Friday, January 11, 2013

Sometimes Doing it Old School Works Best

The truth is, I'm really bad at keeping track of the things I have to work on, things that I have worked on, deadlines, etc. I've tried to utilize apps and programs of all kinds as well as notebooks and sticky notes. Nothing seems to be very effective for me. But, I think I've finally found my solution. While I'm only two weeks in, it's been far more successful than anything else.

My problem with programs and apps is that I test programs and apps so I almost always have my work up on my screens. And I'm a window maximizer. I don't like having four or five things showing on one computer screen. So in order check my To Do list or record an activity, I have to switch from my work to something else. That may seem trivial but for my simple mind, it's apparently very disruptive. Consequently, I've been using a notebook because for me, I don't have nearly the same level of mental disruption to scribble something down quickly. Notebooks, however, get to be very messy and disorganized.

My solution: an appointment book. It's not just any appointment book but it's also not an extraordinary book either. What I have is actually a weekly calendar. The left page has 6 rows for each day (Saturday and Sunday share a row) and the right page is just a ruled page for miscellaneous notes. My particular system is to have a two columns one each day. The left column is my To Do list and the right column is my Accomplishments list since planned vs. actual is almost never the same. The ruled page is there to note information I want to keep handy for the week not for keeping notes during testing. The book itself is hard covered which makes it usable away from the desk. It also lies flat and open so it's easy to reference no matter what I'm doing.

The moral of the story is, if one method doesn't work for you, try another until you find the one for you. And the best solution might not be the most technologically advanced, which is okay. So far, this has been working really well for me, which I think my boss @kelleykoehler is very happy about, perhaps an appointment book like this would be helpful for you too.