I started a new job last Wednesday, which means that I’ve spent the last week inundated with new information. Much of that is job-specific, but there’s also a whole lot of general information – where the printer is and how to print, how to book conference rooms, conference call phone numbers, email distro lists, etc.
Since I got my computer as I was meeting with the person I was training with, I quickly opened up a Microsoft Word document and started taking copious notes. It didn’t slow down from there. By the end of the day, I had a solid 6 pages written, along with links to at least two dozen other documents and websites. And it was all jumbled together.
In a fast-paced environment, it’s tempting to think that you don’t have time to step back and get organized – the email keeps piling up and the information is coming in faster than it can be organized!
The single best thing I did was to take a few hours and set up all my systems and tools properly.
Start how you plan to continue.
If you don’t take the time to get set up right, your chances of going back and doing so quickly diminish. (Although, it’s never too late – now is better than tomorrow!)
I created a new Evernote account specific to the job. Why this never occurred to be before, I don’t know, but it’s brilliant. I don’t need to have all my personal info combined with my corporate work info – I can have two accounts!
I got shared file folders setup (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc).
I created folders in my email.
Hot Tip: Create the same folder structure across all your tools – Evernote, shared file drives, email, etc. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out how and where you filed something!
Suddenly, the information was still flowing in at the pace of a fire hose, but was so.much.more.manageable with a system in place. I could quickly find information that I knew I’d heard, but didn’t remember (what’s the printer again?!).
Having a framework in place makes anything and everything you do easier, more efficient and allows you (and me!) to do a better job in a shorter timeframe.
I may still be looking up information that I’ll know in my sleep next month, but I can find it quickly when I need it!
Now, time to go tackle that email again!
Do you need to step back and put an overall information structure in place? If you’ve already got a great one, what’s one tip you have for the rest of us to improve our organization?