Organizational skills are some of the most important and sought after skills in the workplace (no, getting organized isn’t just something students at school have to worry about). Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for candidates who are adaptable and exhibit strong organizational skills. Employers and managers also emphasize these skills among employees because they’re vital to an efficient and productive workforce, and they can make or break your tenure as an employee.
But what are organizational skills? Are they just about knowing how to put together an Excel spreadsheet? Knowing how to make and follow a to-do list? Having a clean desk? There are actually many different types of organizational skills. These help eliminate problems, promote positive habits, and make for a more cohesive working environment.
Here are six of the most imperative organizational skills for a career full of productivity and leadership:
When it comes to organization, few actions show your competence as well as your ability to manage a team. Do you have proper problem-solving skills, effective communication skills, and an openness to learning from your peers? These are vital organization skills because your peers and superiors need to know you can not only manage your own time and projects, but also the projects of others. Mastering these skills also shows that you know how to manage.
Knowing how to manage your time is crucial when it comes to staying on task and being organized. This means knowing when deadlines are approaching — and meeting them. It also means staying on top of meetings, calls, and presentations. If you don’t know how to manage your time, you will be seen as disorganized and unreliable.
This means having a clean and kept-up workspace. Make sure you don’t have a ton of loose papers lying around. Don’t have pens and markers sitting on your desk without a proper place. Don’t have personal items strewn about haphazardly. Make sure your physical appearance is kept-up — hair and teeth are brushed, clothes are clean, and you're freshly showered. And make sure your computer desktop isn’t cluttered and messy. People can see this, and if you look disorganized on the surface, then people will think you are disorganized.
If you want to move up the ladder in your workplace, you need to know how to plan. You need to know how to plan your time and plan projects accordingly. You need to understand other people’s plans and the plans of your organization. This also means planning for the tasks that make up a project, presentation or event. If you know how to plan something effectively and efficiently, then others will see you as an asset to the team.
Like planning, having effective scheduling skills shows others that you are aware of the projects, people, and tasks you’re working with and around. You have to know how much time to allocate, to whom, and when. You also need to be acutely aware of what’s going on all around you, which requires a lot of dedication and hard work.
When it comes to organization, knowing where and how to use your resources is paramount. You don’t want to run out of hands, and you don’t want to give a task to someone who can’t fulfill the objectives. This includes both internal and external resources, as these are skills all employees — but especially managers — need to succeed.
Knowing how to reach your goals — and what it takes to reach organizational excellence — is what separates the average employees from the stellar employees. Those with the ability to properly push a team to its goals and increase productivity show true leadership potential. And if you want to achieve these management skills, it’s important to make them habits both in the workplace and in life.
An organized person knows how to delegate tasks to other people on their team, rather than getting overwhelmed trying to handle everything themselves. An organized person probably knows their team so well, they know who to trust with what tasks, as well, to make sure that everything is handled in an efficient manner.
An organized person gets enough sleep every night. They understand that, without adequate sleep, they won't be able to optimally perform the next day because sleep deprivation hurts productivity levels. Therefore, being organized means understanding how to fit sleep in the schedule, too.
Prepping meals is organizational in and of itself. You have to cook your lunches (sometimes dinners, too), usually for the week ahead and then organize those meals into tupperware to keep them fresh for when you want to eat them. But beyond that, meal prepping keeps everything else on the to-do list in check because you don't have to take the time out of your day to cook or go grab a lunch; you're one step ahead of the game.
Organized people know how to prioritize a to-do list. They understand very well which deadlines they have to meet first, and what can wait, and they don't slack off.
While achieving goals is great, it's an important first step to even understand what kinds of goals you're setting for yourself. An organized person knows exactly what they want and has a plan of action to get there. They've set goals for themselves and are working toward those goals in an organized, particular way.
Much like teamwork skills, an organized person also has collaboration skills. Just because someone isn't on their team doesn't mean that they don't know how to collaborate with that person. Organized people know how to collaborate and work well with just about anyone.
An organized person shows leadership skills because they take control of their own success and lift other people up along the way. They know what they want, how they're getting there, and they're doing it efficiently, which are major qualities of a leader.
Organized people have their schedules preplanned and their to-do lists are written out, which means that they can efficiently check off each item as they cruise along.
Organized people know how to communicate their needs with other people if they do indeed need help, or even if they're waiting on another person before they can get started on one of their own tasks. They can effectively communicate to get the ball rolling in whatever direction necessary.
Above all, organized people take the time to take care of themselves. They understand that, if they're not healthy both physically and mentally, they won't be able to do what they need to do how they need to do it. An organized person makes the time to spend time with their friends and family, eat healthy meals, get outside, exercise and indulge in self-care activities they love. Simply, without those things, they wouldn't be able to function in such an organized manner.