organizational follies

About six months ago, I came to a great conclusion. That conclusion was, my organizational skills suck, and not being properly organized was hurting my productivity in a big way. I’d slacked along for years, getting by, but now it was time to do something about it.

For consulting work, I’m now using Alex King’s Tasks software to manage work requests and system administration duties. In effect, I’m using it as a pseudo-trouble ticket system. This has made my clients much happier, as things don’t “fall through the cracks” anymore when I have a lot of little pending “to do” items. I’ve been drooling over using Basecamp, but it’s $24/month versus the one-time cost of $30 for Tasks.

In my personal life, a lot of my clutter at home was solved by (yeah, I know, its funny) moving. When I moved from Austin to Houston, I took a good long hard look at my posessions, and threw or gave away everything that I owned that wasn’t sentimental or used on a regular basis. Instead of moving into a new home and trying to make everything fit, we moved into a mostly-empty home and bought the furniture we needed and put the few things that aren’t in “active duty” in the closets. As a result, we have plenty of storage space for things, and no “packrat clutter” filling up the garage. I’ve had to resist the urge to bring more older hardware home, but I look at it and think “I really won’t use this for more than a week or two; therefore I don’t need it.”

When it comes to my career, I’m looking at a few methods to “get my shit together” at the office. Moving from Austin to Houston and then from one office to another in Houston over the past three months did a good job of cleaning out cruft from the contents of my office. I’m currently working my way through David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and implementing some of the methods he describes. Time will tell if I can stick to it and actually Get Things Done.

Tonight I went to Office Depot and picked up a small binder/notebook and some index cards; over the next week I’ll give the Hipster PDA a try. I’ve been using a Moleskine journal for notes during meetings for the past two months, but I had the “Large” version and it just seemed unwieldy and awkward to carry around. If the index card thing doesn’t work out, I might try picking up a 3-pack of the pocket notebooks, but damn, the Moleskine stuff is expensive (and the small versions not available at the local Borders bookstore).

One thing I’m lusting after is a Fisher Space Pen, but Office Depot doesn’t carry them.

isn’t it strange..

how people get sentimental over the smallest things?

Five years ago, when I was working at OnRamp Access, a friend of mine working at Sun sent me a simple gift – a black stretchy ID-badge lanyard imprinted continuously with the Sun logo in white. Being the hard-core Sun fanatic that I was at the time (in contrast to being a Sun/Apple fan now), it was a highly treasured gift. I hate those little “spring reel” badge holders that so many companies give out, because they always break or malfunction.

For the next five years, I wore this lanyard through three different jobs. Over time, it lost its “stretchy” factor and eventually got to where it hung below my belt, instead of mid-chest. I looked around for an identical or suitably cool replacement, but none were to be found. Tonight, I finally replaced it with a “Safety Clasp Lanyard” from Office Depot.

As I moved my badges and Photon Micro-Light over to the new lanyard, it was like letting go of an old friend.

more timekeeping

Instead of buying a fake Rolex, I realized that I already have a watch – a Swatch Irony Automatic that I’d purchased a couple of years ago, worn for a few days, then put into storage becuase it was getting scratched up from all the work I was doing on PCs at the time.

Dug it out, shook it up (doesn’t use a battery; uses the motion from daily wear to wind a spring), set the time and date, and it still fits…

“savings card” madness

I just made a quick midnight run to CVS to pick up some razors, shaving cream, and a 12-pack of Coke. As I was checking out, the clerk said “Do you have your CVS card with you?” I said “No.” He said “You come here so often, you should get one to save money.” I said “I will, eventually”. He then said “Do you like not saving money? Do you like spending more than you have to? The company loves it when you spend more than you have to.” I said “Look, usually I’m in a hurry, and I’ve got enough companies tracking my spending habits already”, as I held up my keychain with its Randalls, Kroger, and Petsmart “savings cards” barcode tags, and walked out after he handed me my receipt.

Insulting my spending habits surely won’t get me to sign up for their “Savings Card” anytime soon.

how i spent my weekend

I think the stress of moving and three months of exhaustion from work finally caught up with me on Friday night. I went to bed early, and since then, I think I’ve only been up and out of bed for less than eight hours. I’m *still* tired, and so tempted to just sleep until time to get up for work in the morning, as I have nothing to do today/tonight anyway.