How to Stay Organized in a Fast-Paced HR Department

You have 153 unread emails, 14 messages to return and 9 interviews to complete today. Welcome to Monday! How do you stay organized? Everyone has their own style of organization, no one has a full proof method or can boost being better than another. Blending technology and old school paper, I want to share with you how I keep my head straight (insert laughter here).

We all know that many HR departments are fast paced, frankly sometimes overwhelming, and if you don’t have any organization skills, it gets worse. These 7 tips have helped me stay organized.

How to Stay Organized in a Fast-Paced HR Department

Electronic Calendars

I keep two electronic calendars. Whatever format you choose, I schedule everything I need to get done in a day on my calendar, I make time even if it’s a 10 minute task. While I realize that things come up, keeping a calendar keeps me accountable. Why, two? I keep one for work and I share a calendar with my husband on our cell phones. If he adds something, it notifies me and vice versa. I am not our social planner.


Yes, old school paper and pen. I keep 3 bound notebooks at all times, first date of use on inside front cover.


You guessed it, only work related voice mails are tracked in this notebook. NOTHING ELSE! I cross them off as completed. There have been times when I am listening to a message and I have already talked to the person or completed the task. I write it down anyway and cross it off… who doesn’t like to the feeling of accomplishment?

Notes & Ideas

This is the notebook I bring to meetings, use when I talk to candidates etc. Easy one…


I track any personal items I need to accomplish in this notebook. From time to time in my life I have felt like my personal life has taken a back seat to my career. If I have the items documented, I can not only cross them off when completed but, it removes a slice of being overwhelmed. One thing at a time, written down, safe and out of mind… until after work that is.

As items are completed, I cross off them off and mark an “X” on the bottom right hand corner if each item on the page has been completed. When a notebook is completed, I toss into a drawer and hang onto it for one year.

Trusty Binder

Here is where I get really old school, my trusty binder, complete with page protectors! This binder is full of them items I need daily, if they are updated weekly or monthly I change them out. Basically, this binder is my work “Google”. Anything that I need at my fingertips is kept in this binder. When working on open positions or an ongoing project, I keep my notes of conversations, to do items or reminders directly on top of the requisition (on large post-its), job description or whatever I have as a “marker” for this task. For me this keeps all of my notes separate and together… Ready to go whenever I need them.


Email jail…. I 100% get bogged down in emails.  I do my best to flag for follow up if it can wait until the next day and respond to the ones I know that need immediate attention. At the end of the day, each email will either be flagged for follow up or completed. There is something about posting & planning for the next day that removes the sense of urgency and stress from my shoulders.

My system of sanity may seem a little crazy, it works for me. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed with the day to day or voice mails from 9 hiring managers at one time, try 2 notebooks…… #StartSmall

Jen Ray Fun Fact: I am fascinated by the Amish. Don’t take away my curling iron, I could never do it.

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Jen Ray, PHR

Jen Ray, PHR is professional relationship builder by day, general contractor by night. Her experiences come from the retail, financial services and banking industries. Outside of the office, you will find Jen remolding her home in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Connect with Jen.


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