Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time Management “in the Cloud”

The first time I saw Peggy Duncan, it was at Freelance Forum in Atlanta. She was going on and on about getting organized, touching a piece of paper only once or twice, clearing clutter, yadda, yadda, yadda. Fact is, everything she said was exactly dead-on. When your work area is cleared, your mind is clearer also.

So, when she started getting into the nuts and bolts of time management, I tried hard to pay attention. You see, I’m a pretty organized person with my specific projects. It’s the big, overall picture I have a hard time with… and still have a hard time with.

The second time Peggy came and spoke at Freelance Forum, I now had a much better sense of the benefits of paying attention and implementing her ideas. No, I have not implemented everything she has said, but little bits at a time are making a difference, such as simply keeping a time sheet per project, or using my computer calendar.

This summer, I dove into the wonderful world of an iPhone and in May I purchased a MacBook. Suddenly many of the things Peggy talked about began to take shape in a way I could envision, and manage.

The thought of keeping a calendar, and a notebook, and a call list, and so on, and so on, was a bit overwhelming. I tried it and had a hard time making sure I had the same info in each place. I couldn’t quite get it to work.

Enter “the Cloud”, which Apple switched to just after I’d gotten used to my iPhone.

Suddenly all these things lived in one place. The Cloud. I could access them from my phone or from my laptop. Now I really can put something on the calendar on my phone, tell it to remind me, and have that same reminder pop up on my laptop!

And, I can now take quick notes on my phone, and it automatically emails them to me!

I can update a contact on my MacMail on my phone, or on my laptop, and it automatically updates on the other piece of equipment.

When I picked up Peggy’s book this week (The Time Management Memory Jogger) to catch up on “business reading”, I quickly realized how timeless this information really is. The book was written pre-Cloud, but everything in it can translate to how Clouds work. It almost felt like a techie person must have also heard Peggy’s talks about organization, and heeded the suggestions! I feel like many of the ideas are coming to life now.

I am still not an Outlook user. I do still have an advertiser “call list” built in MSWord that I color code and add notes to the bottom of each list. And I might add, this is actually another idea that came from Peggy in a roundabout way. But my mail program is in better shape now, my address book, my calendar—thanks to Peggy I am finally using all the basic tools in ways they should be used, and I’m reaping the benefits.

I have discovered one tip that keeps me from having lots of paper file folders. When I have an “email conversation” about a project, or multiple emails about it, I copy the text out and compile them all, one after another, into a text doc and save it in the project folder. That has worked wonders in keeping my email down and keeping my projects organized. Again, this is adapting Peggy’s suggestions into something that works better for my setup.

Moral of this story is, get the Time Management Memory Jogger and read it, every page. Then, as Peggy said, “It’s not a novel, you have to work it”. How true! So you’d better get started today!

Check out Peggy Duncan here and make sure you watch a few videos. With the energy Peggy exudes, you soon realize that getting rid of the clutter and disorganization can really free you up for some exciting things!