Everyone has their own organizational systems. These are things you do to make sure you know where everything is and remember what you’re supposed to do each day and keep track of what you get done. It doesn’t really matter how you do it or what the system is, as long as it works for you. The simplest system for me? Lists. I live and breathe by lists. As someone with a sub-par memory, relying on lists has gotten me where I am today. I absolutely love lists.
Lists come in handy for so many different things, and having a different list for each situation can be helpful. When most people think of lists, a grocery list is the main one that pops into their head. A to do list is also right up there. I vehemently believe in both, and more. I have separate lists for groceries, personal to dos, business to dos, long term to dos, daily to dos. Each in a couple of different forms. So here you go, a list of my favorite lists:
Overall To Do: This is a general to do list with anything that pops up that needs to be remembered. This is generally more personal and will include things like paying bills, getting milk, return a phone call. It can also sometimes include business, but then those items will generally also get included on one of the other lists.
Long Term To Do: This includes anything that will require action at any time. It needs to be in my head and dealt with eventually, but may not be something that can be taken care of yet. This always relates to work, and mostly includes upcoming client initiatives.
Daily To Do: This is the list for what needs to be done each day. It is created the night before or first thing in the morning and includes each task that needs to be taken care of that day.
Monthly To Do: This is not so much a list as an actual monthly calendar. Daily and Long Term To Dos both come from this. I keep up with my calendar on my phone, which syncs with the one of my computer, and I also have a paper version- a good old-fashioned pocket diary if you will. I use the phone when on the go, and actually write things down when I’m able, and then always convert one to the other so they match and are both up to date. Just writing it down twice helps me immensely in remembering it later on.
Monthly Work Overview: Last but not least (and I know this won’t be applicable for everyone, but I think PR people will appreciate) is the monthly overview of more than just my To Dos. This includes larger picture things like events and holidays that may effect clients or at least are good to have in mind, deadlines for publication inclusion, important editorial calendar dates, monthly or weekly check ins with clients that may not be specifically scheduled meetings, etc. This is essentially the monthly To Do, except it focuses on the next month (or upcoming three) instead of the current month. Also, where the Monthly To Do calendar includes personal engagements, this is strictly work and much more detailed.
Call me crazy but having everything accounted for and having an organized approach is so important to me and staying on top of things. I know not everyone needs so many lists (and maybe I don’t either, but being extra prepared makes me feel better!) but implementing a few of these may prove helpful if you are working out your own organizational style.
What works for you for keeping track of everything?