You might not think it glancing around my office at the piles that have amassed recently, but I’m a highly organized person. In fact, I thrive in an environment filled with to-do lists, digital calendars, and reminders. Being detail-oriented has been one of my most useful skills throughout my career because it works for me regardless of what I’m doing. Even personally, with so much to manage, being cognizant of all the details of everyone in my family’s lives, makes things way more manageable.

This love of details and need to keep things organized helps me professionally complete projects correctly and on time. It fits nicely into a marketing career since project management can be a major component to one’s position, since you don’t often do just one thing at a time. Having methods to stay organized has proven to be compulsory to success.

I find that timelines and schedules work the best for me to ensure no detail gets left behind.

Timelines work best if you work backward from a project’s due date. Working backward enables you to get each component of the project done in an appropriate timeframe. Once I’ve set up my timeline, which typically consists of mini-deadlines, I move on to scheduling.

I keep my schedule straight using multiple tools, but primarily, everything goes into my spiral-bound, weekly organizer. This way I can see all the items I might have to do on any given day, adding in a specific project’s responsibilities to coincide with the deadlines I’ve created in my timeline. For example, this week I have a high volume of writing projects I need to work on. One project is due at the end of the week, the other is due the week after but I need to start working on it now. I also have to clean my house. Using my schedule allows me to meet this week’s deadline, begin work on my next project, and make sure I have enough time to clean the house without any stress or worry. I even scheduled time to write this blog post.

Also handy to use for scheduling purposes are a calendar and reminders. I use my calendar to block off large chunks of time when I need to work on something specific. That way I don’t accidentally double-book myself. I use reminders for the little things I might need to quickly do during an otherwise busy day. If I need to schedule an appointment or run a quick errand between working hours, setting a reminder helps me get that item done at the best time of day. My calendar and reminders are both digital so they pop up on my phone, tablet, and computer.

I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a lot going on, pulling me in multiple directions, but my love for lists has saved me from the stress of accidentally letting something slip through the cracks. Taking the time to focus on the details, keep organized, and keep track of everything in your own way can make you a more productive and successful individual personally and professionally.