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Relearning Old Lessons

October 1, 2018

Did you ever have a hard drive crash? A hard drive that you hadn’t gotten around to backing up?

Ironically, despite what you might see from Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, most IT professionals have lost an unbacked up hard drive. After it happens, I am determined to do better. And I do. I dutifully backup up my brand new hard drive. Of course, it’s empty, because I lost all my data, but I do the backup. . and then I forget about doing it again.

Ever have a hard drive crash?

Yeah, I sometimes have to learn the same lesson over and over again.

I use lists. Lists help me get things done. With lists I’m more effective. But lists also make me anxious. If you make too many lists, or your TODO list gets too long, instead of helping me get more done, they immobilize me.

So, the trick is to have just enough lists, or lists that are just long enough, but not too long. Unfortunately the right number changes day to day, week to week. The number is never less than 3 nor more than. . .well, 5 is typically a good number.

I heard a story one time about a busy business executive. He never had enough time to get everything done he needed. One day a consultant approached him about a time management technique. The executive was naturally skeptical, but he finally agreed to hear the man’s proposal.

Each morning, write down the five most important things you have to do that day. Focus on them, and don’t let anything interrupt you.

That’s a pretty simple idea. How much do you expect to be paid for that?

Tell you what, try my technique for two weeks and then decide what it’s worth to you. If you see no value, you owe me nothing.

The consultant went on his way and the executive tried out the technique. After two weeks the consultant returned and the executive handed him a check for $10,000.

I understand the technique. But, I also understand that eating better and exercising will improve my health.

Today was a good day. I put three items on my list and after six hours of uninterrupted work, 2 of them were done. That was a very good day since those two things have been not on my list, but needing done for weeks.

Tomorrow, I’ll start with one item, add two more and work on it uninterrupted.

At least that’s the plan. I’m pretty sure it will work. It did before.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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