Six Ways for Web Workers to Get Organized This Month, Part I

The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has been celebrating Get Organized MonthSM in January since 2005. It’s perfect timing, if you ask me. We’re right on the heels of the chaotic holiday season and the start of a New Year with new goals and priorities. And unless you’ve shed all of your previous roles and responsibilities as the ball dropped on December 31, you now have to find the time in an already busy schedule to start working on your new goals.

The key to doing this successfully is getting — and staying — organized. There are the expected ways to get organized, such as filing papers and organizing your office. But there are a whole slew of other ways you can get organized this month that you may not think of automatically, some particularly applicable to web workers.

Here is the first half of this post, with the remaining three organization ideas coming in my next post.

Goals

Yes, I realize that I’m starting the list with a fairly generic item, but hear me out. You were hit by the big push to set goals for the last month or so, and whether or not you jumped on the goal wagon and formally identified your goals, you most likely have something you’re working toward. As an aside, if you haven’t formally set goals but have an idea of a direction you want to move in, I urge you to at least write it down. Seeing it in black and white can be a powerful tool on its own.

The organization part of this doesn’t come from the goal-setting, though. It applies to the creation of a plan for tracking your progress and measuring success on a regular basis. Working toward your goals should be a year-round activity, and that means assigning weekly and monthly actions and milestones, scheduling the time to complete the actions, then checking in to see how you did. You can create a check-in process that’s weekly, monthly, even quarterly; and it can include a complex review, or just answering a few quick questions to see if you’re on the right track. Pick a process that works for your goals, schedule and personality, make it an organized process and commit to it on a regular basis.

Website Maintenance

This can be a two-part process for your own websites, and it’s probably not a bad idea to run through it for client sites as well. The first part is doing a quick quality assurance check. For most of my sites, this means making sure all of the links work, testing forms, checking for broken images and updating the year in the copyright notice in the footer.

The second part is the important part for ongoing organization. You can start by answering questions like: How will you update/improve your content? Is your site due for a design update? If you use a blog platform or CMS, have you updated the core and plugins lately, and when will you do it again? Then make a list of maintenance tasks, and schedule them during the year.

Computer Data and Files

I often save files to my desktop as a shortcut. But I truly hate desktop icons, not to mention the space it can eat up if you’re not careful.  So it’s almost automatic for me to file and delete everything sitting on my desktop at the end of the day. If you also use your desktop as a catch-all, or download a lot of files while you’re browsing the Web, you may have a lot of unnecessary files taking up space on your hard drive.

Once your files are straightened out, you can create an ongoing action to run standard maintenance tasks on your computer, run hardware and software updates, and check your backed up data to ensure it’s accessible, complete and usable.

And let’s not forget about email. Organizing and managing your email can be a massive project that can take as little or as much time as you want to dedicate to it. Most of us probably have some kind of system already, or purposefully refuse to adopt any system that requires more attention; just simply responding to messages and using search functionality when we need to find something specific. There are hundreds of philosophies and all are valid, as long as you can fully commit to the process you adopt and it keeps you relatively organized.

Are you starting to see all of the different areas where you can become more organized? Read on for three more ways to get organized this month.

Image credit: malkowitch

Win an Annual Membership to Learnable,

SitePoint's Learning Platform

  • loganathan

    Great tips, thanks