As a project manager, one very important aspect of getting the job done well is being organized. With the fast-paced environment that is an advertising agency, staying organized is harder than it sounds; without a few go-to organizational tips, things can fall apart quickly. Here are a few ways I keep myself and our clients organized throughout the week and achieve maximum efficiency.
CREATE A TO-DO LIST
I am a huge fan of writing a list of items that I need to get done within the workday. This list could be handwritten or just a document typed up on your computer. I am a big fan of the simple Notes app that is already installed on Mac computers. When I am creating a list, I typically start first thing in the morning to get my day off on the right foot. It is impossible to remember every little thing that needs to be completed, so having a written/typed place to remind yourself is a great way to stay on track. Not only do these lists help me recall tasks, but it also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I get to check off an item. By the end of the week, I can go back and see all the crossed-off items and truly feel good about all the work I did.
DON’T MOVE TOO FAST
Staying organized in a swirl of opening jobs, checking in on projects or generating reports for the week can seem overwhelming. Being overwhelmed can cause people (myself included) to try to work faster and not smarter. When I have extra-busy days, I sometimes find myself moving too fast. This often leads to missteps that could have been avoided if I had just slowed down. Taking a slow and steady route tends to keep my work life more organized. This step is easier said than done when there are piles and piles of tasks awaiting your attention. When I get frantic about moving too slow given the amount of work I need to complete, I go back up to tip one and write down a list of to-dos. With that to-do list, I do my best to prioritize with what is most important and time-sensitive. This is a great way to calm your nerves of all the items swirling in your brain.
BLOCK YOUR TIME
Another great way to stay organized is to block out times of the day to focus solely on a big item that needs your attention. It is standard in an agency to have multiple moving pieces for various jobs. It can be very easy to start one task, stop, and pick up another due to urgency or just plain old distraction. I find that when this happens to me, I get overwhelmed because I have six things half-done and nothing actually completed. Try to find a room with no distractions. If needed, you can also turn off notifications for email and any work chat that may pop up on your computer. From there, set the amount of time needed to achieve the task at hand and focus 100 percent on it. I find that more often than not, I complete the task much faster than expected because I haven’t been distracted by other requests or actions happening around me. Not only does this keep me more organized in the long run, but it makes my workday more efficient.
All in all, these three tried and true steps really keep my work day sane and manageable. Sometimes all it takes is to go back to basics and remember what is most important.