If you’re struggling to be productive, it could be lack of organization at the root of the problem. For some people, organization comes naturally, but for most people, it requires some energy to learn organization skills.

And even if you’re not inherently organized, there are many things you can do to improve your organization one step at a time.

Clean your work area. If your work area looks like it was the victim of a recent natural disaster, your productivity will suffer. The first step toward better organization is cleaning your work area.

This means getting rid of trash, organizing papers in file folders or binders, designating storage spaces for office supplies, and throwing away materials that are duplicates or that you no longer need.

Organize your computer and email. If your computer desktop has fifty icons on it and your email list has hundreds of emails, it’s time to clean those areas. Make sure that all important documents are stored in logical folders and remove any unused icons from your desktop.

Spend a day organizing emails so that unimportant emails are deleted and important emails are organized into folders so you can refer to them when you need them. If you have unread mail, read it.

Use a planner. Productive people plan each day with a purpose. Using a daily planner – either on paper or electronically – can help you to stay on track and become more productive. It’s best to plan the next day’s work at the end of your work day so that you can begin fresh the next day and know what needs to be done first.

Focus your efforts. Instead of worrying about trying to do everything at once, learn to focus instead of multitasking. Set a designated time each day to read emails, respond to voicemails, and work on social media. The rest of your day should be spent on more important tasks. 

Don’t procrastinate. Sometimes it’s tempting to put off tasks that are less desirable. But all this does is get you behind schedule and put off the inevitable. When you need to do something, just use self-discipline to complete the task and move on. You’ll save time and energy.

Related article: The Importance of Overcoming Procrastination

Stick to a routine. It’s easier to be productive when you stick to a consistent schedule instead of doing things differently each day. This may sound boring, but over time you’ll find you actually like the regularity of a routine and you’ll get more done in less time.

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