What are organisational skills? (Types and examples)
Updated 31 July 2023
Organisational skills are some of the most important proficiencies you can have as an employee. Being organised allows you to meet deadlines, minimise stress and carry out your duties more efficiently. In this article, we explain what organisational skills are, look at different types of organisational skills, suggest what you can do to improve your skills and discuss how to highlight them.
What are organisational skills?
Organisational skills are the skills you use to keep yourself organised in terms of meeting deadlines, arriving on time and being able to find information as needed. Being organised is one of the most important abilities in the workplace. An organised employee uses available resources efficiently and productively.
Organisational skills help you meet deadlines, pay attention to what's important about the work you do, stay focused and help others do their job well. They may include having great communication and time management skills, being able to delegate, set goals, think strategically and more.
Types of organisational skills
These are some of the most important skills that can help you stay organised in the workplace:
Time management can help you plan out your daily and weekly schedule. The ability to use time efficiently and effectively improves workflow and allows you to keep track of your responsibilities. For example, you may need to decide which phase of the project will take you the longest to complete and which part of it can be done relatively quickly and then plan your work accordingly.
Being able to communicate your ideas and progress with others in your company or department helps you make sure everyone is notified about recent changes and updates relevant to the job they're doing. Communication skills include both sharing and receiving information. They help you prioritise, delegate and respond to requests or urgent issues.
Related: What are communication skills?
To stay organised and keep up with your schedule, you may need to be able to make good decisions quickly. Being confident in doing that shows your employer that you took enough time to analyse and think about the issue and that you're prepared to deal with it in a professional way.
Setting appropriate goals that you are able to achieve can influence your workflow and help you make sure that your employer is satisfied with your work. It's important to set personal and professional goals because by doing it you can develop and improve the skills that might help you advance in your career.
The ability to delegate allows you to easily divide responsibilities between members of your team based on their unique talents and skills. By doing this, you ensure that tasks are assigned to the most qualified employees who are also most likely to do the job well. Most importantly, delegating means you know your limits and can avoid overworking yourself.
Related: Top 9 leadership skills to develop
Strategic thinking and planning
Thinking strategically is one of the most valued qualities at work. It allows you to analyse a situation, predict its possible outcomes and plan your work accordingly to increase chances of success and avoid making mistakes while achieving your goals. Thinking ahead can also help you decide how to plan your time and resources.
Attention to detail
People with great attention to detail are focused, mindful and thorough. They understand that little things can impact a situation or project. That's why being able to notice details is an integral part of being organised and staying on top of all your duties and deadlines.
Employers value self-motivated employees because they don't need external factors to stay motivated and take initiative at work. Having the motivation to stay organised is the first step to having the most important tasks under control. To keep your motivation up, you may want to think about how being organised at work can influence your personal goals.
Related: Extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation
The ability to prioritise helps you decide which tasks and issues need more attention than the others. By appropriately assessing the importance of things you can ensure that the workflow is smooth and that you meet your most important deadlines.
Tips to improve your organisational skills
You may consider these tips to improve your organisational skills:
Making lists is one of the most effective ways to organise your projects and tasks. On top of that, ticking things off a list allows you to track and visually see your progress, which often improves work satisfaction. Thanks to always having a to-do list by your side, you may never find yourself thinking about what to do next or feeling that your work is pointless. Lists give your work a structure that you may need to stay organised.
Set realistic deadlines
Ambitious employees can have a problem with overworking themselves, which can negatively impact how organised they are in their workplace. To avoid that, you may want to focus on setting smaller deadlines that lead up to one main deadline. This can allow you to divide the work and only have to worry about one thing at a time.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Not knowing how to perform a task can be a paralysing feeling and result in getting behind on your schedule. If you need help or want your employer or coworker to teach you something at work, don't be afraid to ask them about it. You can explain to them that you're determined to meet a deadline but need their help to stay on track with it.
Remember that done is better than perfect
The fear of not having perfect results is something many people deal with at work. It can lead to procrastination, which is one of the things that stay in the way of being organised. If you deal with this issue from time to time, remember that getting things done quickly and efficiently and not being afraid of making small mistakes can allow you to stay focused and motivated.
Reward yourself for staying organised
If you find reward systems motivating, you may want to stick to this model while developing and improving your organisational skills. For example, reward yourself by having a movie night or going on a shopping spree after completing all tasks on your to-do list or meeting a deadline early. Taking a day off every week to do fun things such as hiking or reading a book can also help you relax and prepare for your next professional challenge.
How to present your organisational skills
Being organised can not only help you in your workplace but also during the recruitment process. Here are some suggestions on how you can highlight your organisational skills when applying for the job of your dreams:
On a CV
Before you decide to apply for a position, make sure to analyse desired qualities listed in the job description. Doing this can help you decide if your organisational skills match the employer's requirements and if you're the kind of candidate they're looking for.
The next step is to choose a perfect CV template that consists of a skills section. Include your most important organisational skills in bullet points. You may also incorporate them in other parts of the CV, such as work experience or professional summary. Consider using keywords like 'task oriented', 'reliable', 'goal oriented'.
Related: 10 best skills to include on a CV
In a job interview
One of the best ways to highlight your organisational skills in a job interview is by sharing examples of how you remained organised while working your previous jobs. You can explain to a recruiter how you helped your team meet an important deadline by delegating or prioritising assigned tasks.
If an interviewer asks about examples of your strengths in your personal life, you can also mention being organised and telling them how you organised a trip for your family or helped your parents plan out an event for their wedding anniversary. By doing this, you can show a potential employer that you're an honest and reliable candidate whose life is coherent with their career path and professional achievements.
If you're not currently looking for a job but aim to highlight your organisational skills in your workplace, you may consider doing a few things that could allow your employer to notice them.
For example, you can offer your help to coworkers who struggle with staying organised and politely ask if they'd like you to go over their work schedule to plan out deadlines and duties in a more efficient way. When a new employee is hired, consider offering to show them how processes at the workplace are designed, how paperwork is stored and what are the key performance indicators that show the employer the quality of your work.
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