Three ring binders, sticky notes, highlighters; being organized is a colorful explosion of joy.
Personally, I like to stay organized. There are few things as irritating as going to find something and it not being in the place it should be. While you might not share my love of everything orderly, it is important to keep your professional work space clean and tidy.
We do a lot of sharing here at Roundpeg. Our clients cross departments, often several of us are working on the same account, sharing information back and forth. This can be a challenge and makes organization crucial to keep the machine running smoothly.
Everything in its place
When I, or one of my coworkers, need to find something, it is much easier to look in the one place where that piece of work should be. It’s tempting to save it on my personal computer until I’m done with it or just not save it if it seems like it won’t get used again, but this will cause some serious headaches down the line. You never know when you or a coworker might need them again.
Double check updated files
I recently got burned by out of date files. If you are saving files in a specific place, triple check them and make sure the most up-to-date file is the one that is saved in the correct location. It can get confusing if you are revising the same document several times, which is why I like to add revised with the date in the title.
Project management software
It never hurts to have another system in place to keep projects organized and tasks in the forefront of your mind. We use Insightly, a project management software to keep a running list of tasks, available anywhere at any time. This is especially helpful when someone asks me to do something on the fly or without a big conversation about it. I probably won’t be able to get to it that moment, but if I try to write it down in the margins of some notes, I am more than likely going to forget about it. With project management, I can add the task and it will stay there, in front of my face, until I get to it.
Everyone has their own style of organization. I’m a pen and paper kind of person, but some people might keep their notes and drafts digitally. Either way works, as long as everyone has a system. For personal records, I type up my notes after meetings and put them in with the content I have created for clients. If need be, I can go back and find my notes to be sure we covered everything. This approach is so much easier than flipping through page after page of scribbles on notebook paper to try and find the right day and conversation.
You might harbor negative feelings for meetings. Stereotypical office comedies portray office meetings as a huge waste of time, but when done correctly they are a powerful tool for keeping the entire team up to speed with all ongoing projects and clients. I don’t do much with the web side of clients, but it is helpful to know what my clients are doing and what work we are doing for them outside of my role. I find that a lot of my clients expect me to know all facets of the work we do for them and I don’t think this is unreasonable. To manage a client and an account efficiently, knowing everything about what they are receiving from us is really helpful.
If you are not the most organized person, there is nothing wrong with that. Organization is hard to get down when first starting out. Things seem to be flying in every direction. My advice? Until you figure your system out, write down everything. It doesn’t hurt to have things recorded a few times.