If you know me, you know I work full-time as the Vice President of Marketing for a youth lacrosse events and education company. Many people think of sports and define them to a specific season – lacrosse, for example, club tournaments happen in the fall and summer. But at our company we work year round which requires me to always be a couple steps ahead. Believe it or not, my team and I are currently working our our theme for Summer 2021 (yes, not this upcoming summer, the one after that!) because we will open registration as soon as the summer 2020 season ends. In addition to both the boys and girls Summer 2021 launch we are also in the process of launching our spring programs, summer camps, and gearing up to launch Boys Fall 2020 events and Winter 2021 events. We plan all of this in our slower season so when we are in season we can focus on the operation side of running events.
My job is to oversee and facilitate these launches and to make sure we’re hitting our deadlines which sometimes can be a beast – especially when you’re working on 4+ simultaneously! Outside of work, I also have two school-aged children who have just as a demanding schedule with homework to complete, lunches to be made, and occasional fights being broken up over who gets to be Elsa or Anna.
Staying on top of things and being organized is a huge part not only of who I am as a leader, but also as a person! I wasn’t always this way. The fresh-out-of-college version of me was a seat of the pants kind of girl who didn’t rely as heavily on her planner as she does now. It took a lot of self discipline to make sure I was prepared so if you’re reading this and possibly scrambling to come up with a plan to get organized in 2020, here are some tips that helped me.
PLAN IN ADVANCE
Every Friday before I leave the office, you will see me with a pen in hand and writing in my planner. I include all my meetings for the following week, which ones I’m responsible for running and creating agendas for, my deadlines, and all my personal items as well so I can create daily to-do lists and prioritize. There’s nothing worse than not being prepared for a meeting in my mind. You’re not just utilizing your time for these meetings, you’re taking other people’s as well so to me, being able to plan and gauge what their questions are in advance are huge for me. I use a ban.do planner which is available on Amazon depending on how much of a jumpstart you want to get on getting organized.
But Kaela, you can just put it all in your phone!
Thank you! I do! I have everything on my phone and written down. Writing down helps me remember things. Seeing it digitally helps me visualize it.
DON’T DO IT ALONE
Like my planner, you’ll also see me using Slack and Trello to communicate with my team and come up with our to-do lists. Since we work remotely sometimes in the “off season,” it’s important our communication stays open. I couldn’t imagine trying to read some of my colleagues to-do lists, let alone my own so I really appreciate systems we can all jump into and work from. All our files live on a Google Drive so it’s easy to take over a project if someone is unable to.
USE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
I know this sounds silly, but hey, for me, it works. My significant other once told me to “just get a planner. They’re all the same.” My jaw dropped to the ground because… well, he’s wrong! I have specific needs and organizational qualities I like in my planner. I like note space to jot down my monthly goals, enough space to write about my spin class, volunteering for kindergarten, and all my deadlines. Some people don’t write as much as I do in their planners but it helps me stay accountable for what I’m working on.
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
What works best for me, may not work best for you. You might be a pro at keeping your life laid out all online or you might be a maniac and be able to mentally store it all in your mind 😉 I’m always interested in what processes people put in place to stay organized because we can all get wrapped up in the things to get done or the lists never seem to get smaller. I think the best reason to share your resources is in the hopes that you may be helping someone else who doesn’t quite have it all organized… yet!