Why (and How ) You Should Stay Organized in A Marketing Job
People these days think of the title “secretary” as a dirty word. Walk into a corporate headquarters and ask for the “executive admin” or the “administrative assistant” and you’ll be pointed in the right direction; but make the mistake of asking for the secretary and you’re suddenly the disrespectful patron.
Why does the job title of “secretary” carry a negative connotation? Because it’s associated with busy work – organizing papers, taking calls, typing up notes, fetching coffee and water, etc. But as menial as these tasks are, they’re critical to just about every single job in existence.
The marketing world consists of one of the most creative communities of any metrics-based community. As you might know about creative types, they’re generally not very organized. Ask a creative person for a drawing, a headline, an idea and you’ll have one in minutes; ask them to find the pen you lent them and it may be a few days before they find it. Because of this, it’s more important for marketers to work hard on learning good secretarial skills. If you can’t keep track of what work needs to be done, then your marketing skills will never have the chance to shine.
So how does someone who is messy by nature get started on their path to organization station? Use these tips to go from slob, to secretary, to marketing superstar.
One great secretarial (and life) skill that is often overlooked is the ability to take good notes. It’s one thing to write down what’s on the board in your college classes, it’s another to quickly jot down what’s being requested of you from your boss during a fast meeting. If you haven’t yet developed a system of note taking that works for you, getting all the information you need to do great work is challenging.
Don’t think that simply listening during calls or meetings and writing things down later on is the same thing as taking great notes. Sure, you might be able to write down a few lines word for word, but chances are you’ll forget at least one or two key elements and have to embarrassingly ask someone to repeat what they said earlier. When it comes to note taking, better safe than sorry – write down everything that could be of any importance right when you hear it.
If your handwriting is illegible or you don’t want to waste paper, make sure you have an electronic device on you at all times. Whether your preferred note taking mechanism is a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone, keep your notes open at all time so that you don’t waste time waiting on Microsoft Word to load. There are also great free and paid downloadable apps for taking notes that you can get for your phone or tablet (though Evernote is by far my favorite option).
A simple to-do list may seem like a somewhat primitive way to managing tasks in today’s high-tech world, but it is easily still one of the most effective ways of staying up to date on your work. When everything that must be done in a day, week, or month is written or typed out in front of you, it’s hard to forget about a specific task.
Each morning, I write myself a new to-do list of tasks, making sure to add any tasks that weren’t completed the day before. Not only is it a helpful way to stay on track, it’s a nice way to ease into my work every morning and get into the right mindset. Also, it’s a really satisfying feeling to cross a difficult task off of your list once and for all.
Again, if pen to paper just isn’t your thing, there are a multitude of checklist apps for you to check out. From Astrid, to Todoist, to Remember the Milk, try out a few of these apps before you settle in on which works best for you.
Even if your office is small like mine, email can be a huge lifesaver in terms of storing and saving information – if you’re using it properly, that is.
Instead of simply telling someone about a task that they need to do, document it in an email and send it to everyone who’s involved in the project. This way, everyone is up to date on where your project stands. Also, if anyone (including yourself) has questions about what they need to do, they can simply refer back to your email to read exactly what is expected of them.
I’ll warn you – when you send a lot of emails, you risk earning a reputation as that person in the office who communicates a little too much a little too often. In my humble opinion though, it’s totally worth it. They might make fun of you now, but when they need to remember an important piece of info that you added to an email later, they’ll thank you.
So you’re taking notes, checking off your to-do list, and sending emails; that’s great, unless you’re not labeling things properly. Making sure to title and date your notes, to-do lists, and emails in a way that helps you find them in the future is really important. After all, what use are your great notes if you can’t ever find them?
When you label things, make sure that you use consistent titles to make things easier on yourself. For example, if you’re sending several emails about my company, Inbound Marketing Agents, don’t flip flop between calling us Inbound Marketing Agents and IMA. When you stick to one style every time, searching for emails and important notes will be quicker and more efficient.
Be sure to do this with documents on your computer as well. If you’ve downloaded the free Apple upgrade to Mavericks on your Mac, make sure you’re utilizing their new Tags tool in Finder. This simple tool will revolutionize the way you store data. If you’re not yet familiar with the Tags tool, give this quick article a read and get started tagging!
How do you stay organized in your inbound marketing job?
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