The old adage, “A messy office means a hard worker,” is partly true and partly not. While on the one hand, it indicates that the employee is too busy to organize and clean his or her office, the boss may interpret the cluttered workspace as a reflection of a scattered employee who is just as much disorganized mentally as he or she is regarding the office space. Here’s how to improve organizational skills in the workplace.

Why Does Office Organization Matter?

Effective organizational skills tell the manager that the employee is not only proactive in keeping his or her office tidy but is also a reflection on how efficiently the worker follows through on important projects. Bosses connect the dots like this: an employee with a messy office is far more likely to be disorganized, scatterbrained, and unreliable.

Prioritization is also key to becoming more organized on the job. Prioritize based on anticipated due dates and the time it takes to complete each project. However, times arise when the boss may request that a project is completed immediately; then the employee must work on other projects around the request. Use a whiteboard and/or project tracking software for effective time management. Make sure to write down all project due dates and set reminders.

How to Become More Organized and Less Scattered


Start by clearing the clutter out of the office space. Much of the messiness may consist of personalized items such as vases, excessive family pictures, or non-work-related wall decor. Clear all scattered documents from desks and shelves and place in filing cabinet or tabletop wire file holders. Make sure to label everything for quick and easy access. Place a chair or two in the corner to make coworkers and clients feel more comfortable.

After the office is neat and tidy, focus on improving job performance. Purchase a whiteboard for brainstorming and project tracking. Use cheat sheets by the computer to remember key tasks, rules, and keyboard commands. Index cards are likewise effective. If the company does not already have a project tracking system, purchase project management software such as Microsoft Project to mark key milestones and project status updates.

Improving organizational skills on the job is key to increasing productivity and completing projects in a timely, efficient manner. By clearing out office space clutter, focusing on project performance, and practicing effective prioritization skills, the employee can wow the boss while opening up the possibility of awards and promotions.