These tips will get you through your crazy summer of big events and demanding customers

For most of us, summer is our busiest time of the year. The days are filled with order taking, customer complaints, driver issues and paperwork. You sit down at your desk fresh and clearheaded each morning, you blink, then it's 5 p.m. and you are ready to pull your hair out. 

On top of the normal day-to-day work, you have a constant flow of customer feedback coming at you from all angles. With more people only using smartphones these days, you no longer have just phone calls to deal with. You have emails, tweets, text messages and other social media messages that you can’t ignore. While all these means of communication may make life easier for your customer, it can make your life very frustrating.

This is why staying on task and organized is so important. Otherwise things get missed; then you are scrambling to catch up and keep your customers happy. That is why I’m sharing my five steps to surviving the summer craziness.

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This is how I get through each day without losing my mind:

  1. The minute I sit down at my desk each morning, I make a list of everything I know I need to get done. It sounds really extreme but I actually gather up any little lists or notes that I have lying around and compile them into a new list, which allows me to really get a grasp on what needs to be accomplished each day.
  2. After that I check my emails. I will probably end up checking them twenty more times that day, but it’s most important to check first thing in the morning. You never know what surprises are waiting for you, and with the crazy hours of event planners, there are always surprises. I then print all the emails that contain orders or paperwork I need to sign and organize them into piles on my desk. As the orders are completed, I throw out the printed email and I file the digital copy away in my inbox folders. That is how I know something is completed.
  3. Then I tackle the worst task first. This may be a really detailed special event order or contract paperwork that will require a lot of time and focus to fill out. When I ignore tough work I feel like I have a black cloud looming over me all day. Once these major tasks are done, my whole day seems a lot easier to manage.
  4. When in doubt, shut your door and minimize distractions. Silence your cellphone and put it away. It is really hard to put orders in your computer system when you are constantly being distracted. When I shut my door and no one is interrupting me, I am a machine.
  5. Keep a notebook with you at all times. This is how I keep track of phone calls and text messages, especially when I am away from the office. I page through my notebook all day long, checking that I have completed everything. When something is done, it gets a big black X over it. 
  6. At the end of each day, I make sure my desk is cleaned and organized. This means I know what needs to be completed the next day. An unorganized desk allows for things to get lost or missed. And nothing is worse than a call from an angry customer because you forgot about their order.

When the warm weather rolls around, you are so busy that eight hours fly by. Without staying organized I would never get all my work done. This is the best way that I have found to stay on task.

About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.

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What is your best tip for staying on organized during the busy portable sanitation season?

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