One of the first things I promptly forgot when I started my new job two weeks ago is to STAY ORGANIZED. A lot of information has been coming my way since day one and I haven’t been as vigilant as I usually am with putting things in their proper place, keeping track of correspondence, and writing down anything and everything that seems important to remember. Now, I’m not just throwing caution to the wind and taking each day as it comes, but my usual level of organization has been lacking.

In my current position, I work on academic journals and I keep track of correspondence between myself and authors, editors, typesetters, and many others who are integral to the publication of articles. I don’t believe for a second that my ways of staying organized are going to work for every person in every industry, by any means, but I thought I would share what I do in case it does help someone else out there! Below are the three things I adhere to religiously so that I stay organized, sane, and confident in the workplace:

  1. In my last job, I would keep a daily planner and write down my daily and weekly tasks and adhere to that religiously; in this new position, I don’t think a planner will work as well. Instead, I’m using a regular blank notebook to keep track of tasks, but I’ll also be using more Excel spreadsheets and databases to keep track of my work. Think about what you do each day and how you do it–what kinds of tools do you use? What do you think you can use (or stop using, for that matter!) to make your life better/easier/less stressful?
  2. Now that I have 2 years of experience at a different company doing similar work, I have at least a rough idea of what to expect in this new position in the coming months. My advice is, if you can, plan ahead for this; if you are given a task at work, think about similar tasks you completed at your previous position. What steps did you take to resolve a particular issue? How did you prevent problems from occurring? Usually, you can apply rough ideas to your current position and then revise as needed.
  3. Keep your email organized from the beginning. Maybe this sounds way too Type A, but I promise you will feel less overwhelmed and stressed if you don’t have 679 unread emails just languishing in your inbox. Create a few folders in your inbox to keep track of correspondence and delete unnecessary messages as soon as possible to cut down on clutter. This also makes it quick and easy to retrieve old correspondence regarding a particular job or problem.

Does this help? Or do you have different ways of staying organized?