Adam Moskowitz, an independent systems and network architect in the Boston area, is quick to share what keeps him on track. And no, it’s not a particular management software nor is it even electronic. A small, hand-held notebook is his tool of choice.
“What I tell people is that if you don’t see me write it down, assume I never heard it. E-mail works too, but I sometimes even copy e-mail into my notebook. There’s something about the act of writing something on paper by hand that helps you retain the information.”
Moskowitz knows what works for him. What works for you?
These four strategies can benefit every IT professional in keeping up with the fast-pace of today’s world of technology.
- Begin each day with a plan
Spend the first thirty or so minutes of every day creating a schedule that will keep you on task. The busier the day, the more critical the plan. The busier the day, the greater the urge to dive right in, skipping over the time to plan. Resist that urge.
- Begin with the end in mind
Set aside a couple of minutes before every call, task, meeting, presentation, discussion to establish the result you hope to attain. Jotting this determination on paper or committing it to memory will, for starters, identify what success will look like, so you’ll know when you’ve arrived. Likewise, spend a couple of minutes accessing the outcome to determine if you achieved the desired result.
- Expect interruptions
The best-laid plans come up against unexpected interruptions so often they can hardly be called “unexpected.” Keep your cool, re-assess the situation, and adjust your schedule accordingly. It’s wise to leave a bit of “down time” here and there to accommodate the intrusions that will undoubtedly try to disrupt your day.
- Give yourself permission to be unavailable
Our always-on society often has trouble disengaging from the world around us. However, tight schedules and mandatory deadlines call for a willingness to unplug and retreat behind closed doors to meet our responsibilities. It’s perfectly acceptable to use any number of “do not disturb” messages to guard your time. An automatic email reply that notifies the sender to expect a delayed response; a voicemail indicating that you will respond to the call after a specific time; an actual “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the office door. It’s okay to be unavailable.
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