Helpful Tips for Staying Organized
A typical day in the life of a project manager is anything but typical. In our pursuit of exceptional service we start and pause projects, attend meetings, reply to email and field phone calls. We remain focused, yet accessible, as we move client projects throughout the agency. The driving principle at Ampersand is to Fuel & Simplify Business Growth, and to do that we need to find the unique workflow that aligns our personal process and the expectations of each client.
As we refine this process, it’s helpful to have tools, tricks and methods at hand to safeguard the details and create space to think ahead and be agile as project deadlines approach. If you find yourself working toward the same goal of fueling and simplifying your day-to-day process to create more room for growth and innovation, here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Tip #1: The To-do List
Having a “to-do” list will help you prioritize and stay on track. Storing to-do’s in your head can be incredibly overwhelming and force you to create a mental reminder loop to reduce the risk of forgetting anything. A written list will ensure things don’t “slip your mind” and will give you the satisfaction of crossing completed items off a list and seeing a visual representation of your accomplishments. Regular pen and paper works just fine, but there are also some free electronic lists that will keep you on track and save paper.
Tip #2: Create a Workspace That Suits You
While some argue a cluttered desk suggests a cluttered mind, others question what an empty desk signifies. The point is, be aware of your surroundings and intentionally create a space that allows you to focus. If find clutter distracting, make it a point to clear your workspace often and reset to your liking. If you prefer to have information and inspiration at the ready, by all means keep your notes and knickknacks close to ensure your creativity keeps flowing. Know yourself and what works best for you, and then be mindful of keeping your space organized in a way that suits your work style.
Tip #3: Schedule Efficiently
Whether you schedule your own day or have an assistant, be sure to schedule your time efficiently. If you have one meeting at 10 am another at 2 pm, it can be difficult to get tasks done before, in-between and after. If you know you will have multiple meetings in one day, schedule them all in the morning or afternoon. This will leave you with larger blocks of time to accomplish other tasks. If your have an offsite meeting, try to schedule it on your way into or home from the office, so you can best utilize travel time.
Tip #4: Learn to Label
Create your own naming convention and system that will help you quickly find information. Some people prefer to have a notepad or book for each client, others prefer to have one notepad or book that flows in chronological order. You may prefer to keep notes in Evernote or another organizational app. The key is to consistently name and date each entry so you can reference the info at a moments notice.
Tip #5: Create Shortcuts
We all have our tried-and-true documents or folders on the server that we use repeatedly. Create shortcuts to gain instant access or keep a folder of “helpful documents” on your desktop. This can include your electronic letterhead, expense report and other templates you reference frequently – ad specs, online platform sizes, and more.
Determining your best process can be daunting, but once you do you will find yourself more productive and proactive with each project.