Sticky Note Chic - I'm backsliding!

I was looking at the mounds of paperwork and projects sitting on my desk at work today and it occurred to me that, with my desk, if I were a leasing consultant, I'd be SO fired.

Seriously.  When you walk in our office, you can immediately tell who's workspace is who's.  My partner's things are all in semi organized, neat stacks and she can find what she is looking for in about three seconds.  Then there is my desk and computer monitor, which have recently given me the catchphrase, "I'll call you back in about 5 minutes!"

And if you think that's bad, you should see my closet at home!

It's true! My name is Heather and I am a truly disorganized Post It Note Addict!  If I don't have at least four different colors of them, I start getting the shakes.  My monitor is frequently framed in a beautiful collage of to do reminders and phone numbers I probably should put in to my computer.  I love my post it notes.  They make it easier to get information down quickly while I'm on the phone and they almost seem organized.  Almost.  But they aren't real organization.  And the trouble is... I know better!

If I walked in to a property management office and saw a desk in the leasing area like the one I sit at, I'd probably go in to convulsions right there on the floor.  Note that not only is my monitor ringed with notes of questionable age, but on the right side of said monitor there is a small pile of dirty cups.  I like soup and hot chocolate. Because I have a mostly private office and my clients/ candidates never see it, I get to eat at my desk.  Leasing consultants, you do not have this luxury.  Please be better than I am and take your dirty cups to the sink right after you're done using them.  Better yet, please don't ever eat at your desk!  Philly Cheese Steak is NOT a smell that sells apartments. (For a list of smells that sell, click here) 

When I worked on site, I had to really focus on my organization and order skills.  It was really hard for me not to have my projects piled on my desk, and I have to say my manager must have had the patience of Job because he'd constantly calmly remind me that I really needed to put my pile in a different place, or better yet, finish a project. Finally learning how to be organized helped me with this pile problem a lot.  I won't tell you it led to perfection and world peace, but it did make my life a heck of a lot less stressful. Here are some easy ways that I used to get organized:

Post It Note replacements -
If you can't use sticky notes responsibly, aka NOT sticking them to your computer monitor, then don't keep them in your desk!  A steno notebook, legal pad or even day calender with dated pages can easily replace post it notes and will keep all of your "notes to self" organized and neat, not to mention that when you need that phone number from the future resident who called three days ago, you can just leaf back and find it!

Binders-  I love the binders with the clear plastic that you can slip your own covers in to.  I made about 6 of these for my different areas of work such as one to track the Aged Del. reports, one for my Resident Events, one for Conflict Resolution Management, one for Resident Retention planning, etc.  I always had the resources I needed in each of my binders and when I'd find a new article or idea, I would record it in the binder or print it out so that it was there waiting.

Colored Pens-
  I found these super useful for writing things on my desk calender and knowing at a glance what I had going on that day.  I like the V5 precision pens or the RSVP pens, but pick what ever you like best, or what your budget can take.  Use one color to record Move ins, one for move out inspections, one for day to day stuff, one for tours, etc. 

Microsoft Outlook-
And I mean Utilize it to its full potential, not just check your email and put your birthday in it!  MS Outlook has some awesome tools if you take the time to learn them. Take the flagging system for example.  You can flag an email to a particular color and categorize them that way.  To top that off, you can set a reminder on that email to tell you when you need to resolve the subject matter by.  I live by MS Outlook reminders these days!  With Outlook, you can also take the desk calender off your desk and put it right in there, color coding everything and even leaving notes about what was discussed/problematic/etc.  There are tons of things this piece of software can do to make your life more organized and easier.

What else has worked in your leasing office to up the organization level?

P.S.  I'm cleaning up and organizing my office on Monday, so don't call me a hypocrite!

So awesome, I just have to share - I got to help someone!

Snow-ma-geddon Strikes Seattle! Where's the upside when the thermometer hugs the downside?