Women in leadership positions have a vast range of tasks to handle each day, and often struggle to be as productive as they’d like. If you’re in this position, you’re not alone. However, it’s crucial to find ways to be as effective as you can, and increase your power to tick things off your to-do list and help your team achieve top results.

When you’re busy, it’s understandable that you may not want to take time to get organised, particularly if this doesn’t come naturally to you, but letting things pile up can quickly lead to overwhelm.


You need a clear head to focus for hours at a time and to do the kind of deep thinking and creative work that is no doubt a part of your role. It’s hard to do this when your brain keeps getting distracted by the things around you. Besides, it’s frustrating having to spend time searching for paperwork or other supplies.

To avoid the chaos and stress caused by a messy office, it takes more than just buying a few nice-looking pen holders and paper trays. You must address things on a deeper level and find ways to make order stick for longer. Doing this makes you feel better and helps you to portray the confident, in-control image you want your team to have of you.


To change things for the better, it helps to think about who you are as a person. What type of organisational style might suit you best? When we think of getting organised we generally think of the classic Type A personalities who love to have everything in its place, but you don’t have to be a neat freak to get your office in order.

Get the assistance of a team member, colleague or friend to help you clean up once a week or fortnight. This task then becomes a fun activity done together rather than something you hate.

If you’re more of an artistic person who lives by deadlines, has many projects on the go, and struggles to complete things, give yourself enough room to spread out in your office. Use big containers to arrange and rearrange different project items. Create some clean-up deadlines for yourself each month too.

Are you someone who’s focused on the big picture, looking at end goals and losing sight of the details it takes to get there? If so, it can be hard to concentrate on tidying when you have bigger things on your mind. To work around this, put up a large whiteboard that features your long-term goals, but also place smaller steps underneath these that you need to complete to get there, such as sorting and tidying. This visual representation will prompt you to remember the importance of cleaning up.


Ever feel like your to-do list is ruling your life? Whether you’re a tech-loving app devotee, wedded to Basecamp, Trello, or Asana – or a back-of-an-envelope scribbler, convinced that the very act of putting pen to paper helps your brain fire better – set a challenge today to make your to-do list work better for you.

At its most basic level, a to-do list is exactly what it sounds like: a list of actions that need to be completed at any one time. The trouble is, in today’s world the sheer number of tasks can quickly become overwhelming. And many of us play so many different roles – parent, mentor,sister, colleague, leader, friend – that the difference between the jobs on our list can be vast.

Think about what your to-do list looks like. Is it in one place, or is it scattered among various locations? Do you have a system in place to track what happens with different tasks? Are there certain times of the month where you function more efficiently, and other times where you are sluggish or emotional? Break it down to times of the day you are focused and energised or craving a nap – Start to get a picture of how your energy ebbs and flows, and you’ll be one step closer to reaching a place of serenity when it comes to how you work. Begin to fit your “to be” list into your energy tracking.


There are other practical things you can do to get on top of mess and keep your workspace organised.

  • Schedule time in your calendar regularly to go through paperwork and file, recycle or shred items.
  • Do a quick tidy up at the end of each day so you start the next day more organised.
  • Sort through mail straight away, rather than letting it pile up. Action what you can on the same day.
  • Digitise information so you don’t have to store so much paper in your office.
  • For those things you must keephard copies of, use organisationaltools, such as magazine holders, storage boxes and the like, to keep order.
  • Delegate specific spots for each type of item so it’s easier to find belongings.
  • Organise possessions based on how often you use them. Things you use daily should be within easy reach, and the rest put away out of sight, wherever possible.
  • Ask yourself if you need to read all the books, magazine, reports, white papers and other documents that take up space. Delegate some reading to your team members and ask them to alert you to anything significant. Alternatively, accept that you can’t stay on top of every bit of information and commit to reading only select publications each month.