I am not spontaneous…and I’m okay with that.
Being spontaneous is often seen as something more positive than being a planner. For as long as I can remember, my family has been poking fun at me because I love to plan and organize. While their mantra has always been “we’ll see as we go”, lists and plans have always been my friend.
Even when I was in school, I used to make lists of homework, deadlines, and things I wanted to accomplish. And as an adult, I am still just as planned and organized. When we go on family vacations, I like to research and make a list of what activities we will be able to do, how much everything will cost, what restaurants are highly recommended, etc. My kids’ toys are neatly put away in clear bins, I have an app and an excel spreadsheet to view my budget in categories, I plan my meals for the month on a calendar and I’m constantly going through closets and drawers to reorganize everything and declutter.
For most people in my life, this level of organization is a nightmare. For me, this lifelong habit has proven to be very profitable in my personal and professional life. I have been working from home for many years now. When I talk about my work, most people say: “I don’t know how you do it! I would never have the discipline to be at home all the time”. To me, one of the main benefits of being organized is precisely this sense of control that allows me to be more productive.
But what does it mean to be organized at work exactly? Is it just about keeping a clutter-free desk, knowing how to put together an Excel spreadsheet or follow a to-do list? Well, it is all that and a little more. Good organizational skills mean having the ability to plan, prioritize and achieve goals in a neat, efficient, and productive manner. There are many different types of organizational skills, and for my work, the following skills are the ones I find most useful:
Time-Management Skills: Knowing how to manage my time is crucial when it comes to staying on task and being organized. This means knowing when deadlines are approaching and meeting them.
Physical Organizational Skills: My desk and workspace are clutter-free and organized. I make sure I do not have a ton of loose papers lying around, everything is in its place and my computer files are labeled and sorted in a consistent and logical way.
Prioritization Skills: Organized people know how to prioritize a to-do list. I understand very well which deadlines I must meet first, and what can wait, and I do not slack off.
Efficiency Skills: Organization and efficiency go hand in hand. I have my schedules preplanned and my to-do lists are written out, which means that I can efficiently check off each item as I cruise along.
Communication Skills: If I am not organized in what I want to achieve and how I plan to achieve it, I will not be able to clearly communicate to others. It is also important to be able to effectively communicate my needs with my coworkers if I need help, or even if I am waiting on another person to start one of my own tasks.
For my employer, I believe my organizational skills establish a sense of trust and professionalism. Especially in a work at home environment, I think it projects an image of reliability and control. My coworkers can always count on me to get my job done!