Organize the Incoming

overwhelmed by infoDavid Allen, a time-management expert, states that we all know that a computer is a powerful tool that can make our work easier, faster and more efficient–but few of us are realizing these objectives.  Why not? We don’t achieve our goals for the same reason we can’t find the television remote or our car keys.  We are human and most of us don’t actually organize our work and/or follow that organization all the time.  Most of us spend approximately one third of our time just trying to find our “lost things” even if they are on the computer. This is especially true for computer workers who share data and processes with co-workers.

David Allen also points out that in this world of instant communication, it is important to minimize our access points. The ultimate triumph would be to channel all of our incoming information to one source. Then we would have only one stream–one conveyor belt of information–to handle. Of course we recognize that this is an impossible goal and most of us are handling multiple incoming channels: email, other software (sometimes multiples), phone, text, tweets, Facebook, boss or co-working standing in our office, alerts, reminders, alarm clocks, baby crying in his crib (or in her car seat). Sometimes it’s so overwhelming, we need a spa day!

So how can we get some control over all this incoming stuff? The first step is to limit our own organization systems.  It would be ideal if we had one system where we could store all of our to-do lists, all of our important documents and reference materials, and be able to prioritize all of it. What we need is:

  • A project management system that allows us to send and receive email and store it all automatically with links to our various projects, processes in the project, or to our contacts.
  • A project management system that includes full-text search and even stores it all in SQL Server so that we know all the data will be backed up on a regular basis.
  • A project management system that organizes our files and keeps track of all file revisions–a system that presents us with the latest version while at the same time allowing us to quickly find the older versions.
  • A project management system that sends an alert when events are coming up or are overdue.

Gee!  Looks like I need the Spitfire Project Management System so that another milestone or important task doesn’t sneak up on me!

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