If one of your goals for 2020 is to get or stay organized at work, you’re in the right place. In 2019, Two Rivers Marketing handled about 5,000 projects of all sizes. Every one of them was wrangled by a project manager. That proves we have many highly organized people at Two Rivers Marketing! We asked them for their secrets to success.
Get organized from the start
Program Director Kayt Gabrielson recommends “start with the end in mind.” In other words, start by finding out when the project is due, and then work backward through all the steps to build a project timeline.
She also counsels project managers to “take notes. Even when you think you will remember, take notes. Then follow up, always — with yourself and others — and put a due date on everything.” Starting with a solid plan is important to stay organized.
How to organize tasks at work
Every project manager we talked to said the same thing: Have a list. Some still use the old-fashioned, ink-and-paper kind, some use a Google doc, or programs like Trello and One Note.
“Lists, lists, lists,” says Kristi Sauer, one of many managing directors of client services at Two Rivers Marketing. “I create one for each week broken down by day. I review in the morning and at the end of the day and update accordingly. Cross off what is complete, add new tasks or shift priorities based on what else has come in.”
The advantage of using cloud-based to-do lists — such as Google Docs — is that they are accessible from anywhere via phone or computer and impossible to physically lose.
Tips for email organization
Email has become the primary form of communication in many offices. Our organization gurus recommend using your email account features to bring the barrage of daily email under control.
“The key to success is — and I cannot stress this enough — email folders and labeling. You can never have enough labels in Gmail,” says Hope Waggoner, a media supervisor at Two Rivers Marketing.
In addition to the folders, Account Manager Lauren O’Brien uses Gmail’s multiple inboxes functionality. She uses three: “one inbox for all new emails and one each for internal and external emails I need to follow up on. Having the follow-ups in their own inboxes helps me make sure nothing falls through the cracks.”
Account Supervisor Brooke Vasey uses a read and re-tag method. “I read most emails as quickly as possible, but if I know it can wait for a response or if there is an action item for me, I will mark them as unread.” The unread email is a visual reminder of messages that need follow-up attention.
Use cloud calendars and continuous communication
Project Manager Karleen Lensing sets up reminders on her Google calendar, and not just for meetings. She also recommends lots of communication, including “friendly reminders to people for things on their plate to help keep projects moving forward.”
If a project has many contributors, like most projects at Two Rivers Marketing do, Kristi recommends keeping communication flowing by creating status sheets, often in a cloud-based format that’s easily accessible by everyone.
“We enter every project we have, with key dates, owner of responsibility and next steps,” Kristi said. “These are used internally to make sure everything is getting done.”We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips from our experts. Good luck meeting your organizational goals in 2020!