Create an Inspirational Workspace
Organized chaos may seem acceptable if you “know where everything goes,” but the reality is that a cluttered workspace will do you no favors when you’re in a pinch.
Don’t let papers stack up.
Organize them into folders, binders, or drawers and store them off of your work surface. A stack of papers may look neat, but sorting them by client or project will make finding what you need quick and easy.
Store your supplies.
Use desk organizers, pencil cases, or small storage bins to keep your supplies organized and out of the way, but always within reach.
Choose thoughtful decor.
Rather than crowding your space with trinkets, you should select art, photos, and decor that inspire your creativity. Update photographs and switch out artwork frequently to keep your workspace as dynamic as your work.
Keep a notepad within reach.
Whether it’s a notebook or sticky notepad, keep a single pen and paper in one area of your workspace for instant thought recording. Use it often until you build a habit of writing things down as soon as they come up.
Doodle Your Thoughts
Effective note-taking is essential to organization, but your notes don’t need to be stagnant, bullet-pointed jargon.
Choose different paper.
Rather than lined paper, use a drawing pad to take free form notes. On the other hand, you can use a quad-ruled graph notebook to add structure to your notes that can also be used creatively.
Segment your notes.
Write in different areas of the page rather than writing a standard vertical list, such as writing in columns or quadrants on the page.
Vary your handwriting.
Switch it up with capitalization, cursive, underlining, and relevant doodles or illustrations to further enhance the message. You can also draw simple borders and headlines to segment different themes.
A successful schedule doesn’t rigidly adhere to a list of timed duties, but instead sets realistic goals for your time so that you can use it most efficiently.
Think of tasks in terms of time.
It is tempting to think of the number of tasks you want to get done in a day, but thinking of them in terms of time will help you more accurately plan your day. Rather than saying you want to complete 10 tasks, think of how long each task will take and prioritize them with realistic time parameters.
Overestimate how long tasks will take.
As a general rule, estimate how long you think a task will take, then add half of your expected time to the total. If you think something will take 30 minutes, schedule 45 minutes for that task to account for unexpected issues or interruptions. If the task truly does take 30 minutes, you’ve gained 15 additional minutes in your day. If a task takes longer than you initially expected, you still won’t fall behind.
Plan unstructured time.
Unstructured time is not a lunch or break, but a productive period that will give your day planned flexibility. If your day is structured around set meetings, schedule a specific time of day to spend however you choose. If your day is focused around tasks without specific times, plan a specific amount of time to spend off-task. This unstructured time can be used for self-care, brainstorming, doodling, or to catch up from unplanned setbacks.
It may seem counterintuitive to claim that doodling and unstructured time will lead to increased productivity, but it makes sense when you consider the many different ways that people learn, communicate, and retain information.
Some people thrive off of high-demand, tightly structured lives. Many others, particularly in creative fields, may find this type of rigidity unbearable and numbing to their creative process. Both types of people, however, often feel that they simply don’t have the time to do all that needs to be done.
Since there is no universal solution to this time management problem, it is worth experimenting with unconventional practices that have the potential to more efficiently utilize your business’s time, energy, and resources.
Building the habits of organization takes practice, but utilizing these tips can reduce stress, improve time management, and ultimately increase your productivity. Best of all, these tips can be applied immediately to begin seeing results today.
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