Organization tips to keep your productivity levels high

man using a phone in a cafe
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’ve got loads of stuff to get done every day and you’re struggling to stay on task, then look no further – you’ve come to the right place.

We’re experts at getting the job done from home and the office, and we’ve explained our top tips for staying organized. Keeping things methodical is key to productivity, and if you finish things well at work, you’ll have more time and energy for your leisure time too.

Start Your New Job Search in Minutes with ZipRecruiter

Start Your New Job Search in Minutes with ZipRecruiter

With over 8 million jobs, ZipRecruiter is the one of the best places to start looking for your next job. Get started for free today.

From managing your workspace to revolutionizing your morning routine, if you use these ten tips, you’ll get more done with less stress.

Don’t worry if you need more help with your day-to-day, too – head here for top tips on smart goals, or delve into our guide to the perfect elevator pitch

Open goal 

If you start each day, week, month or project with firm goals in mind then your brain will be better placed to stay productive – because you’ll have a proper idea of the end result.

You’ve got to make sure they’re good goals, too – there’s no point if it’s vague or unachievable. If you keep your goals clear, you can break them down into smaller daily tasks. They’re more manageable and realistic, and you can then use those daily objectives to make consistent progress towards your overall aim without becoming overwhelmed by the task or disorganized.

Measure your progress 

It’s no good just setting goals – if you want to keep productive, you’ve got to ensure that you track your progress towards them, too.

This is one area where your phone and computer can really help. The web is overflowing with apps and websites that can help you measure progress no matter the task, whether it’s weight loss, the number of words written or how many work jobs you’ve finished on any given day.

If you can see your breakthroughs, you’ll be more inclined to keep going – and more likely to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Lean on to-do lists and calendars 

There are loads of apps that can help you measure your progress, and you’ll also find many software tools that can help you keep your daily, weekly and monthly tasks organized.

The best to-do list apps can help you manage your daily tasks, and you’ll be able to assign them different priority levels, move them around, and create recurring entries for stuff you need to do all the time. And, similarly, you should use a calendar to ensure you never miss daily appointments.

If you’ve got a couple of apps to remind you about what needs doing – from important work tasks to dull stuff around the house – you’ll never find any jobs slipping through the gaps. That’s the key to staying organized in every part of your life.

Limit distractions 

This is a big one for all of us, but it’s especially pertinent if you work from home – because if you keep getting distracted, you simply won’t stay organized and productive.

For some people that’s as simple as having a dedicated workspace and keeping it neat and tidy. But, for others, it means going further. If you’ve got to keep your phone in a different room, move a TV out of the home office or stop buying snacks so you don’t take a trip to the fridge, then do it. If you remove distractions from your environment, you’ve got a better chance of staying on-task.

Time your tasks 

It’s worth analyzing exactly how you spend your time to see how you can become more organized. Measure how much time you’re dedicating to each part of your day to see where you’re losing time on things that just aren’t important. And if you are wasting time, limit how much attention you dedicate to unhelpful areas – and you’ll give yourself more productive time elsewhere. That’s organization.

Keep clean and tidy 

Your brain will be calmer and more organized if you have a clean, tidy workspace that’s conducive to productivity.

That’s true if you work at home or if you work at an office, too. Make sure your workspace is free of clutter and unnecessary objects and, in turn, also ensure that anything you need during your day-to-day life is easy to reach.

Consider adding plants to your workspace if possible – they’ve been proven to improve mood and productivity. Open windows, keep things light and ensure you have good airflow. If you’ve got a welcoming, comfortable and focused place to work, you’ll stay organized and productive for longer.

Tame your email 

Most of us are plagued with dozens of emails every day, and reading and answering the endless stream of messages can seriously drain productivity.

Instead, dedicate a block of time to your emails – and, at other times, stay away from your email apps. If you take that step, you’ll be able to get on with work with fewer distractions.

We’d also recommend assigning different priority levels to messages and organizing them into folders, too – that makes your inbox less overwhelming, lets you prioritize what’s really important and makes it easier to find messages later.

Take regular breaks 

On the surface this might not seem like an organization tip, but it really does work. If you step away from your work regularly – for a short period every hour, for instance – you’ll give your brain a chance to rest, catch up and process.

By taking those regular breaks, you allow yourself to reset, alter your focus, and organize your thoughts. In turn, that’ll help you organize your actions – and keep you productive for longer.

Phone zone 

Smartphones are brilliant work tools, but they’re also incredibly distracting – and that’s no good for organized productivity.

If you find yourself peering at your phone every five minutes, you should limit your screen time. Write down what notifications you get all the time, and consider which of those you just don’t need – you’ll be able to disable notifications in each app. You should uninstall some of them entirely if you don’t find them useful.

Consider unsubscribing from mailing lists you don’t care about – every time you read a notification or email you’re potentially wasting time. And remember that you can also install apps to limit how much time you use your smartphone.

Lean on your routines 

A good morning routine is critical. It can set you up for the day ahead by ensuring that you’re energized, focused and ready to work.

You can also use that morning routine to keep organized in other ways, too. If you’re on a treadmill or exercise bike, for instance, you can use that time to clear out emails or sort your social media so you’re not so distracted during the workday.

If you use your morning routine to meditate, read or eat healthily, then you’ll feel the benefit from a calmer and more productive day,  and if you’ve got an evening routine that concentrates on getting ready for sleep then you’ll be better prepared for the following day.

Ultimately, having good routines is key for productivity and organization, and you should develop and maintain them wherever possible.

Make yourself comfortable when working with the best office chairs.

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.