May 24, 2016

Secrets of a CA Ninja

Organization, order, schedule…whatever you choose to call it, through personal experience, I’ve found that your method or lack thereof can help or hinder you. I try to be an orderly person, whether it pertains to items within the office or out of it. I track everything from monthly bills, to doctor appointments, even menus for holidays I host. And, I admit, I have a list for each holiday, from the napkins to every ingredient in each dish, dip, or drink! For me, documentation is the name of the game. Whether on the phone, calendar or desk, every appointment and/or due date is listed.

Where to start? Choose your favorite tool or tools. For me, it is not just one thing, and I need to see it to stick with it to do it. I utilize excel spreadsheets, to-do lists, and post-it notes; and I am a list and calendar believer! Here is a little on how I use them:


Every Monday at work, I create a new list. Incomplete items are at the top, but otherwise my to-do lists are in no particular order. As items come up, they are notated. I perform the most critical items first and then work-thru the rest. For me, I cross off as I go (this helps me see I am moving forward). This is a continually evolving and revolving list.


Urgency is the key navigator. I utilize the calendar for due dates. In this way, I see what is coming when and can prepare for it. With the calendar, I have longer lead times, know when crunch time grows near and when it needs to be out the door. Checking in with the project manager is a must on the day of a submission. With the check-in, I am updated on the time the submittal is due that day, find out if the date has changed, or if the dates have been cleared and we are awaiting further scheduling. I then update my calendar to match the information from the check-in.

This is my path to organization and how I keep track. It may not work for everybody, but it works for me. Everybody forgets something at some point, I know I do, but with the lists and calendars, I hope to keep that to a minimum. The trick to organization is that it has to work for you.

By Kelly Mahula, Senior Administrative Assistant (and Cleary Zimmermann’s resident Construction Document Administration “Ninja”)