When it comes to being organised, it’s all part of the job for a Digital Producer. We are all a family of Monica’s!
Each of us have our handy little tricks for keeping our ducks in a row! What I’ve found over the years, is that this level of organisation starts to feature in my everyday life. If I could suggest a New Year resolution that’s a bit easier to keep, it’s to start thinking about your life like a Digital Producer thinks about their work.
Create a backlog
As a team, we always strive to have full sight of everything we want to achieve. By creating clear backlogs, not only can we prioritise things, but we can also better identify what pieces might be missing in the wider picture.
If you are as busy as the rest of us, your next 3 months could be looking pretty chocka! You need to sort that MOT, pack for your holiday, pay for that holiday (the worst bit), get nine blogs written for that personal site you’re always neglecting and, of course, visit the family.
Take a breath and then take these steps:
- Add them to a backlog list of things to do
- Put them in priority order
- Select a period of time you want to aim to get your top tasks done in and set these in a separate list, adding a realistic and achievable deadline
- Review that priority order throughout the period of time you have to do them. Things happen and change so you don’t need to feel like this list is set in stone! Being flexible and adaptable is key.
Having everything down and out of your brain is the first step toward keeping your cool!
To continue that level of calm, always be kind to yourself! In our studio, we always keep in mind what is possible, what is realistic, what is achievable - making sure to take new, unexpected factors and surprises into account as time goes along.
Unexpected invite to a birthday you can’t say no to? Take one of your goals out of your time-boxed list and put it back in the backlog. You can’t say yes to everything, so make sure to balance your list as you go!
The same goes for getting things done quicker than you expect. If you have finished all your items ahead of your set goal date, take some further backlog items into your list. It’s good to do the future you a few favours too.
Break it down
Another trick of our trade is segmentation. So, we already have a backlog and then a priority list with a date to aim for, but how can we chunk that down even further?
Taking your priority list and ‘moving’ items can help you to see how productive you are being. The most basic way to do this would be to have columns with:
- To do
- In progress
That way, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you can quickly see everything you have already started and done. Giving yourself a sense of satisfaction really does help you to stay on top of things!
The other side of this is with your tasks themselves. If you have a large task, such as packing for your holiday, break this down into smaller chunks; what you need to buy, what’s ready to pack and what you need to pack last minute.
This way, you will see more items in progress and in ‘done’ sooner, and you don’t have to wait to have done all of them to move to that beautiful done column! Be nimble!
Find the tools
Everyone’s way of thinking is different, so your tool should be something that you work well with. As Digital Producers, it makes sense that a lot of us will prefer something of a digital nature but some of our team still like to have a physical to-do list.
If you are in a digital team my top recommendation and starting point would be to try Trello. It’s a free system that allows you to create custom columns and cards that you can move along your columns without having to re-write them!
There are also a lot of additional free tools and features available to suit your needs such as reminders, a calendar view, colour coding and integrations. Basically, an organisational dream if you are looking for a free option.
If you like to keep it simple and offline, I can’t recommend enough having a wall or space in your home to do the same but with Post-It notes! Nothing beats being able to physically lift an item that has been weighing on your mind and walk it over to that ‘done’ column!
Taking all these tips on board...you could be just as happy as Monica is here!
We work in an Agile studio here at After Digital to allow us to better manage our time and workload. Read our blog to find out more about the Agile methodology and our stand up and sit down processes. It might just help you to be an organisation superhero!