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Have you ever heard the saying, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”? It’s true. Disorganization can cost dearly.

Being organized can improve costs, morale and productivity, and has been proven to reduce stresses associated with clutter or unfinished projects, according to a study in “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.”

But how does a blissfully unorganized soul become organized? Where should you even start? Here are a few tips you can take action on today to reduce stress, get organized and be more productive.

Time Management

Ultimately, organization starts with time management. People tend to find time for the things they feel are important. Granted, most people are juggling several important tasks at once, so organizing your life and more specifically your time, really comes down to prioritization. If we don’t place value on something, naturally, we will not find time for it.

Josh Best, director of development and experiential learning at Quicken Loans, suggests researching philosophies to figure out your value.

Tim Ferriss’s book, “The 4 Hour Work Week” breaks down how to manage priorities and truly find what you value in very simple terms. Tim writes: “lack of time is lack of priorities. If I am ‘busy’ it is because I’ve made choices to put me in that position, so I have forbidden myself to reply to ‘How are you?’ with ‘busy.’ I have no right to complain. Instead, if I am busy, it is a cue to re-examine my system and rules.”

Many people find that blocking off their calendars during the day helps their productivity. One simple strategy is to block off 15 minutes before a meeting to allow yourself time to prepare. You can also block off chunks of time to work on projects like developing presentations, writing speeches or even time to return phone calls. Once your time block has ended, you can move on to your next task.

Goal Setting

Once you identify what you value, you can start establishing goals for yourself. Goals help set the foundation and provide a clear sense of purpose for your actions. This will help you determine which goals are more readily achievable than others and which ones might take longer to accomplish. This will help as you prioritize your time.

Clearing the Clutter

But getting organized is more than just time management, It’s about an organized workspace – finding what you need, when you need it. This includes your virtual or electronic workspace as well. Creating files and grouping all related materials into those files or folders reduces paper clutter and makes for a more functional workspace.

With research indicating a correlation between productivity and clutter, it’s essential that in addition to time management, you also get rid of the nonessentials in your workspace. This includes the unnecessary swag you pick up at events and the several-year-old manuals that you kept for reference even though you have since received updated copies. Get rid of all of the nonessentials. Once you have completed a project, be sure to discard any unnecessary materials or simply save the materials to a virtual folder and get rid of the paper copy.

By simply taking the time to plan and organize your time or work in advance, you save time in the long run and drive productivity.

What are some ways you keep your performance up and stress levels down when it comes to your workspace? Let us know in the comments below!

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