Working With a Disorganized Boss is Possible

Michele Warg
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If you have a disorganized boss, you might think you are doomed to work in a chaotic environment. However, there are ways to compensate for your boss's lack of organization and keep your own productivity high. Use these five tips to cope with your disorganized boss and improve productivity.

1. Learn Your Boss's Bad Habits

If your disorganized boss always asks you to create reports at the last minute or fails to tell you about upcoming deadlines, you can take action to tackle the problem. Schedule a reminder to check in with your boss once a day to find out if there are any looming deadlines or important tasks that need your attention. This simple habit allows you to find out about urgent tasks while you still have time to work on them without feeling stressed.

2. Confirm Instructions in Writing

Perhaps the most frustrating type of disorganized boss is one who can't remember what he told you to do. Whenever your boss gives you verbal instructions, send an email to confirm them before you start work. That way, your disorganized boss can't blame you for not following instructions, as you'll be able to point out exactly what you were told to do.

3. Help Your Boss Delegate

If your boss has trouble delegating tasks to team members, offer to help him out. If there are jobs on your boss's to-do list that you can do quickly and easily, offer to do them. You can also suggest team members who have the right skills to take on tasks.

4. Enter Information Directly Into Your Boss's Calendar

Rather than emailing your disorganized boss the date of the next team meeting and hoping he puts it on a calendar, enter the information directly into the boss's calendar yourself. This is a good way to ensure your boss always knows what is going on in the office, compared to emails which can easily be ignored or forgotten about.

5. Set a Good Example

Ultimately, the best way to encourage your disorganized boss to be a little more responsible is to lead by example. Before you complain about your boss's behavior, make sure you are being as organized as possible. Keep your desk clean and tidy, update your calendar so you never forget about important meetings or events, and always meet your own deadlines. Cultivating a reputation as the most organized person in the office is a great way to calm the chaos, and it might also put you in line for a promotion.

Working with a disorganized boss can be frustrating, but there are ways to reduce the impact of your boss's poor organizational skills on your career. Use these five tips to cope with your disorganized boss and improve productivity in your office.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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