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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Web Tool Wednesday: Where Do I Begin?

The amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task. This is called Parkinson's Law.Over the years, it amazes me how often I think that there is no way to get everything done that needs doing only to accomplish the tasks in the time specified. We are all capable of exceeding our own expectations. It takes effort though. Rather than thinking "I don't have time to do that" consider thinking "I have done more with less in less time". More often than not, we can almost bend time just by changing our approach to the situation. Well, that and some hard work and the right tools.

Most of my day to day work is done on a computer in an office. So my tool is the PC I am typing this on. With my PC, I have access to several sources of parts breakdown information as well as access to manufacturers to check availabilities and order statuses. I also monitor and post on our several social media outlets, such as this blog, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. I use Google News, and Feedly to keep me up to date with current events. And I keep notes on obscure appliance parts using a notebook program from Microsoft, There is a to-do list I keep as well as an alarm to remind me of certain "appointment duties". As you can see, I lean on my machine pretty hard to get the job done.
Creative Commons license on image.

After reading that last paragraph, I suspect one of two responses. The first response is that those are desktop computer tools and not so helpful to the field technician,. Point taken. I offer that as an example of how I am making using of technology as well as perhaps providing some ideas for your office staff. The second response I expect is for someone to see all the tools that I make use of and then decide that it is too much work to set up. It is true that all of these tools required some time and effort to get rolling, but now that I am using them I find them incredibly helpful in my day to day work as well as for improving my productivity.

Now I am a bit of an old-timer. I didn't start using computers until I was an adult living on my own and working for a living. Needless to say, I  am probably not as adept as some younger folks who can utilize this stuff on a sort of instinctual basis. That, however, is no excuse for not trying to grow and keep up with the times. In my experience, a good approach is to start slowly. Try using a tool for a low pressure easy job. Get familiar with how it works and feel free to adjust the settings to fit your needs and preferences. Take your time and try to have fun. As you get more comfortable with what you are working with you can utilize it a little more until it becomes integrated into your routine. Then you are ready to start again with a new tool, or you can go back and further tweak your existing tools to make them more effective. Before you know it you will be using a few tools you weren't using before, and you will find yourself saving time.

It does take time to learn how to use all of this amazing new technology at our disposal. And it takes even longer to set things up effectively. Think of it as an investment. The time you spend now setting these up will be repaid to you as you save time down the road. You can do this, and we would love to hear what tools you have started using to make yourself more productive. Tell us about them in the comments section.

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