Maybe you got a promotion, maybe you won the lottery, or maybe you just aren’t able to continue working. At some point, every editor will have to pass a project on before it is done. The time to start planning for someone to take over is right now. Here’s how to go about it.
Keep Working Notes
At the top of my live documents, I have listed the tasks that still need to be done in the file. It is a reminder for me—especially useful when I am working on many projects and waiting for replies to queries—but it can also be used by the person who takes over under dire circumstances. Such a list might look something like this:
- Continue reading level check from “start here”
- Check references
- Place codes
- Check heading styles
- Reread AU:
- Check highlights and xx
I mark this using the highlighting tool, so that anyone who opens the file will know that text is not part of the manuscript. You could put the list in a comment bubble for extra protection, but those are easier to miss.
Sort Files and Maintain Version Control
When someone opens your computer, will they know where to find the files you are currently working on? Yes, there are search features to find the most recently opened files; but a busy editor will have opened hundreds in the last week. Aside from putting something in your file names such as WIP, for “work in progress,” you might sort your files into folders such as these:
- [Title of project] folder
- Live files
- Originals folder
- Dead files (earlier versions)
- Product profile documents and resources
Keep Prominent Shortcuts
Place shortcuts (aliases) to all the current projects on your desktop, or list them in the favorites bar of the file browser on your system. Having all your important work rate as in the open might make a security expert panic, but some sort of system is necessary if your projects are going to continue without you. Give that executor passwords or whatever other details they need to carry out the duties you have assigned them.
Last week we talked about the idea having a business executor who is prepared to sort through your work when you need to stop working; read more in our series about succession planning. Would someone be able to pick up your notes and finish the project you are working on? How do you prepare for succession? Log in to leave a comment, or join the discussion over on Facebook or Twitter.