be underway. So, now it’s time to talk about priorities. Priority management is a useful tool to use when separating the personal and the professional life.

There are a few tips to priority management that just about anyone can master. Try incorporating a few into your everyday activities to see what works best for you. With a few small accommodations into your busy lives a little priority management will surely come in handy. 

First, use your agenda to manage your time. If you set aside one hour a week to “clean you room” than spend one full hour each week cleaning your room. If you are finished in 45 minutes then so be it, you’re finished. But, don’t take advantage of the extra 15 minutes. If you continually find yourself with 15 minutes to spare than recognize that you are rushing and there is likely room for improvement.

Balance. It is important to understand the concept of balance. One must be able to balance their personal world and their professional world without too much overlap. Your professional world will benefit from your attention. 

The same thing goes for your personal world. Friends and family will appreciate your engagement at social gatherings. But don't go out with friends and spend the entire night on your phone dealing with work (unless of course there's an emergency) and don't spend your workday catching up with friends (texting, Facebook, Twitter etc.). Each world will benefit from your commitment and dedication. 

Handle interruptions appropriately. If your work and professional world tend to overlap than you must be able to handle interruptions appropriately and efficiently. Though there is a time and place for overlap between the worlds, there is no time during work hours. It's simply unprofessional. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Backpack: A Fashion Don't but an Organizational Do

Backpacks, purses, briefcases and satchels. All these are an essential way to carry any combination of personal and work items during your daily commute.

Keep in mind that when I say backpack I don’t necessarily mean a literal backpack. I’m sure we all have a bag that we use to get our things to school and or work so when I say “backpack” I simply mean the bag you carry to work or school.

Picking out your favourite bag ultimately depends on a combination of type, size and style.

First and foremost you need to figure out what type of backpacks would best suit your needs. Bags, like agendas, come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. A couple considerations based on style would be whether or not you want something with wheels, a large laptop bag, a backpack, shoulder bag or even just a small purse.

Size is also an important consideration in choosing which bag you’ll use to carry your things. It’s important to consider if the bag can hold your laptop, a notebook, of course your agenda and perhaps even your lunch.

It’s also an option to carry an additional lunch bag just depends how much you want to hold on to during your commute. Some lunch bags come with clips now that allow you to attach your lunch bag to your work bag - which is a smart alternative. This option also prevents your lunch from spilling all over your electronics.

Once choosing your work bag based on the above qualities you’re all set to start organizing!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Infamous Closet

Oh, the infamous closet. Oftentimes closet organization stirs feelings of anxiety and countless hours of your valuable time. Or, faces like these…

Closet organization can be a little time-consuming but, it’s one of those things that is instantly worthwhile. Having an organized closet will make your life so much easier.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, times a' wastin! 

Some people use closet organizers to help keep things tidy. This is completely a matter of preference. Some closets seem like they were made for an organizer whereas others shrink as soon as the organizer is installed. So in this area, I leave it up to you to decide if an organizer is the way to go. Personally, I have never used one as I take advantage of the top shelf and often use a shoe organizer below to maximize the space.

Some closet organizers are just perfect, love the baskets on top!
A tool I use to keep my closet in order is separate my clothing in terms of the occasion at which they would be worn. For instance, I keep all coats together, and then dresses/skirts, followed by professional wear and lastly casual wear. Each of these sections is then broke down into pants, tops and sweaters. And this is what I find works best for me. It also helps keep me on time when getting ready in the mornings because I don’t have to waste time looking for that one specific shirt.

Another helpful tip for keeping your closet immaculately organized is to recycle. Recycle what you may ask? Recycle your clothes. Every six to eight months, go through your closet and take out the pieces that you haven’t worn. If you aren’t ready to donate these clothes then pack them up for storage (i.e. under the bed). If you haven’t sought out these stored clothes after two more months, then it’s time to donate them. Your local Salvation Army, Goodwill or charity of your choosing will be happy to take these items off your hands. And chances are, you won’t even miss them.

I know it’s a little tricky to get up the nerve to start sorting through your closet and get a donation pile ready but it’s a necessary step toward getting, and staying, organized. At the start of a new year and then again mid-summer, take an afternoon or an evening to de-clutter your closet.  

Keeping your closet organized will help to keep you organized. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Agenda: An Absolute Must-Have

If you don't already have an agenda or a day planner of some sort than you need to finish reading this post and go get one immediately. I mean it. It will do you a world of good and they're affordable. No need to protest. 

I am an English major, so when opportunity strikes to grab a pen and some paper and handwrite myself reminders, I’m all over it. This doesn’t always work. Some people prefer to electronically catalogue due dates and reminders. But I prefer handwriting things in my agenda. But one of the best parts of starting a new school year is picking out an agenda that you think will work best for you. This year, I bought two agendas. I started with a smaller sized agenda that I thought would be suitable for school but after about a week I realized a regular sized agenda would better suit my needs.

I like to write everything down - sometimes in more detail than necessary 
One of the best ways to use your agenda to its full advantage is to write due dates and reminders down as soon as you come across them. This is also fitting if you use an iPad or your cellphone in place of an agenda. Writing things down immediately allows you to keep your schedule organized and helps prevent you from forgetting anything. Which ultimately means that sometimes, your agenda will look intimidating. But at least you've got it all written down. 

In terms of using separate dayplanners for work and school I would highly recommend NOT doing this. It’s easier to maintain and more accessible to use a single agenda. This means that you’ve got to take your agenda with you whenever you go to school, work, volunteering or any of your extra-curricular commitments. But it'll be worth. It an easy and worthwhile habit to practice and maintain. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Organization 101

If you’ve happened to stumble upon this page you are quite possibly a textbook “neat freak”, much like myself. Though others may frown on this trait, I am a strong believer that there is no such thing. I mean, how can anyone be too neat? Or arrange their stuff too precisely? I am a self-proclaimed “neat freak” and though I have not gone so far as to arrange my books alphabetically (according to height is much more efficient), I would consider myself to be a little anal-retentive when it comes to organization.

I have gone so far as to arrange my belongings and personal life in a manner that others may find restricting. However, being organized doesn’t mean that things will never get a little messy, or that things will always go according to your plan, because believe me, they don’t. Being organized just means that there is a method to the madness. And perhaps, some of the best organizational tools won’t work well for you, then try another one. Being organized is all about finding your stride and mastering techniques that work for you. This blog will guide you through some simplistic ways to add some organization to your professional and personal worlds.

Just the thought of getting to organize a blog to my specification gives me butterflies. Can you say, nerd? Don’t judge people. Plus if you happened to visit this page you’re either a fellow neat freak or a slob desperate for some organization. Just kidding. You may just be looking for some helpful hints when it comes to getting your personal and professional matters organized into a cohesive system. But, if you happen to be a closeted slob, than rest easy, you’ve come to the right place. 

Love this - looks so bright!