How to Stay Organized & Productive at Work

Most of life appears a rat race in today’s society. Everyone faces work pressures, familial obligations, responsibilities for daily living with household chores and the usual routines, and even time for friends. This can certainly cause anxiety and, quite frequently, a feeling of being overwhelmed.

The end of my busiest time of the year with work recently ended as open enrollment to the Affordable Care Act came to a close mid-January. However, unfortunately, my fellow navigator wound up pretty ill and out of the office for a couple of weeks and we’re not quite sure when they will return. In the meantime, my work load grew to help cover the gap. Just as I thought my daily tasks may be easing, I now found myself attempting to alter my timeline and fill in the tasks at hand.

To some people this can be a bit of an “oh, oh” moment. I, myself, must admit it can feel like a whirlwind when these types of situations occur. For one thing, I enjoy challenges. I feel most rewarded and proud of myself when I accomplish or achieve fulfilling what could appear difficult. There’s nothing like seeing daunting tasks before me, wondering how I’ll ever get it all done, and then the satisfaction of realizing I actually did get it done. At the same time, one thing I’ve begrudgingly realized is I tend to let my pride get in the way, wanting to appear perfect, and I grow scared to say no to anyone else, but feel fine saying it to myself. That’s one horrible facet of my own personality I need to let go of and just accept that I can’t be afraid to realize my personal boundaries and know I am no superwoman (and, trust me, I am far from Superwoman!)

Thinking over how these times make us focus and push through more than usual, I started analyzing ways to help myself. It’s actually been quite interesting to look at the tasks with a new perspective. I could think to myself, “Oh, Lord, why me?” Instead, taking the attitude of “I can do this,” instantly let’s me look at it more practically. I’ve noticed processes and procedures that maybe weren’t working as efficiently as they could. Even as I think over some incidents in the last couple of weeks, I wonder if maybe organizing a time, once things settle down, between other staff and my coworker and myself where we can brainstorm how things could be better set up to reduce any issues that are common could benefit us all.

However, in the meantime, I can take care of doing that for myself. First thing, jotting up a list of items that are pressing and other to-do’s allows me to get a glimpse into what could be weighing on me that day. It kind of puts things into perspective. Suddenly, what did appear overwhelming before could appear less of a burden or task. Then, seeing all the tasks laid out, I can sort which ones are the priority and which ones I can place more on the backburner.
I know there are those out there who may see the upcoming name of a good source of info I visit and cringe, but whether or not you agree politically with her family members, Ivanka Trump’s web site ( actually has some great articles on work productivity and organization, tailored, of course, to the working woman. I have to tell you that the articles on the site really do help. I often refer to how the site advises one sets up a daily to-do list with five other daily goals also present.

Another thing I consider is how long my appointments could take as I speak with the potential clients. Even if I know the appointment could be about a half hour, I never schedule anyone for less than one hour. This way I am prepared if they arrive late or we have any issues that may run over. I also build in a natural buffer that allows me time to catch up on other tasks that need priority if the appointment leaves early.

One item I consider is setting up blocks in my day that will be the times I routinely complete specific tasks. First thing, will be using the first ten minutes of the day to look over my schedule and set up my to-do lists, prioritizing tasks. I’ll take the next bit of time to organize my desk and folders for appointments. Also, I’ll listen to my messages and see how to prioritize what the calls may need.

The middle of the morning and early afternoon will be my appointment times. Then, in the later part of the afternoon it’s my time to do reporting, call people back with hopefully answers to any questions or preparing to set up for the next day.

Just having this flow is beneficial as it lets me organize myself. One thing I know too is I am strongly a person who craves organization at work. Maybe not as much in my personal life… lol… as my hubby will attest to, but I sure do in my worklife. I’ve often said I have a work personality that tends to be separate from my personal. I mean overall I’m me, but just the way I approach my work is different than my own personal business. Some may say it’s the degree of professionalism.

These are just some of the ideas I think of and utilize in my own work day to help me stay organized and on task. What might you guys use in your day to day activities?

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