Despite the fact that your job may seem like a chaotic
jumble of unforeseeable events, there are certain recurring ones that directly
impact your ability to do your job. Managing these events can
be a way to exercise some control over your day-to-day work, opening holes
of time in which to deal with the unforeseen problems that always arise. Take
some time, today, to look into the near future and start planning for some
of your recurring events today.
Every business has certain “crunch times” of the year. For retailers,
it is the Christmas season. For other businesses it can be the end of the
month or the quarter. Perhaps you have a major project review that occurs
the same time every year. Whatever the cause, you need to note these crunch
times in your personal calendar, project schedules and anywhere else it makes
Crunch times can bring a combination of frustration, fear, elation, pride
and nearly every other emotion you can imagine. It can also bring system failures,
insufficient resources and lost or damaged data. During these times, you want
to insure that every system is operating at the peak of efficiency. If you
have been having problems with something, fix it before it fails in the middle
of a crisis. Perhaps you need to bring in more servers to handle the work
load. Maybe there are never enough printers to output the stacks of reports
that are necessary. Do you need more hard disk space? Get it, install it and
test it now.
Focusing on your preparations not only gives you a small peace of mind, it
will allow you to react more quickly to those crises that do occur. If you
aren’t worrying about babysitting a fragile web server, you can be dealing
with user-related problems immediately, before they turn into a much larger
problem. If you have arranged for more than enough printers, the failure of
one won’t have a large impact on work as a whole. It may seem like a
Boy Scout cliché, but “Be prepared” should be your motto
in all aspects of your career.
Here is how to develop your action plan, starting today. What is the next
major business event your company has to deal with? Is accounting closing
the quarterly books or filing taxes? Are everyone’s status reports due
at the end of the month? You may not have taken much notice of events like
this in the past, except when they directly impacted you. You need to change
your thinking,. Every major business event can and will effect your high-tech
work. Technology is deeply integrated into every aspect of most companies,
so even the most obscure site inspection or product test could end up causing
you a lot of trouble.
Start marking any and all events in your calendar. In most cases, they will
fall at regular intervals on the calendar so you may be able to schedule them
as repeating items. Next, think about the lead time you may need to prepare
for each event. Place a reminder so many days or weeks ahead of the event
as your own personal reminder. “Oh yeah, “ you might say, “I
need to make sure that all the systems are upgraded well before the project
demos.” Placing these reminders in a trusted system, and out of your
already cluttered brain, will help to insure that events aren’t forgotten,
only to surprise you at a later date.
As you start to develop your calendar of business events, you will naturally
develop procedures to deal with them. After a few months, each instance may
require no more than a quick check that the procedures are still correct and
functional instead of a mad dash to deal with them. Over time you will become
aware of more and more recurring events and handle them in the same fashion.
Over time you will find that less of your attention will be required for these
events, freeing more of your attention for unforeseen crises and, better yet,
more challenging and rewarding projects.
Take time today to step back and begin dealing with recurring business events
instead of letting them control your schedule and your work. These events
are foreseeable and anything you can do to manage them will free time and
energy for more pressing and rewarding work. This will mean that you can look
towards building your high-tech career instead of having it rocked on the
chaotic seas of your day-to-day high-tech life.
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about this column.
Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant in Van
Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with other readers by
joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on Douglas' web page at: http://www.welchwrite.com/dewelch/ce/
He can reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org