Organizational Skills

Organizational Skills

I love organization, I have great fun wondering office supply stores and the Container store looking at all the cool storage containers and options to organize offices and homes. A friend is always telling me that I need to come and organize their life.  Physical clutter signals your brain that there is extra work and causes people to feel overwhelmed. Being organized increases efficiency and reduces stress. Along with the physical organization of our desks and offices is keeping projects and tasks organized.

The core benefits of being organized and operating in a generally clutter-free environment are increased productivity and improved performance.

Organizational skills are the abilities that let you stay focused on different tasks, and use your time, energy, strength, mental capacity, physical space, etc. effectively and efficiently to achieve the desired outcome.

There are different components to organization; physical space, and task and project organization.

Physical components include:

  • Purge your office
    • Declutter, empty, and shred.  The more you can store electronically the better. Technology has made it easy to scan and store documents.
  • Physical and digital filing system
    • Are you the type of person who clutters your computer desktop with every file? How much time do you spend looking for files because you can’t remember what you named them?
    • When I worked in Higher Education, I was tasked with setting up and maintaining the digital filing system for the entire campus with all the curriculum. The first task was to keep the naming convention simple so that anyone could find the materials they needed.  Keep it SIMPLE! The solution was to follow the way the courses were listed in the course catalog. For example, ECON101. Folders were set up by the course number, and everything needed for that class was then nested inside that folder following the same naming. For example, ECON101 outline, ECON101 Module 1, ECON101 image 25, etc.  

Develop a simple and intuitive filing system. If you make it too complicated you won’t remember where to find things.

  • Establish work zones
    • Work zones are having the day to day stuff the most accessible.
    • A zone could be daily tasks, weekly, monthly, etc.
  • Label
    • Take the time to label files, shelves, and bins. Your paper files and digital files should be labeled the same. The goal is to make this as simple as possible so that should someone need to have access, they can find things.
  • Clear off your desk
    • Remove everything, clean the desktop thoroughly, and only put things on the desk that are essential for daily use.
  • Maintaining the System
    • Filing, purging, and cleaning weekly.

Leadership organizational skills:

1.         Time Management

This includes getting to work and meetings on time. Allowing downtime to recharge and think.

2.         Ability to plan

Planning takes differing forms from dealing with the time and how projects must proceed, considering how other’s plans will fit into your schedule and approach.

3.         Scheduling & Priorities Management

Scheduling and following the schedule can be one of the greatest challenges. You need to be okay to let a phone call go to voice mail or emails need to wait while you are working on a time-sensitive project. If you don’t build into your schedule times to read and respond to emails and voice mail you can spend your entire day being reactive instead of proactive.  Set targets and goals and have the flexibility to make adjustments when urgent matters occur.

4.         Resources Organization

Reality TV with shows like “The Home Edit” teaches the viewers how easy it is to organize.  You can lose a great deal of time to disorganization. A minute here to find your keys, another there to track down an email or electronic file. Those minutes quickly mount up to hours of lost productivity. And even if you do manage to get everything done, you likely won’t have produced your best work. Finding a system that works for and that you can maintain. Refer back to the physical components of organization discussed earlier.

5.         Delegation

This is one of the most underutilized skills in being organized. You can’t handle every aspect of the project yourself. Be aware of the skills of others and utilize those whose skills are better equipped for each aspect.

6.         Maintaining Efficiency.

Efficiency allows you to know where you are in a project at any moment.

7.         Clear Communication.

To have good communication, you have to be confident in your abilities as a leader.

8.         Self-Care

Put a high value on your time. All the organization will be ineffective if you do not take care of yourself and you are too tired and stressed to focus. Organization in every aspect of your life is essential.

Organization isn’t about perfection, it is about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time, and improving your overall quality of life. Having a clear mind and clear space allows you to think and act with purpose.

Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA


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