TagGTD

Move Your Thoughts to 2Do

I’ve never felt at home with task managers. Maybe it’s my life in customer support has never lent itself to task management. Maybe it explains why I’ve never lived my dreams and built the life I always knew I could™.

Did you catch the reference to the Wheel of Morality?

2Do is the first task manager I’ve used for more than a day. Something about it is very comfortable to me. Tim nails my feelings about it here (emphasis mine):

There is a lot to unpack with 2Do. I admit, it can be overwhelming at first, but it takes some time, testing, and use. I didn’t find 2Do useful the first time, but that’s because I didn’t sit down and figure out how to use it. It isn’t a program in which you have to fix your mindset to use it properly; it can be simple just like Reminders, or it can be complex like OmniFocus.

I use 2Do for the simplest of things, all around the house. But it works for me and it’s the first time a task manager has stuck with me at all.

Tim’s post featuring a snazzy epub version is a great intro to 2Do and explains how he uses it to get his work done.

It’s fun and friendly and taught me a few things. I highly recommend it. Go Move your thoughts to 2Do. You’ll be glad you did.

Getting Things Done in IT

I have the secret to planning out my day as an IT Support Technician. Stop.

Just stop. There is no amount of planning and scheming to make a day where the entire job is to respond to calls for help orderly. There is no Getting Things Done scaffolding to wrap my day in to make it better. There is no way I can have a tidy list of tasks and an order to them. It’s just not going to happen because the only constant is change.

I used to work for a print shop. It was my job to run copiers all day. I produced the customer’s print jobs and managed the queue of work. Every morning, I’d attend a daily planning meeting. We would go over the work we had in, the work we expected and set up a queue. We met every morning at 9am for about 30 minutes.

By 10am I had thrown out the plan because everything changed.

That is the life of a Customer Service Representative or IT Support Technician. (These jobs are the same.) no matter what the plan says, the overriding principle is to serve the customer. We are here to fix problems and make customers happy. And people don’t work on a schedule. They don’t care how many things you have to do or what you’re in the middle of or even how your day is going. When they call for help, we answer. Because that’s the job. That’s why we’re here.

I learned to top trying to plan out my day. There’s no system in the world that will bring order to the chaos of working with people. My failing wasn’t in not finding the right system, but in thinking any system would work.

How do you spend your day?

The idea of what people do all day has been rattling around my brain for weeks now. I am so curious how people spend their days at work. What do you fill 8 hours with?

Ever since I left college I’ve only had one type of job. I’ve either worked as a Desktop Support Technician ((The guy who comes to your desk when you have computer problems.)) or a Help Desk Monkey. ((The guy you call and report/complain your computer problem to. Hang up. Then curse at.))

Due to the limited scope of the work I’ve done, I have absolutely no idea what most people do for 8 hours a day. How does an Accountant spend their time? What does Human Resources do all day? The lawyers and other legal types, what do you do all day?

I’ve worked in retail and I’ve worked in a print shop so I have some limited experience with retail and sales jobs. But seriously, what do you do all day?

I am not trying to downplay or belittle what you do. I just don’t know what it is. I am curious.

I stumbled across this question because I’ve been thinking about how I work and how my days go. I have very little ability to plan out how a day will go or built breaks and time to work on pre-defined projects within the given day.

My day changes from hour to hour and sometimes minute to minute. I can have a couple of hours planned out or have a basic idea of what I want to accomplish before I go home. Then, a couple of seconds later a high priority ticket comes in, or a VIP call hits my queue, or a computer decides to die in the middle of a big deadline or an important meeting. ((For the record, computers prefer to commit suicide around 3:30pm on a Friday.))

Since my day is so fluid and I’m unable to plan an entire day out ahead of time let alone a week or multiple weeks. I am curious what consumes your days.

Can you plan a whole day out or a half day and are you able to stick to that plan?

Is your job fluid and changes moment to moment so you never plan more than the next task or the next few minutes?

Tell me, what fills your workday?

I am very curious to hear about your days. Please leave a comment, write me an email ((peroty@gmail.com)), or post to your blog and leave a link in the comments.

IT GTD?

Omnifocus beckons me. The idea of a robust system for managing tasks and projects is very appealing. the lure of being able to keep track of anything and everything in one central place is enticing. I think about how great that would be for work. I could keep all the projects and tasks I need to get done in their own little place.

Then I think, yes, that would be great. However, I’d have to invest the time to set up those little cubbies to place all the items I need to get done. I’d need to list the tasks. I’d need to have a relatively static list of tasks to assign and list. In short, I need to have some idea what my day will look like.

When I worked in print, we’d have daily production meetings to manage the jobs we had in-house and what jobs we expected to receive. By the end of the meeting, our plan was scrap paper. IT Support is the same way.

I can sit and plan out a very pretty list of tasks to carry out for the day. I can rank them and categorize them. I can sit down at my desk to start on Task 1… and a hard drive fails in the laptop of a reporter on deadline. Or malware infests the computer of a manager. Or my personal favorite, a new hire gets announced within 8 business hours of their start date.

Plan meet can. Into the circular file it goes.