October 8, 2008

Choosing time and technology management over forgetfulness and procrastination

TAPP Time Management  Book

I love technology. Computers, smart phones, mp3 players, etc. I enjoy reading about it. I enjoy talking about it. I enjoy using it. That is until I suddenly have to scramble because it doesn’t work the way it is supposed to. Then I want to curse at it. Last week I had the opportunity to do some cursing (under my breath of course). That quickly transferred into the pleasure of going technology shopping. I was able to spend quality time at the local Best Buy and Fry’s.

What, you are probably wondering, does this have to do with a column on productivity. More specifically, why am I bringing this up now? Well, last week, my external hard drive crashed, and with it went lots of data, music and photo files. Many of which were not backed up. Not backed up according to the back-up plan that I intended to implement but hadn’t gotten around to yet. The plan I recommended to all my friends and associates.

But this discussion is not about technology. It is about productivity or more specifically task management. It is about deciding on a course of action to accomplish a goal, formulating the action steps, and implementing the plan. I did, in fact, have a plan for data protection. I implemented it faithfully each time I made changes to my files. I even thought ahead enough to purchase an external hard drive when I bought my new laptop.

Only I modified my well thought out plan and decided to use the newly acquired drive differently. I decided I would just buy another drive as a backup. And so I assigned myself a task, didn’t write it down, and promptly forgot about it.

Every few weeks I would think that I needed to implement my backup plan. I told myself to schedule time. Of course, I didn’t. I didn’t even explore other backup options in the meantime. This should have been simple right? Pull out my trusted time management system, enter a new task, schedule it, and get it done. But I didn’t get around to it. That is until one day last week.

Does this sound familiar? No, not the part about having no back-up system for your important computer files, though this is more common than it should be. No, I’m talking about knowing you have an important task to do. Knowing the consequences of not doing it could be detrimental and putting it off anyway. I mean, I knew I needed a solution to accommodate the change in plans I made. I knew that I needed to come up with a new project and set of tasks to make sure that my goal would be accomplished (data was properly backed up). And yet, I also knew that I had not had a system failure in years. Famous last words. So I put it off. Each week, when I thought about implementing a new solution, I said to myself, “I need to get this done”. But I didn’t get around to it. Until last week.

Does this sound familiar? What is your “I should have but I didn’t” story?

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