Someone once said “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” True. Also morbid. And gross. Even for someone who prefers dogs. But the sentiment is accurate. People can tackle projects, solve problems and complete tasks successfully and through a myriad of ways, depending on their personalities, experience and approach. The same goes for keeping team members accountable, project work moving ahead and budgets in check. From online project management tools to spreadsheets to good old-fashioned to-do lists, you can manage work using a variety of tools.
On the other hand… someone also said “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And that, my friends, has been my approach to managing client and team work for the past 16+ years. While everyone at our award-winning, integrated marketing and communications firm will tell you that this old girl still prefers Word to Excel and an old-fashioned mouse to those new-fangled keyboard buttons and pads, I have come to embrace Excel for one very good reason—my weekly action plans.
So, how do I make Excel work for me, you ask? Well, through headers and colors and tabs oh my!!!
- Color Me Type A. I love to use different font colors and/or highlighting to indicate the status of projects so I can easily tell when something’s new, in progress, pending approval or complete.
- I Did It!!! Nothing pleases me more than being able to check something off my list. At home that means crossing out completed chores on my pen-and-paper calendar and planner. At work it usually means being able to move something over to my beloved Completed Tab. Done!
- Head’s Up. Headers that are “frozen” at the top of the sheet are another Have to Have and include things like: Project, Task, Person(s) Responsible, Deadline, Status and Notes.
The other key is being able to project these action plans for all the world to see and update them in regular team meetings, keeping everyone on task and accountable.
Tell me, what is your favorite way to keep yourself and your work organized and moving ahead?