How do you keep yourself organized in such a fast-paced work environment? Here are a few tips that I have found help organize the chaos, so I feel a sense of accomplishment each day.
To prepare for the week ahead, take a quick peek at your schedule at the end of the day Friday. That way you’re ready for that early call on Monday or camera-ready for a client presentation.
1. Master To-Do List: Create a master to-do list where you can capture action items. I do love post-it’s for reminders or priority to-dos for the day, but those tend to run out of space. A digital to-do list gives you the flexibility to quickly add/edit and share with team members. Create a system for how you’ll categorize your to-do’s (e.g., client, project, month, etc.) There are apps available to make the list as fancy as you’d like, or you can stick to a basic Word doc. To help keep track of key meetings/launches/project milestones for the next few months, call these out at the top of the sheet for Quick Reference.
2. Where Should I Be: To prepare for the week ahead, take a quick peek at your schedule at the end of the day Friday. That way you’re ready for that early call on Monday or camera-ready for a client presentation. On Monday, take a few minutes to look at the full week again to make sure meetings haven’t shifted or conflict with anything else planned. Has anyone else tried to run a status call from a dentist appointment?
3. Email Hack: Have you ever accidentally hit send too early on an email? A trick I learned from a previous manager has saved me countless times. In the TO or CC field put in the word “stop” or pick another random word. This way if you accidentally hit send, the email won’t go out because it sees you have an incomplete email address. Go ahead and add your recipient list, subject line, and body copy. When you’re ready to send it out remove “stop.” No more half-typed emails or incomplete recipient lists.
4. Inbox Organization: You look away for 30 minutes and your inbox seems to instantly pile up. I’ve found the quickest way to organize email is to have folders organized into broad categories. For me this breaks down to a folder per client. I tried to have a folder per key initiative/campaign, however, it got tricky when emails covered multiple topics. This broad category system also makes inbox clean up efficient when you’re ready to file away old emails that are chilling in your inbox. Leverage the search functionality in your inbox program to pull up all the emails from a specific sender or that mention a key word. Then you can quickly select and move the bundle of emails into their designated folder. Soon you’ll be looking at an almost empty inbox (let’s be real it’ll never be empty…at least not for long!)
5. Browser Bookmarks: We’ve all been there – too many tabs in the browser to keep track of. Pro tip: setup an organization system for your bookmarks in your preferred browser. I have a folder per client that I add frequently visited sites ton (e.g. client websites and landers, competitor sites, shared folders, and other key docs.) You can also set up your bookmarks toolbar to include your go-to reference sites. The next time you’re on a call and someone is trying to hunt down a link to a shared document or referencing a competitive product you’ll be able to quickly jump to it without sifting through a long list of links.
These are just a few tips and tricks that help keep me on track during the week. What are some simple tricks that you use to bring organization to your busy work week?