Many project managers know how to stay organized in their physical space (you totally know the type—dust-free workspace, color-coded everything, no missing pieces. That’s kind of the project manager’s modus operandi).
However, your physical space is just half the battle. What about your digital space: your files, communication, inbox, documents? Ican be easier to look organized in your physical workspace than your virtual one. Those working alongside you have a much better view of your desk than your desktop, maybe making you more inclined to keep the former clean and neglect the latter.
But this, however, is completely unacceptable!
If the leader of the initiative isn’t organized, how can that leader expect her loyal followers to be organized as well? Without organization, total chaos ensues, and nothing is accomplished. So of course, the PM is going to want to be organized.
An organized digital life and workspace is key to executing your daily tasks as a project manager. In this article, we’re going to discuss the importance of being an organized digital project manager and how to go about doing it.
Benefits Of Staying Organized
Before we go into the nitty gritty of keeping digitally organized, we’re going to go over some key reasons why any digital project manager should be motivated to stay organized.
Lead By Example
As we kind of alluded to earlier on, your project team is always going to have their eyes on you. And while it may be easier for your coworkers to spot a messy desk, that doesn’t mean a disorganized desktop can’t ever be spotted. If you’re digital workspace isn’t organized, how can you ever expect any of your team members to keep theirs organized too? Once team members see their project manager living a disorganized digital life, they will have no incentive to organize their online workplace. It’s working for their leader, isn’t it? Clearly, it’s not.
If you keep organized your team members will too. In doing so, you’re cultivating an environment based on setting goals and achieving results. By keeping an organized office, you set standards for the rest of your team, and show them just how organization can help you all get stuff done.
Think about all the time you’ve spent scouring your inbox or Office suite for some missing email or file that you desperately need for a meeting in a few minutes. All that time spent looking for missing stuff like that is time wasted. In the specific example of last-minute document searching before a meeting or presentation, the time spent parsing through a messy file storing system could have been spent organizing your thoughts or going over major talking points.
Similarly, imagine sitting in on a meeting or webinar and having to pull up a specific file. Then all of the sudden, you freeze. You have no idea where this file is because you have no organization system in place. Furthermore, you’re not doing the best job looking for it, because you’re too nervous and distracted by all of the people watching you, waiting on you to find this file. Not only do you look disorganized and foolish, but you’re wasting everyone’s time, including your own.
The idea that disorganization is time wasted isn’t specific to your work environment. Wherever you are, life can go so much quicker and easier when you’re not worried about where you misplaced something. With a methodical organization system—whether it be your desktop folders or your spice cabinet—you won’t have to worry about wasting time trying to find what you’re looking for. All it takes is a few extra minutes to set up that organization system, and you’re set for much to come.
Use Dropbox and Dropbox Paper to organize your digital desktop and breathe easy.
How To Organize Your Digital Life
There are plenty of things you can do to organize everything that you may ever need to open on your computer. All of these organization strategies are quick and easy, and will set you on the path to staying an organized project manager that gets things done.
Meeting Docs On One Spot
Whether you’re speaking in person or via webinar, meetings often require jumping from one document or computer-aided design (CAD) file to the next. Save yourself and your team members the hassle of jumping from one tab to the next by having everything in one place. This way, you can look at a single webpage and see key features of a project meeting, such as which team members are present, future goals, and meeting minutes. Bonus points if you’re using cloud storage, because now you can access your file no matter where you are, or what device you’re using.
With everything all in one place, you will keep participants engaged in what you’re all discussing and the goals of the project you’re managing. This way, everyone will be more motivated to work harder and more efficiently.
Annotate, Annotate, Annotate!
Gone are the days of sending emails back and forth of the same doc. You’re probably very familiar with this type of exchange as a digital project manager. You and a team member are creating a massive email thread, each individual email pertaining to the smallest change made on a file.
However, this process is not entirely bad. You and your team are working like perfectionists, putting your best effort into everything you work out and doing everything in your power to make sure the final product is the best it can be. You’re also communicating, which is excellent, giving each other feedback on what you have contributed to the project.
This all is very important work, but it’s easy for it to get tedious when it takes forever. When you’re sending edits back and forth over email, the whole team might start to get disinterested in the project. Even if you’re trying your best to motivate your team members, the sheer length of this process might cost the project some quality.
But when you’re annotating shared documents at the same time, this entire process can be accomplished much quicker. These files can be shared instantly, and plenty of team members can view them at once. As soon as you’re on the file, you’re free to leave suggestions on specific features or highlight some excellent work your team member is doing.
Now that your digital workplace is organized, you and your team can work more efficiently on the current project.
What other questions do you have about organizing your life as a digital project manager? Let us know in the comments!
This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.