There's always a lot going on when planning a meeting. "To Do" lists work great. For me, if I don't write it down, it doesn't get done. This goes for both small and significant things. Think about it. If your BlackBerry didn't remind you about your appointments, would you remember them?
This also works for personal things. I write down when to pick up the dry cleaning. Otherwise I drive right by day after day until I wake up one morning and only have a tank top to wear. (Um, sorry but I don't have neckties to go with that.)
Write it on a To Do list and as you complete tasks you'll see the progress you're making, even as you add items to your list. Plus, fewer things will fall through the cracks.
To Do lists can be on paper, smartphone or computer. I tend to use my smartphone (which I sync to my computer) so that I can use the alarm as a reminder.
For larger or more involved meetings, I prefer Excel. I can be more specific, assign staff, keep notes and get an overall view of where things stand. If it's really complex, you can even use color coding. It's also easy to share with others.
Staying organized is paramount for meeting planners. For some it's a challenge and for others it's natural. If you find it difficult, try the To Do list method. Even if you decide to go with the ol' three-ring binder, it's better than forgetting something important or having something fail.
How do you stay organized?