Beware the Lure of Process Automation

When I see folks working hard at a repetitive task, using technology tools like spreadsheets, databases, and other "productivity" tools in a less-than-optimal way, I like to call them out as not being lazy enough. That always gets their attention - it's a bit counter-intuitive, as they masterfully fly over the keyboard to tweak the data, move the files, look up the information, or clear the inbox in the shortest time possible. I think that we should be "lazier" by…

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Four tools to bridge from Raw Productivity to Sustainable Results

I've noticed a definite trend in the "best practices" wing of the Productivity building; it goes by many names and takes on a few different forms, but the idea is rooted in a few simple concepts: Focus on the Critical Few: Multitasking does not work - plan for doing three things per day, and allocate your time accordingly Done is Better than Perfect: Learn to recognize "good enough", perfection is the enemy of progress. Ignore Details Early On: Get a skeleton out…

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Hidden Gold in Automating Recurring Processes

Here's a typical IT scenario: each quarter, you need to check audit user access to a critical application. Your internal security standards require that you revoke access for those who haven't been on the system for over 90 days. I've seen this before, and the process (at the time) had many challenges: It's manual; we did a quick-and-dirty set of steps years ago to cover the minimum requirements, that involves extracts from application logs, file transfers MS Access and MS…

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To print or not to print? Depends on the life span of the content …

I've been (correctly) picked off as having an electronic preference for communications. Please don't hand me a printout - send an ecopy of that document, PowerPoint, project plan, whatever. PDF is ok, but original format preferred. Why do I like to gather information in an e-sorta way? Paper stacks up on my desk, fills up my file cabinets - it just gets in the way Paper is not searchable - I like to google my private knowledge base with Copernic…

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Coaching for the day – some basic time management skills

Most folks will tell you they are woefully short on resources, with way too many requests / tasks / todos coming their way. It's seems to be a tough thing for folks to Just Say No to all the ad hoc requests that come their way. Same thing goes for the mythical "written requirements" for programming / technical requests; it is much easier for folks to wave their hands and describe what they need, and it's generally easier to listen…

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