In the last post, I stressed how important it is to adopt (or in my case, feign) a detail-oriented work style as a young PR professional. One of those things I wish someone had spelled out for me: “You. Will. Not. Survive. If. You. Can’t. Remember Master. The. Details!”
But in keeping my promise to return with some organizational tools, I realized that I don’t use a ton of tools in getting everything done and handled in an organized way. I generally just beat my head into a wall when I mess up, and then write everything I need to do everywhere until it gets done – and then I cross it off triumphantly. But if you are more organized than I am about being organized, here are some tools that can help.
- Remember the Milk: My colleague, Lindsey, said it best when she declared in an organization training we had at LaunchSquad, “‘Remember the Milk’ has changed my life!” It keeps your list of to-dos handy so that you can keep track of deadlines for all of your tasks. It’ll tell you when something’s overdue, and let’s you know when you’ve got time with other tasks. It can also be a desktop application or it can live in your email so that you have your list right there to reference as you finish up your work.
- Google Docs & Spreadsheets: Perfect for collaborative projects, tracking revisions, formatting bulleted content within emails, keeping track of large amounts of data, tracking coverage activity that you’ll need to have handy on the fly. And they’re completely searchable if you’re looking for a rarely-used document or spreadsheet.
- Google Alerts: Part of being on top of the details, is knowing what’s going on in your client’s industry. For the most part, they’re very good for staying on top of industry news, cleint/competitor coverage. I use them mostly, though, as reminders to pitch (and great sources for finding targets). Using smart keywords, you can find some great authors and publications that are perfect for your clients.
- Desktop “stickies”: I use these to keep account logins handy (ie: Marketwire login info, internet access account logins), client contacts and dial-ins for status calls, directions for releasing announcements onto the wire, client codes for billing – and of course songs/artists that I heard on Pandora that I want to remember to download. All in one place.
- Jott: Great for notes/tasks on the go. Simply speak either into their iPhone application or you call a number and then it transcribes what you say into tasks. Set it up to email or text people for you – it connects to Google Calendar and Remember the Milk, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.com etc. It also has an adobe air desktop app.
- Evernote: I use Evernote’s clipping function for visually referencing competitors’ web-pages, important graphics, client coverage hits so that I can easily decide which clips are most visually stimulating. The tagging feature makes search functionality is very effective.
Just some pointers for the (recovering) detail-ignorant like myself.
*Photo courtesy of Details Magazine.