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Getting Organized

By Steve Jones,

Bob We are all busy people, or at least I am, but I assume that most of you have a lot going on in your lives and at work, and likely feel overwhelmed at times. The volume alone of email can be staggering and most of us don't deal with it in an efficient manner.

I saw this article on 10 Ways to Help Keep Your Job Under Control and I was thinking it would have advice, but it's really a bunch of software utilities that mostly seem to do with either email management in some way, project management, or just general organization. If you're thinking you need something to help manage your life, I'd flip through the list and see what you think.

I'm not the best time manager. I work in short slices, I try to deal with email when it comes in (as many of you can attest based on responses), and multi-task fairly well while jumping among the various things in my day. It's a somewhat scatter brained level of activity that I maintain pretty well and it suits the type of work that I do, short, discrete tasks. Not a lot of long-term projects going on here.

However those longer termed tasks are where I'm weakest. When I have to focus on something like a book, I struggle a bit maintaining my list of items to do. I tend to break things down until I have a short task and do that. Then I have to go find another task and remember to keep on top of them.

It's not the most efficient and I do drop the ball on things. I depend on my inbox and a few reminders to keep me going, but when my inbox gets to about 50 items, I start to miss things and get myself into trouble at times. I'm better about not deleing everything that's over a certain age, but it does happen at times. I tend to think that if I haven't worked on it in 60 or 90 days, I'm not likely to do it.

I know that managing your life is tough and it creates a lot of work. I also know my newsletter adds to the list of things that you go through, but I'm hoping that you give it 30 seconds and see if there's anything interesting. If not, delete it and move on.

I've been thinking about a list manager of sorts lately. Actually I just want a simple list of things I need to do and reminders to work on them. I don't want to have to put dates in there, but if I don't, then tickle me every 3, 4, or 5 days to remind me to work on it. Remember the Milk looks like it might be worth giving a try, so I think I'll give it a chance. I've never been much of a list person, preferring to worry about the 20 or 30 balls I can keep track of and letting the rest hit the ground, but lately with my wife traveling more and me managing more of the house, in addition to career, I'm thinking I need to keep track of a few more items.

It pays to stay a little organized, if nothing else than to show your co-workers and boss that you can be trusted to get things done and not forget items you've been assigned. And if you show you're tracking your projects and progress on items, you might just move up the ladder a little quicker and justify a larger salary next year.

You might even get inspired once you see just how many things you're getting done on a regular basis.

Steve Jones

PS: If you're thinking of attending the PASS Summit 2008 in November, and you should, be sure that you use the "SSC" registration code when you register. We'll have a great opening night party you can attend and you get $100 off your registration cost. Until April 30, you save an additional $700 off the full price with early registration.


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