Getting promoted at work shows you’re not just meeting expectations but exceeding them. Believe it or not, one way to exceed the expectations of your boss and colleagues is to project a high level of professionalism. Keeping an organized work space, being able to quickly locate important documents, and maintaining a neat to-do list are all things that will show you have what it takes to move up.
Constantly building upon your skill set will help you get ahead. Building organization skills is a good place to start; you’ll be able to more quickly and easily complete tasks, while showing others that you take your work seriously.
Keep an organized desk
If you’re embarrassed for people to see your workspace, start there. Clear off anything you don’t use everyday and keep the essentials within reach, without having to bend or stretch. This guide can help you set up your workcenter ergonomically.
Utilize storage space
For the things you don’t use as often, have a space nearby to keep them. Office supplies like pens, notepads, and files can all be kept neatly in a mobile pedestal / file cabinet under your desk.
Clean up your digital clutter
Reference material, important documents, or instructions are powerful assets that can help you work faster and be more accurate, but not if you can’t find them in a timely manner. If your boss or a colleague needs a document, you don’t want to scramble for five minutes searching through your computer folders. Organize your digital files so you can locate what you need whenever you need it.
Organize your digital files so you can locate what you need whenever you need it.
Keep a clean to-do list
Forgetting to do an important task or missing a big deadline could cost you a promotion. Using an online project management tool can help you keep track of projects, deadlines, and assets, but an old school notepad can work just as well. Make sure to update your to-do list often, checking off completed tasks and adding new ones. If your list is long, try breaking it up into bite-sized chunks, organized by priority.
If staying organized isn’t yet a habit, set aside some time each week to get reorganized. Have things piled up on your desk? Find a home in your desk drawer for the things you need to keep and get rid of the things you don’t. Excessive papers and notes? Digitize documents and notes to keep your space clear of clutter. If you need more ways to organize your supplies, try a tool bar with attachable accessories, like a pen holder or folder tray. This will keep what you need within reach without taking up desk space.
Find a home in your desk drawer for the things you need to keep and get rid of the things you don’t.
Always be prepared
Never go into a meeting empty handed. Come prepared with a notebook and pen as well as any related documents or reference material. When someone asks a question, you can quickly answer it from the resources you came prepared with. This shows you’re organized and well-equipped to handle whatever is thrown your way.
Organize your day
We all work a bit differently, but time management is an important and often overlooked organization skill. Manage your time by outlining your daily tasks in a way that makes the most sense for you, so you can work productively. If you know you do your best creative work in the morning, set aside time for those tasks first. If you find yourself distracted by emails when doing deep work, turn off email notifications and only check your email once an hour. (More about going on “do not disturb” on this blog post.)
Manage your time by outlining your daily tasks in a way that makes the most sense for you, so you can work productively.
Focus on efficiency and professionalism
Being organized will make you more efficient and appear more professional. You’ll have a neat desk that’s free of distractions, a clear to-do list so you won’t miss a deadline, and you’ll still have everything you need right at your fingertips. Being organized will show professionalism and reliability that your boss and colleagues are sure to appreciate.
Moving up the ladder takes hard work and determination. Organization skills will help set the stage for success, the rest is up to you!