Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Planning My Days

While my job title is Writer/Editor, I'm a project manager at heart. I can manage a heavy workload without missing deadlines because I'm a planner.

But in this job--where I manage and implement marketing communications for three large conferences--I've been struggling with finding the best planning tools and strategies.

I always keep a master list of all my major project milestones sorted by priority, with descriptions and due dates. From that I create daily to-do lists in my Franklin Covey planner. But what's been missing is the big picture of seeing how work on all three conferences overlaps. I've toyed with MS Project (hate it!) and Excel, but they don't do the trick. I love MindManager for really going deep into a single project, but I wanted more of a calendar view. So I spent my morning creating this!
I used the calendar templates in Word to map out my days from now until mid-October. I noted major milestones and dates when I'm out of the office, and then made notes each week on what I'll be working on so I can see how everything overlaps.

This brought me great joy to see my workload for the next seven months at a glance. (OK, I realize I'm a geek.) I was able to shift project deadlines to accommodate deadlines with more priority, and also shared it with my supervisor to note where I think we'll need more help.

If you're looking for a tool to see a global picture of how big projects overlap, I'd recommend this simple strategy using Word's calendar templates.

PS: I also realize that the fact that I'm blogging about this makes me an even bigger geek.