How to Get Organized at Work: Best Productivity Apps & Guide
Getting organized at work might be one of your weak areas right now and that's okay. Not everyone is going to have it prepared and ready from day one.
You might have come to this post looking for advice on how to organize yourself whilst you're at work, so we're going to recommend some foundations, advice & the best apps for organizing yourself in the workplace to give yourself the leg up on the career ladder, or maybe even a more relaxed week ahead.
1. Foundational Productivity
One of the most underrated ways to start is by looking into how you work.
Maybe you're here because someone told you "you're not organized enough" or you "can't get things done during the workday" and that's okay, we have to start somewhere. Foundations are the key to every building, the better the foundations, the better the building will stand in the long-term.
Just look at the Pantheon in Rome. Built in 128 AD, the building is standing strong. Buildings are a good example of productivity and earthquakes are again too. Earthquakes are an example of everyday life, and busyness we all face. Earthquakes in 2,000 years have not structurally damaged the Pantheon and in this study you can understand why, the building approaches of the ancient Romans made sure the building was strong and could withstand seismic activity, common in Italy.
Think like this when looking at productivity. Build a strong core and you'll reduce your chances of crashing down. This is important because it isn't about apps, it is about how you work that defines the core of work - tools will always change, rules are key.
We'd recommend looking into the following systems & approaches:
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Time Blocking (general concept)
- Eat That Frog by Brian Tracey
- The Eisenhower Matrix
- Pomodoro Technique
All of these systems and approaches have been built with the foundation in mind and can change the way you are organized at work systematically, as opposed to scatter gun. All can be approached and used everyday mix-and-match as a productivity framework.
2. Healthy Routines
Even though you're thinking that you need to change frameworks and learn new systems.
Organization does not come over night. Neither does it come from going too hard or too slow. The combination of pace of learning and balanced lifestyle will give you a marathon approach to getting organized at work. The likelihood of you making more mistakes, or not being fully organized a week from now is probably very high.
You need to learn frameworks, apply a sense of healthy routine. It will help you to apply the concepts you are learning to get organized at work. You can do this in a typical workday (boss-dependant) in the following fashion:
- Take regular work-free breaks
- Go outside for fresh air and walk
- Balance focused work with pauses for your mind
- Drink plenty of water
- Take screen-free breaks too
- Infuse your mind with learning (reading)
Taking this into mind before you get truly organized will be important.
3. Best Productivity Software
How to get started with apps is good once you have a framework, let's look at the most recommended types of tools and some tools that might be good to get you started. Make sure you are allowed to use a combo of tools in your workspace (as to align with any privacy policies and frameworks).
Clear, Precise Note-Taking
Taking notes can be effective for those who want to make sure to not miss anything. But one of the worst ways to get organized at work is using your notes in an unorganized fashion. We'd recommend doing the following to help organize that:
- Clear Titles - introduce clear titles and dates on each note you take
- Task Extraction - tasks need to live in their own location not hidden in notes lists
If you don't want to use a notebook anymore, digital notes apps can be great for organizing your workload. Here's a handful of recommendations to look at:
Capturing Your Tasks
Separate your tasks from your notes. This is a lifesaver. Finding them will get messy so use a task list as the actionable side of your productivity system. Anything date related (deadlines), anything that has a verb within it (do, take, get) and anything that you can do action for later (links, reading, recommendation).
- Open loops - a recommendation is to look into the concept of open loops. In summary, open loops are a way to remove noise from your brain by capturing any open loop (uncompleted tasks) writing them down consitently
- Brain dump - for your first task session, you might need to brain dump everything that is on your mind. Do that into whatever app you choose, or notebook for tasks. This will help to display important tasks.
- Deadlines or start dates - due dates for deadlines might be too late, consider organizing tasks based on when you will actually do them with the deadline in mind.
Here's a few great recommendations for easy to-do list apps:
Inbox Isn't a To-Do List
With the two concepts in mind above. One of the biggest work mistakes is using your email as your to-do list and actively managing that as a to-do list.
The concept by Merlin Mann Inbox Zero is a good one, hard to implement from a list of 10,000 you might have stored, but one that can re-frame your task management. A tool that might be helpful could be this one (check with your boss before plugging this into you work email):
Focusing on your email list being an active project search engine is a better approach.
The best thing to do to get focused and not distracted is use a timer app. We've got some recommended ones that we think could help you get organized at work:
The practice of using a timer can be infused with the Pomodoro method to better create healthy stints of workload - 25 minutes on and 5 minute breaks, planned & organized.
We hope this set of recommendations will help you better get yourself organize as we look into the new year and beyond. Remember, foundations are the key & build on top of this.
You Might Like These Best Productivity Lists
Go Further with More Tools & Productivity Lists on Tool Finder
Choose from hundreds of productivity toolsView All