By David Pacheco

Your first job is challenging, sometimes scary but also very exciting. Your employer is now viewing you as an adult and is counting on you to be dependable. Being organized is crucial. Regardless if your schedule is flexible, for instance in a retail position, or if you have a Monday through Friday job, you’ll need to juggle your routine. This is referred to as time management. This is not only critical in the workplace but also helps you to juggle school, sports, friends, family events and work. Establishing a habit of good time management at this stage in your work life, you will be much more successful in the future.

To get started, use a calendar! This is essential. Chances are most places of employment will have some type of scheduling for work, but it won’t necessarily include projects and deadlines, and certainly not your personal schedule. It can be a large paper version calendar, a planner or even a calendar app on your phone.

Create a To-Do List. This list will help you prioritize the items and tasks that need to be completed on any given day. Let’s face it; given our choice, we will do the fun or easy stuff first.  Sometimes that does not leave enough time to do the essential things. This will also help to ensure you complete the tasks most important to your supervisor, you know, the one who evaluates your work performance. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you get to start checking off your projects. Those that don’t get done may now become a top priority for the next day.

A journal is another great tool. This helps to keep track of ideas you may want to present at the next business meeting, taking notes at meetings and just generally keeping track of things that worked or didn’t work. It also gives you the opportunity to look back at notes to refresh your memory.

One final tool to consider is a contact list. Keep all the important names and numbers on your list. This would be in addition to your place of employment directory. Your list should include work contacts, references, and others who can provide you with information or assistance. Also be protective of your contact list. This is your personal list and should not be shared. If someone needs the contact information, ask yourself first if your reputation could be damaged if you gave out that information.

If you start good time management skills early in your career you will find it immensely helpful down the road. Better organizational skills will help you shine above some of your co-workers allowing your supervisor to witness your dedication to the job, task at hand and potentially lead to promotions.

So, what are you waiting for? Right now, write now. Get out that calendar and To-Do list and get organized!