I wish I was the person who could recall every detail of every account at the drop of a hat, but God kept me humble. I quickly learned in the agency setting that if I didn’t start getting organized and writing things down, client work would quickly fall through the cracks. Over the years and a number of failures along the way, I’ve come up with a few organization tips and tools that I hope will excite the type-A personalities of the world and help out a few of my type-B buds. Here are my top five:
1. Notebook and Pen
There’s nothing high-tech or cutting edge about it, but keeping a notebook and pen on hand can make all of the difference. Whether it’s at a meeting or having it on your desk in case your boss stops by and adds a few more to-dos to your plate, you can write down everything before it goes in one ear and out the other. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I would easily remember something that was spoken to me in the kitchen and by the time I got back to my desk, I was stopped by three other people and the information was gone. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING!
2. Desktop Notes and Post-Its
If you’re old school, paper sticky notes work too, but I’ve found the digital ones that come on most computers work wonders. They’re easily accessible on your desktop to keep a running to-do list for all accounts. You can copy and paste, add or delete. Plus you can customize the colors – who doesn’t love color coding?
3. Calendar Requests
They’re not just for meetings and client calls. They can also serve as reminders for deadlines or to-dos. If I know a client story is supposed to run in a week, I’ll go ahead and set a calendar reminder to scan first thing that day. If you don’t check your calendar regularly, most have a setting that allows you to set a pop-up reminder on your screen.
4. Email Folders
My inbox used to be cluttered and nearly impossible to find the emails I was looking for, so I started making folders for every client. Emails that I’ve responded to or don’t require action, I quickly move to the proper folder. I leave emails that require an action or response in my inbox until I take care of it. I’m also quick to delete newsletters and other junk from my email to clear storage space. Don’t forget to empty the trash at least once a month.
5. Weekly Task Lists
Lastly, when you’re working with a team and there are a lot of moving parts, I’ve found it’s helpful to create weekly task lists for members of the team. This helps you divide and conquer the work, know who is responsible for what and have it in writing. This is also a good touch point during the week, whether it’s at the beginning, end or after a status meeting.
Those are just a few of my favorite things that keep me sane, efficient and organized. What other tools and tricks do you utilize at the office?
This post was contributed by Katie Venhaus. @Katie_Venhaus