One of my closest friends from grad school is a P and I’m a J. No, those aren’t our initials and this isn’t one of those games where “I like apples and the color green, but not lemons or the color blue.” The letters are part of our MBTI code and don’t worry, this is not an entry about the MBTI. No matter how many MBTI activities I have to facilitate to RAs and student leaders, I do not feel qualified enough to write one of those.
I’m just writing to talk about how my J-self organized my office for the upcoming year. Sometimes, I contemplate starting a side career as a life planner/organizer/manager. Several of my friends have asked for my help and I’ve given it free of charge, now all I need is a testimonial from one of them and a wealthy but disorganized individual…
Back to the subject. See, I need to be organized because I clearly have the attention span of a golden retriever in a field of squirrels. I’m very much a list maker, a calendar lover, and a color coder. I love being able to take a glance over at my calendar and know exactly what is going on because of the colors. I love being able to cross off tasks after I’ve completed them – it makes me feel accomplished! So what sort of organization systems have I implemented here?
I use my Google calendar and my pen-and-paper planner constantly. The important part for this is choosing a system that works for you. I like Google because of the ability to share, the many choices of color coding, and the tasks option. I also have my planner that I can write important tasks that need to be done, like going to the store or sending a birthday card. Additionally, I recently ordered a four month dry erase board calendar. I plan on using this to map out the entire semester so I can make sure major projects aren’t running into each other and that I’m not try to schedule a major event during midterms or homecoming. I bought many colors of dry erase markers so I can bring some color coding to my walls!
Keep Everything Together
I made a list of all the function areas that I will be working in and made a binder for each of those. They all have a section for important dates as well as project sheets which basically details what I want to do and when I want it done by and provides a place for me to take notes. I also made an “About the Staff” section that includes little profile pages for each of my staff members, so I can access things like their major and birthday quickly. For the buildings I supervise, I made sure to include a section for facilities issues and the building’s roster. I’m sure as the year goes on, I will find more sections to create and will be designing more printables!
I make lists for everything. I’ve seen a picture going around that says “1. Make List 2. Cross Off #1”. I can totally relate to that. There were days in grad school where I’d do something, then add it to the list just to be able to cross it off. The other day, I found myself getting overwhelmed by the amount of project sheets in my binders. Every time I come up with a (brilliant) idea, I create a project sheet for it and assign it a “due date”. Some of these things aren’t “due” until the beginning of next semester, but others are things I have been working on since my first day here. I went through each binder and all the projects that were “due” before the school year started and basically made notes in one place saying what the project was, where I was on it, and what else needed to be done. For some of these, the “what next” was replaced by “next steps” just because of the amount of things that needed to be done and because certain aspects couldn’t even be started until I finished something else. Creating this list and breaking larger projects into smaller ones was a way of making my work manageable for me.
How have you implemented your organization skills in your office? Please let me know below, I’m always looking for better ideas!