My first PR boss, Julie, is the one who taught me how to stay on top of my tasks and to stay organized at work.
Organization can be one of biggest challenges for young pros, but if you know the tricks and have the right tools, you can not only be successful, but also have a little fun.
Keep a notebook and a pen with you wherever you go. I’m talking everywhere. If your boss calls you into his/her office, bring your notebook and pen. Bring them to meetings, with you as you go to ask a colleague a question. You never know what other topics of conversation might occur that you’ll need to take note of. Also keep a running to-do list and mark that page with a small post-it or colored tab. This way, as you go about your day of meetings, tasks, emails and conversations, you can add things as necessary to your list. By keeping your to-do list in your notebook, you ensure that things won’t fall through the cracks and you have everything you need at any given moment. “Can you have that report to me by Thursday morning?” “Let me check my workload. Yes, I can!”
Here’s a peek at mine from a day last week.
When managing your to-do list, it’s important to prioritize tasks. If you’re not sure how to do that, talk to your supervisor. Depending on your workload, keep a to-do list for each day, or for every couple days. If you’re keeping one for more than one day and you learn what tasks are most important to be done today, pick a color and highlight those tasks. These are things that must be done by the end of the day, today. This way, at the end of the day, you can look at your list and feel accomplished knowing you did everything that had to be done. If there’s time leftover, pick an additional task. That will certainly feel rewarding to complete. Sometimes I find it helpful to pick more than one color to highlight tasks if I’m planning out my work schedule for the next couple days. (Example: Today’s tasks=orange and tomorrow’s tasks=blue.)
Having the right tools is important. Having tools that are cute, well, I think that’s important too.
When I was in college, at the beginning of every term, I’d walk to the UO Bookstore and buy a new Le Pen in a new color to take notes with. I know. #nerd. Guess it’s no surprise that I now work at a school.
Here are some other great desktop accessories to help you stay organized.
How do YOU stay organized?
What are your tips?