Keeping Myself Organized

Friday, January 12, 2018

My most productive months through 2017

Were from about July through to the middle of December. As I sit here in my office I wonder what happened? I’ve gone from completing real actionable items daily to feeling like I’m just spinning my tires again, but I’m definitely not. Since my first day back to work of 2018, I’ve successfully:

  • Implemented a prototype for a potential new internal project
    • Furthermore I’ve had 1 sit-down meeting to demo the application sprints and 3 meaningful conversations around alignment of the processes we’re looking to automate.
  • Developed a mind map for implementing some new corporate infrastructure and initiated conversation with my company’s operations team
    • With a fair bit of background fact-finding which date back to December of last year to be fair
  • Consolidated 10 years of data from excel workbooks to transcribe into a newly developed application’s database (specifically for the first bullet point)
  • Submitted the paperwork to sit for my PMP examination

That’s a pretty good amount of work for 10 days back at it I think? So why do I feel like I’m not actually accomplishing anything?

In December of last year, I decided to move all my backlog and random ideas from my office whiteboard to Trello. Please don’t interpret this as me slamming Trello because it IS a fantastic tool especially for remote members of my team, however it’s just not doing the trick for me. In Trello I can separate out my projects, put in product backlogs, assign them out or work on them myself. I can access this information from anywhere as long as I have internet. This is the epitome of a tech-savvy person isn’t it? Trello even has the ability to swim lane (I call it swim lane, it comes from the construction industry that I work in) so you can even monitor what you’ve accomplished, what’s on the docket and what’s in the backlog. However it’s still not enough!

Why is this?

I think that it has to do with the 4dx program I read about a few years ago. Specifically on topic of:

Keep a compelling scoreboard

It’s amazing how just glancing at that bookshelf of old books can trigger new thoughts. Whether keeping a scoreboard for your team or yourself, I’ve become a disciple of the fact that an in-your-face, can’t ignore, always in sight scoreboard is the way to keep myself, and my teams, on track. It’s so easy to get side swiped with helping on random projects, taking on more ‘busy work’, or just not knowing what to tackle next. All of this detracts you from your WIG (Wildly Important Goal)

The more you try to do, the less you accomplish. There will always be more good ideas.

I’ve even received feedback from my team members and peers within my company regarding their appreciation of my board as they know whether or not I will have time to help them by just taking a quick glance at what’s on the list, what’s crossed out, and what has a lot of arrows, exclamation points, and stars beside them. I can’t accomplish this with Trello. If I want to ignore my backlog, I just exit the window. If people want to know if I’m busy, I can’t refer them to my Trello (within reasonable ease). The workplace is fast and hectic. Keeping that list public and available will make you accountable and give people the information required to hopefully be able to respect your time a little better.

I’ve somehow kept my productivity up for the first week and a half of the year. I’m not about to let it fall off. It went away the last month of 2017. It’s coming back the second week of 2018.

This is a little off topic of my typical developer’s updates however more and more I’m seeing the value in some of these soft skills as opposed to raw technical know how. Hopefully this helps some of you other scatterbrains out with your new year’s resolutions!


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