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[Suggestions] How do you stay on task?

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+fusi0n    1,917

I am having a very hard time staying focused at work. I'm involved in 20+ projects that involved AWS/Azure/On-Prem/Hybrid clouds and it is overwhelming. About half my time is spent in meetings and most of the time I have good intentions of saying to myself, "I'll need to put that in my note app" or whatever, and I never do. Usually, because I just don't like what I'm using at the time to help keep track of stuff. I'm still able to keep up with everything somehow and I'm told I'm doing a great job, but the truth is.. I'm barely hanging on.  Also, we have all  open seating.. Which is very distracting to begin with. Doesn't matter if your SVP/EVP/Director, ect.. you are in open seating. 

 

I'm looking for suggestions on what everyone is using for notes, task, reminders, ect.. I've used evernote, onenote (both are blocked at work now, thanks DLP) Google task, Microsoft todo.. Wunderlist.. ect. I think my favorite was actually Microsoft Todo, but it didn't give remidners.. I would like something that I can add task/reminders to and add to my calendar also. I listen to headphones when I can, but sometimes it's still hard for me to focus.. 

 

If anyone has any tips that'd like to share.. I would be willing to try them out. 

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zhangm    1,332

I've been using Todo. I thought it did give reminders, and can allow you to set due dates. I guess they must have just recently added the ability to share files in lists that you've shared with others.

 

My biggest issue with these task management systems is that adding all the tasks, keeping track of their progress, and marking them completed or defining a follow-up is...another task. :D

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Nick H.    9,397

We use a ticketing system to help us keep track of things. My issue is that we're not using it to its full potential. I had used it for several years before I started at this company and it was drilled in to me that any time I make any change on a ticket, I should note it down under tasks. That way if I'm ill, or if a colleague receives a phone call for an update on the situation they are able to open the ticket and see where I am up to and they can take over if necessary. At this company no one uses the tasks section except for me so it's really difficult to help or inform someone if I haven't had the ticket from the beginning. I'm going to be working on changing that soon.

 

Aside from that, I personally use OneNote and a whole lot of sticky notes. :laugh:

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dipsylalapo    1,665
On 4/25/2019 at 10:38 PM, fusi0n said:

About half my time is spent in meetings and most of the time I have good intentions of saying to myself, "I'll need to put that in my note app" or whatever, and I never do.

Personally, I don't think the issue is the tool, but your time management. The issue with these tools, they can have all the bells and whistles, but  they're only useful if you actually have time to complete the tasks that you're trying to do. 

 

What I found was more useful, is working from home 1 or 2 days a weeks. I know when I'm in the office, I'm bothered talked to at least 2/3 times an hour, and it's really difficult to keep on task

 

If WFH is not a possibility, try actually putting tasks as meetings in your calendar and setting aside an hour to complete Task A

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+John.    1,386

At work it's a combo of a ticketing system, personal notes and Trello

 

Trello has saved our ass multiple times with parallel projects and people based globally

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Premgenius    27
Posted (edited)

I used to use Evernote for note taking but then switched to OneNote because its included with O365 =

 

For tasks management use Trello, For task reminders I use Todoist

 

Whilst most of these will be done during the meeting(s) a do allocated some time either end of the meeting or end of the day to organise the above

Edited by Premgenius

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+fusi0n    1,917

Thank you everyone. This has helped me out a lot! 

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Skiver    1,941

I think people have really talked the task management stuff to death so I'm not going to really add to that, as for distractions, is listening to music an option?

 

I sit in a similar situation where all desks are open plan, I also have the problem of meeting rooms being directly behind me so there is a fair amount of traffic behind me. I pretty much 90% of my working time have something playing in the background. Sometimes I'll have Spotify playing, playlists can help change your mindset if you're doing something you need to concentrate on then something without words and a more classical feel to it. If I'm doing a repetitive task then something upbeat that I can pay a little more attention too helps break the monotony. 

 

I'll even sometimes have a podcast or Twitch going as the background noise is enough to drown out everything else but I can zone out and don't have to concentrate on what's being said but these can sometimes be a little more distracting then the general office noise so I'd limit these if you do give them a shot.

 

I feel like I'm in a similar position to you, I have a lot of projects always on the go, I'm a go-to guy for a lot of the others in the business when it comes to my area. Something that you have to remind yourself of is that you are just one person doing the best they can, sometimes a project isn't going to be delivered on time. Don't let yourself get stressed out when projects mount up, make a list, give each task a priority in terms of their importance to the business but also think about the effort required to finish something. A quick win, even if it's not really that important, can really help mentally and give you that feeling of progress that will help boost you through the longer ones. 

 

Can you delegate any of your work? In the last few months, I set up a call with my direct equal so that we could discuss everything we're working on and what that's enabled is me to find it easier to delegate off work that I would have normally just struggled through myself.

 

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sc302    1,662

As for notes (I have to put it in my note app) type of issues...LiveScribe is freaking awesome.  You can search your handwriting if it is close enough.  Take notes and audio, return back to audio at the specific time that you wrote the note.  No need to worry about putting it in your note app, it automatically goes to the app and syncs with the cloud.  

 

 

The next best piece of advice is to take one thing at a time.  Complete a project, or as much of a project you can, then move on to another.    FWIW, I don't go home until my plate is clean or I can come to an accomplished stop where I can resume tomorrow or a week from now.  If I can't come back to it within a month and know where I left off, that is not a good place to be and I did not complete enough to be able to do my job properly requiring rework or going back over every step to see what exactly was done.

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Riva    1,083

I am not quite sure what the nature of your work is e.g. whether you are hands-on but this is what i do:

  • Set a focus factor on each project. That means how much time you can spend on a project on a single day or week or month. Jumping between projects in a day is a bad idea from a focus point of view so do weekly. I do 2 days a week per project.
  • Track your to dos somewhere as tasks. Ideally within each project. I suspect you have a PM or other team mates and you all share a task board of some sort? If you are solo then yes I guess its your job to do the tracking.
  • Avoid pointless meetings. People will invite you to all sort of ######. Focus on project status update meetings, ideally on a weekly basis.
  • If you cant avoid a meeting and you know its a "rounds" call then ask to go first and leave the call early. I had a meeting to discuss some tickets today, my part was 10 minutes and the other guys an hour. I kindly asked that I go first so that I can keep going on with my work as I know for sure I am dealing with a lot more projects than others.
  • Ask for your meetings to be early in the morning or late in the day so that you have 5-6 working hours to focus.
  • Project plans and locking up your scope is priority otherwise you will never finish anything.
  • You don't have to answer to all emails straight away. Check your email 3 times a day. If something is very important, people will call you
  • Social networks kill focus so avoid them where possible
  • Don't be afraid to tell people you are busy.
  • Start an early day when most people aren't working. This will help you get more things done.

20 projects sounds a lot

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firey    3,873

Heroin

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