Write it down

Image from: http://www.marieclaire.com

As I’ve mentioned before (see here), I make a lot of lists and take regular notes. I write things down so I don’t have to remember them. It was probably all those years of journalism training, but I still can’t sit in a meeting and not take notes.

There’s a scene in Mad Men season three, in the Color Blue episode (Yes, I’m a bit behind. Please don’t spoil it for me.) that reiterated why I write things down. In the scene, Paul Kinsey had a brilliant idea. A once-in-a-lifetime brilliant idea, but he didn’t write it down and doesn’t remember it.

For me, it isn’t the piece of paper that I wrote it on that’s the most important, it is simply that I wrote it down. Because I wrote it down, I am more likely to remember it. But that’s me.

It also means if I have to share details from a meeting with a co-worker or my boss, I am more likely to remember the details and summarize it more effectively.

Using notes as a memory aid and not as a crutch is a fine line. One you’ll have to determine for yourself. But if you aren’t already using notes to your advantage, start small. You might surprise yourself.

Staying Organized at Work

Photo from Orange County Organizing http://www.blog.orangecountyorganizer.com
I freely admit I’m a bit OCD. I like to have paper lists and electronic lists. I prefer to keep copies of paperwork for years just in case I might need it again some day. This has been worth it a few times, but really it just leaves a lot of clutter. Unless you have a really good system.

At home, I use pretty filing cabinets and file mail and such at least once a month if not once a week. At work, I make sure to file regularly and not let papers clutter my desk top.

I have check lists galore. Projects that need to be completed ASAP, projects that are on the back burner and projects not yet started. This way, I always have something to work on. I just make sure to check in with my supervisor regularly to make sure my list is still accurate.

Keeping a paper calendar with deadlines in my line of vision is very helpful for me to visualize how much time I have left on a project. While an electronic calendar (which I am a huge proponent of as indicated here), can send you reminders, some times the visual cue is the best way to reinforce a deadline.

I also love sticky notes. If I need to remind myself of something really quick or a point I don’t want to forget, I jot it down on a sticky note. I probably go through a stack every couple of weeks. The bright colors and fun shaped ones are my favorite.

What are some of the ways you keep organized and on task at work?