How I Stay Organized at Work

December 3, 2016

I was always proud that I know all the progress of all the projects I was working on without having a to-do list or any sort of reminder. Don't get me wrong, I love making lists, but I wouldn't make one if I don't need it. Just asked me the name of the project, and I would be able to give you the latest information on it. However, this totally changed months ago. I was working on more cases than ever, and most of them are so, so complicated. It was getting very difficult for me to keep track of my work, and I started to blend the details from one project to another. I knew that if I don’t want to make any mistake, I need to do something to help me stay organized at work.


I’m a visual person, so I use these three items to keep me organized: post-it notes, notepads, and excel spreadsheets. 


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Post-it notes
I use post-it notes to write down my daily to-do list. It’s a detailed list that tells me what projects I have to work on today, and what tasks I need to do for each project. The things I put on there could be as small as "print out the emails for filing" or "search for this book for reference". My daily to-do list is the last thing that I do before I leave work for the day, so when I come into work the next day, I can get right on my tasks for the day.
Other than a daily to-do list, I also have a weekly list of all the goals I want to achieve or projects that I need to finish by the end of the week. This is something that I do on Friday afternoon. This is a more general list that gives me a great visual of what my week would look like, and it helps me create my to-do lists for each day.


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The spreadsheet is the tool that I use to keep track of all my projects. The spreadsheets would have all the details for the projects I'm working on – it goes from the contact and company names, the fees that involve in the project, to the dates of the correspondences. This might sound crazy, but trust me, all these information could be very helpful sometimes! Other than that, I would also have “notes” section for each spreadsheet for me do record miscellaneous stuff regarding the project. 


I love using spreadsheets to track all my projects for so many reasons. First, I can easily search for things in there, which is something that I couldn't do if I record them on paper. Second, I can copy or share the file with others if they want to know any information or updates. Third, I can color-code things, so I can easily distinguish my “priorities” or “waiting for reply” from a glance.


Since I started using these three tools and created my own system, I actually feel more productive and accomplished at work. With the post-it notes and the notepads, I don’t have to spend time on thinking about what I need to do next or what I left out. All my tasks are nicely written on the paper. And with the spreadsheets, I get to stay on top of everything and not have to worry about mixing the progress with the wrong projects.

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