This guest blog post was written by Jackson Philip Cheevers.
I work as a Visual Merchandiser for a luxury fashion brand, covering the Northwest Territory of the United States. Work has me constantly on the move, covering seven locations across four companies in the San Francisco-Bay Area regularly each month and an additional eight locations in different states. This, coupled with many business trips, has my work and personal lives needing constant adaptability and attention. At all times I require a very specific and functional system of organization and time management. I do it in four very simple ways.
1. Organized Communication
Nowadays we all get inundated with messages from every part of our lives; shopping, travel, work, personal, social media, etcetera. Specifically my email was getting too hard to go through and for me to actually absorb any information.
Utilizing Gmail and their app, which allows you to access all of your accounts in one place, I created separate accounts for business, travel, personal, and shopping. This allows me to see clearly and not miss an important message in the deluge. Gmail also has an internal feature allowing you to sort messages automatically into different folders. For me this is perfect, allowing me to further separate and organize what emails go where, so I can not only see everything clearly, but also find things much faster. In addition (I know this is not for everyone) I have a cellular phone for business and another for personal. Besides creating a clear separation, I have the ability to turn off my work communication at the end of the day, and over the weekend. This truly allows me to leave work at work.
2. Take Things Week-To-Week
Traveling so much I realize how much extra there was in my life; extra time taken to get things ready, extra items brought along, extra trips that were unnecessary. If you take the time to sit down, get a rough outline for your month ahead, and then each Monday create a specific weekly agenda, one can start to see patterns better. As I started using this method of scheduling I began to see I was scheduling entire days for tasks that could easily be combined with others, freeing up more of my month.
3. Tackle the Longer, Harder Projects First
Certain work locations or projects that I have every month take much more time. By using the first workweek to 10 workdays of the month to take care of them, I have a much easier rest of the month, with wiggle room in my schedule in case something unexpected comes up. This also removes the threat of running out of time to complete said longer tasks. Those longer tasks may be the more unpleasant, but getting them out of the way early opens up a lot more time for additional work, or, as summer gets warmer, a chance to get outside more!
4. Have One Bag but Multiple Accessories
At the beginning of my current role I put too much effort everyday into my bag choice. I was switching bags and wallets almost daily to better match my look. This led to leaving things behind and a constant sense that I was always in a rush. I finally took the time out to find one bag in a neutral color to fit my needs. It contains all the necessary pockets for the items I need each day (two cell phones, digital camera, iPad, laptop, charging cords, writing utensils, wallet, the list goes on). I keep this bag packed constantly so I know I can grab it and go without ever forgetting something. Having multiple accessories, like additional chargers and smaller work-specific accessories (for me, seam rippers and tape measurers), left at my different work locations means I do not have to worry about forgetting things as often.
Overall, my approach is a basic desire to cut out clutter and streamline my approach to scheduling. This provides a complete and clear view of my tasks, goals, and what I can realistically hope to achieve from a day-to-day or a month long viewpoint. In the year I have been in my current position my productivity and sanity both increased dramatically by following the simple four steps above. As I continue forward, I will need to keep adapting and changing the way I organize myself. However, the tips above are constants that form a strong foundation on which I can always rely to keep my professional life in order. Plus, one of the steps involves shopping, which I can never resist!
About the Author
Jackson is a Visual Merchandiser working for an Italian luxury fashion brand, living in San Francisco. Growing up in Connecticut, spatial arrangement, home interiors, and fashion were all childhood interests that translated well into a degree in Visual and Communication Arts from Franklin University Switzerland. Jackson has been involved with a variety of opportunities including home staging, event planning, exhibition coordination, and visual merchandising. Currently, besides a very fast-paced career, Jackson enjoys to explore California, continuously rework his look, and constantly find new exciting ways to decorate his and his friend’s homes.