I accelerated my career in a short time, and it wasn’t just the quality of my work that gave it the push. Organisation was a major player in the game! Here are 4 organisation hacks that got me a promotion.
Humblebrag: I got a promotion earlier this year!
And it was a semi-big one. I worked hard for it, diversifying my role and taking initiative in as many ways as I could. But here’s the kicker… both my boss and her boss expressed that they thought me suitable for the position for reasons that went beyond the actual quality of my work.
My ability to organise my work and the way I took ownership of stuff that needed organising within the company helped seal the deal. In a big way.
And it dispelled the notion that it takes just an armload of technical skills to get that promotion or raise. There’s so much more to a successful career!
My experience is an anecdotal case study in soft skills being key to career growth. Whether you lean on organisation like me, build valuable communication channels, or can seamlessly blend empathy into your working style — how you do what you do really matters!
I do truly enjoy creating a routine and a system that helps me work to the best of my abilities. One that supports my career goals. That pushes me forward without pulling me down.
And because it worked for me, I am sharing the 4 organisation hacks that may help you get a promotion too.
(Continue reading below.)
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Disclaimer 1: When I say organisation, I don’t just mean how I structure my tasks. I mean time management, habit-building, and day-to-day logistics!
Disclaimer 2: This article is about my own experience. I do not claim that being organisation hacks alone will help you get a promotion. You have to put in the work as well!
Organisation Hack #1: Adulting And Good Habits
There was a time when the snooze button and coffee were my BFFs, both vying for my attention. But let it be known (as if it isn’t already), sleeplessness and caffeine dependency does not a good pair make.
This is why, at the ripe old age of 25 (haha!), I decided that it was time to cut them out of my life. So long, toxic friends! Hello, adulting.
Jokes aside, a good sleep schedule and swapping caffeine for other liquids (chaas, juice, water) have truly turned my life around. I wake up early, eat on time, don’t get drowsy in the middle of the day, and rarely feel overworked.
In doing so, have found that I am most productive in the mornings. I am able to finish most of my work before work hours even begin. And that means I can take on the day at a steady pace, instead of my previously rushed one.
Plus reducing my coffee intake – no, you may not know how many cups I used to have in a day – meant being able to sleep early and avoid those pesky caffeine jitters.
All in all, feeling like an accomplished adult and developing a better work routine has truly made me more organised and active, and less flustered and inefficient.
Organisation Hack #2: To-Do Lists, But On Steroids
My to-do list is my holy grail. No joke!
It is the nucleus around which my workday revolves. And no, it is NOT your basic to-do list. Think to-do list with six-pack abs. To-do list with bulging biceps. To-do list that can take you in a fight. Okay, that’s a bit much. But you get my point!
I make my to-do list on my laptop. I prefer having the flexibility to move things around on my weekly schedule, while also saving myself the cost of a notebook.
How I Make My To-Do List
How I like to make my to-do list is by splitting it into categories. So articles have their own section, as do videos, as do strategy and brainstorming, content management, meetings, and so on.
Under each of these umbrella categories, I break down tasks into what I have to do, what I have to follow up on, and what I need to support someone else in doing. Further, each task is broken down into even smaller tasks so that every single thing I have to do is on my list.
I highlight the work that is on priority, and keep a section to account for ad hoc work as well.
I also strike through everything that is complete, and if my list is too long on a given day, I’ll just edit stuff out.
One other to-do list hack is that I do not make my to-do list at the start of the day. I make it at the end of the day, which means I save precious time the next morning, and can focus on what needs to be done.
Organisation Hack #3: Excelling Using Excel
Whether or not you relate to my love for Excel sheets, they are definitely a big player in my organisation game.
From trackers that help you stay on top of things, to master maps that help you stay on top of trackers, to calendars that help you stay on top of master maps — I survive and thrive because I have Excel by my side.
Excel is such an amazingly visible tool! It demonstrates what you are doing while also helping you actually do it as well.
As an anxious-by-nature person, I dislike spontaneity. And the only way I can avoid it to a certain degree is by having everything in front of me in the simplest, most easily trackable way possible. And Excel makes that happen.
A lot of the organisation hacks that my boss considered a value-addition were illustrated through the use of Excel sheets.
Three Ways You Can Use Excel
- Make a task tracker for yourself, setting personal deadlines and prioritising. Update it weekly, and transfer tasks from it to your to-do list every morning.
Benefit: Staying on top of all your cross-functional tasks seamlessly, and improving your productivity.
- Use your knowledge of it to volunteer for task management of projects, or just to assist the colleague who is.
Benefit: Showing initiative and creating influence within the company, and promoting efficiency.
- Put it to the task of measuring your performance, giving yourself a score for every assignment you do. Adding columns to note down how you can improve and next steps will further add value to each thing you work on
Benefit: Aligning everything you do in the context of your career goals, allowing you to achieve your dreams directly and indirectly.
Organisation Hack #4: Leaving A Paper Trail
Organisation should do two things behind-the-scenes:
- Make the assembly line of a task move seamlessly
- Make the work done and effort invested visible
And I use the way I organise to emphasise both points. I obviously focus more on the first than the second when I am working. But I’ve already shown you how I do the first in the previous hacks, so this hack focusses on the second.
A lot of what you do to organise yourself can seem like a bit much to show, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways of making it known.
So how do you show that you are organised? Actively make notes. Offer to jot down the minutes of the meeting. Create a document to track the work done on a project. Communicate decisions in your office communication channel or email.
What is important to remember, however, is that you have to be strategic in what you share. Sharing how expertly built your personal tracker is will not emphasise your effort as much as sharing structure and actionable takeaways after an important meeting. Blowing up your office Slack with messages is not as valuable as setting up a process between yourself and a colleague.
Make sure that you make an effort to share your organisation skills as resources and not as boasts.
This is important! Organisation hacks that serve you are not as valuable to a company as organisation hacks that serve the company.
So there you have it: 4 easy hacks that helped me pad my technical skills and get the promotion I wanted! What are your favourite organisation hacks? How have they helped you in your career? Let us know in the comments!
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