Organization: Tips, Tricks and Favorite Tools
According to my short introduction on the team page of our website, I have “flawless organizational skills” and am a “multi-tasker”.
So it’s no surprise I’ve been asked to share the tips, tools and tricks that help me manage my many responsibilities, both professional and family-related. I’m a mom of two young children, so I might as well tell you that my organizational skills are put to the test when it comes to managing the needs of the house, the daycare, the projects at the office, the family activities, the parties, the classes and the many organizations or parent committees I participate in…
Let’s split it into three main sections: time management, tasks management and daily organization.
One of the first tools to set up and use wisely is a calendar. I prioritize an electronic version. This way, I can create different calendars for different aspects, which makes it easier to read when each calendar is assigned a different colour.
My family calendars are divided into five: a calendar for each family member, to indicate their own appointments, and a common calendar for family activities.
On the professional side, I take advantage of all the options that exist in Google Calendar, the tool we use at Middle.
Events: to create appointments with colleagues or clients;
Focus time: to block periods of work on specific projects;
Out of office: to let my coworkers know when I’m not available;
Task: to add tasks to be done at a specific time; and
Appointment Schedule: to set time slots for clients or partners to book a meeting with me.
I also use two other features, which are the working locations and work hours. With a hybrid work arrangement, telling my colleagues, clients and partners when I am available and where I am is relatively important–by using the features in my calendar, it is clearly defined and everyone can access the information.
At Middle, we use the project management tool Asana, but there are several with similar functionalities.
As a Project Manager, I oversee the progress of multiple clients’ projects and assign tasks to multiple colleagues. To help me manage these assignments, I customized my Asana personal dashboard, which has two sections: my priorities and the tasks I’ve assigned.
The former allows me to keep track of my assigned tasks so I can complete them in a timely manner, and the latter allows me to track the requests I’ve made to my colleagues and make sure nothing is forgotten or past their due date.
In addition to my calendar, which I keep very tightly up to date, I like to start my week and my days by writing task lists.
On Mondays, I prepare an overview of the week, broken down by category. In my case, I separate my to-do’s by the client and report these tasks in a daily view that I prepare each morning based on emergencies and deadlines.
With these three aspects (time – tasks – day) taken care of by various tools I have customized and optimized, I can manage a busy workload and personal life without getting too much into trouble. The tools are there, you just have to use them and optimize them.
I’m curious… What tools have you found to improve your organization at work and at home?
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