Organizational Skills

Learn About This Important Soft Skill

Pencils organized by color
••• Marc Romanelli / Blend Images / Getty Images

Organizational skills allow you to arrange your thoughts, time, and tasks in a structured way. They give you the ability to apply a systematic approach to every undertaking. Being well-organized will benefit your performance at work. It will let you multitask, avoid serious mistakes, and meet deadlines. 

Tips to Help You Develop Organizational Skills

Not everyone is born with this essential soft skill. Some people, by nature, are incredibly well-organized, but others are not. If you are disorganized, do you have to just live with the chaos? Fortunately, you do not. There are things you can do that will help you develop better organizational skills.

  • Assign Everything to Its Own Place: To avoid wasting time searching for often-used supplies, keep each item in a specific location. For example keep printer paper in the cabinet under the printer, your stapler in the top desk drawer, and paper clips in a dispenser on the desk. Return everything to its assigned location when done using it.
  • Follow the "Touch it Once" Rule: When sorting through your inbox (both the physical one on your desk and the email one), make a decision about what to do with each item on the spot. Either discard it or deal with it. Try not to set it aside for later.
  • Get Rid of Clutter: It is much easier to stay organized when you are not surrounded by clutter. Keep your desk  and office neat.
  • Write To-Do Lists: Before you begin a project, write down all the steps for which you are responsible. Put the tasks in order of priority. Ask yourself which ones you need to complete before you can go on to the next one. You can simply use paper and pen or you can take advantage of one of the many list-making apps for smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Use a Calendar: Note all deadlines on a calendar. If you use one on your mobile device or computer, you can set up reminders that will alert you to an approaching deadline.
  • Set a Routine and Stick to It: Even if you have flexibility in your schedule, plan to begin and finish working at a specific time each day. Allocate time periods to work on particular tasks. Make a point of scheduling regular breaks throughout the day.

Careers That Require Strong Organizational Skills

You will need to be well-organized regardless of your occupation, but some demand this skill more than others. Let's take a look at careers that require exceptional organizational skills:

  • Event PlannerEvent planners coordinate private parties, conventions, trade shows, and business meetings. 
  • Loan OfficerLoan officers work for banks and other financial institutions and help people obtain loans from them.
  • Management AnalystManagement analysts help companies change their structures, increase profits, reduce losses, and improve their efficiency.
  • Registered NurseRegistered nurses, or RNs, provide healthcare services to patients and advise them and their families.
  • Licensed Practical NurseLicensed practical nurses, or LPNs, care for patients who are ill or injured. They work under the supervision of RNs.
  • ParalegalParalegals help lawyers with a variety of tasks including research and drafting of legal documents.
  • Social WorkerSocial workers connect people with services including government assistance, child care, adoption services, and mental health support.
  • ArchitectArchitects design buildings, making sure they are aesthetically pleasing, safe, functional, and meet the needs of their inhabitants.
  • AttorneyAttorneys, also called lawyers, represent clients who are involved in criminal and civil legal cases.
  • DoctorsDoctors examine patients and diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries.
  • School PrincipalPrincipals manage all the activities in elementary, middle, and high schools. They establish educational goals for their students and faculty.
  • TeacherTeachers help students learn and apply concepts in a variety of subjects.
  • EngineerEngineers solve problems by using their scientific and mathematical expertise.
  • DentistDentists examine patients' teeth and mouth tissue in order to diagnose and treat problems.
  • Dietitian or NutritionistDietitians and nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs. They supervise the preparation and serving of meals, and promote healthy eating habits.
  • Marriage and Family TherapistMarriage and family therapists treat families, couples and individuals, working from the perspective that those with whom we live have an impact on our mental health.
  • Health EducatorHealth educators teach people how to live healthy lifestyles in order to avoid serious health problems.
  • Financial AdvisorFinancial advisors help clients plan for long and short term financial goals.
  • Fashion Designer: Fashion designers create suits, pants, blouses, shirts and dresses, as well as shoes and handbags.
  • Human Resources AssistantHuman resources assistants tend to clerical tasks in companies' and organizations' human resources departments.
  • Market Research AnalystMarket research analysts design surveys that help companies figure out what products and services to sell and who their potential customers are.
  • Public Relations SpecialistPublic relations specialists communicate their employers' or clients' messages to the public.
  • Marketing ManagerMarketing managers create strategies that help companies sell their products and services.
  • Urban or Regional PlannerUrban and regional planners help communities determine the best use of their land and resources.
  • Survey ResearcherSurvey researchers design and conduct surveys that are used to collect information about people and their opinions.