I’ll be the first one to admit it – I’m not good with plans that change at the last minute. If I’m in the middle of a project and then am asked to work on something urgent, it takes me a minute to get through an inner freak-out and process the change in plans. If I’m meeting friends for dinner but they decide last-minute to cancel, you’ll find me in a bit of a bummed-out tizzy. It’s safe to say that I like to have structure, an itinerary and a to-do list at all times, and when my list suddenly flies out of the window, I have to learn to roll with it.
Sometimes, a change in plans is out of the blue and cannot be predicted. However, when prioritizing time at work and setting goals and an agenda for each day, planning for any surprising turn of events is a smart and realistic approach to planning. Here are a few of my Type-A personality organizational tips that will help keep even the most inflexible person (yours truly) sane in the fast-paced world of PR:
- Keep your calendar up-to-date. Sync your work calendar with your personal calendar, and make sure you can access them on your phone, tablet and laptop. Setting reminders and alerts can be helpful, too!
- Keep a planner. I’m a bit old school, and I love having a planner that I carry in my work bag. I write in pencil so I can change dates and times as necessary, and each week is covered in post-it notes of things I need to do and personal reminders. To me, there’s nothing like a hand-written to-do list to keep me in line!
- Make a weekly to-do list. Then break it down into daily to-do lists. This goes for work and personal things. These lists can help you stay on task while also offering the opportunity to physically (or digitally) cross things off as you complete them. There’s nothing more rewarding than crossing off the last item on a to-do list! (Okay, maybe I’m an organizational nerd.)
- Prioritize. Within your to-do lists, make notes of which items are the most urgent and which ones can take longer for completion. This way you know what you should tackle first and how long it might take you to do it.
- Breathe. If an unexpected project falls into your lap, take a breath. Then, prioritize it. If it’s a client emergency, dive right in. But, if it can wait until your current task is complete, set it aside for now. Make the most of your (and your clients’) time by understanding what is most important, and everything else will fall into place!
Even a rigid, live-and-die-by-the-to-do-list person (like me) can learn to be flexible at the necessary times. All it takes is a little organization, a deep breath and the confidence you need to get the job done!