Today I’d like to talk about productivity hacks and tips that I have come across over the years. If you do not know already, I am a big productivity geek. I subscribe to the philosophy of Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. I have read countless things from Merlin Mann and other prominent productivity experts coming across a lot of things over the years.
I’d like to talk about something that is extremely important to getting things done. That is showing how you can be reliable and you’re going to do the things you say you’re going to do. Let’s say you are in a meeting and a lot of things are being discussed. So, let’s say Suzie says, “Can you do this Adam?” You say yes, but do nothing. You think that you will make a mental note and complete the project later. You are well-intentioned, but you are asked something after the meeting by someone else and you quickly forget to do what was originally asked by Suzie. Phone calls, emails, etc. come in and by the time the day is over, you go home and have forgotten to do what was needed by Suzie.
Suzie will have to follow up with you and then you remember that you haven’t completed the project. This means that you become one of those flighty people that others will not look upon you positively for. They’ll slowly begin to realize they can’t rely on you to complete projects. Thankfully, there are ways to get around these scenarios. It’s about taking on a personal project management system.
One of the first steps to creating a personal project management system, you must consider a system. A system will have an input, it processes things, and have an output. To remember everything, you need to get the information into the system. Create an input where you are adding the minimal amount of info to remember what you need to do.
Let’s say in that meeting Suzie asked you to install software on the server. Instead of making a mental note, make a note on your smartphone or a notepad to remember the project. Make a small note so that you have a reminder to actually complete the project. This is known as the capture phase.
Find a quick capture system in order to capture tasks you need to complete. Once you have a system down that works for you, then you can take time each day to review your notes, knowing what you need to work on. You can then create a schedule of sorts or timeline in which you will complete the projects you have been asked to do.
Have a routine time to review the captured info. In David Allen’s books, it’s about the weekly review. You’ll want to touch base with the projects that you need to do so that you can look at the info and prioritize based on what you need to get done over the coming weeks.
In the IT industry, work is done at a fast pace. We are constantly switching and multi-tasking between things. It’s all about getting things done, so you basically need reminders so that you can complete projects as they are due. You are also relieving your brain. Keeping things in your head can lead to frustration and a feeling that you have so much stuff to do.
By writing down what you need to do and having notes, it takes the stress away from your brain and creates an order to things. When you have a jumble of information in your brain, you can easily become overwhelmed and not know where to begin with the tasks you must complete. By creating a quick-capture system, you will have the information at hand, in one place, ready to review when needed.
Overall, the goal is to create a quick capture system that works for you. If you have a smartphone with you at all times, find an app or notepad option that will allow you to make notes that you can review later. Add names, dates and a small note of info so that when reviewing, you know when the project is due and what you need to get done. It is amazing how just this small amount of organization can help to create a better flow of work activity and help you to become someone that those in the office rely on.
If you notice that you are forgetting to complete projects or tasks for co-workers, implementing this system will be helpful. Try using your smartphone or even a notepad that you carry with you to create notes for projects to see how you are betting able to provide assistance to co-workers without forgetting what you have been asked to do.
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