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NOTE:The more time you spend figuring out all of the cool features of your smartphone, the better you will be at managing your time!
- 93 -Prioritize your tasks on a daily basis At the beginning of each day (which is usually the slowest part of the day for IT professionals), check the tasks that you have for the day, add any additional tasks, and then prioritize them. The criteria that you use to prioritize your tasks will ultimately depend on the tasks themselves and the nature of your organization – however, following are some questions that you can ask yourself to determine which tasks need a higher priority: •What tasks need to be done by today and which ones can wait until tomorrow? (put off low priority tasks until the next day if you are too busy) •What tasks are the most critical to the organization (i.e. must be done NOW)? •What time today would be best for each task? (i.e. A task that includes a lengthy software install/copy should be started in the morning so that you can move to other tasks in the meantime.) •What problems could happen during each task (which may increase the time needed for the task)? (start these tasks earlier so that you have enough time) •What meetings to I have today and when? (any tasks must work around these meeting times – also ensure that there is enough time if a meeting is expected to run past its scheduled time) NOTE: Only focus on prioritizing the tasks for the current day – if you start prioritizing future tasks, you will quickly notice that you’ll be changing their priorities because new tasks crop up on a daily basis. NOTE: Nearly all task applications (Microsoft Outlook, BlackBerry, etc.) allow you to easily add priorities to each task. NOTE: Many IT professionals who don’t manage their time properly end up working late and eventually believe that working late is part of the IT job. Truthfully, there are times where IT professionals must put in extra time to make sure a mission critical system is fixed, but this should be an exception and not the norm. Some organizations pay their IT professionals a premium for the added responsibility of ensuring that systems are running, even after working hours. Other organizations do not and require that any unfinished tasks wait until the next day. Ensure that you are clear on the IT job expectations for your organization. Don’t rely on your memory Whoever said that “the human mind is a wonderful thing” probably wrote it down in order to remember it. If you are the type of person who likes to keep their schedule in their mind, you may find yourself quickly frustrated in an IT environment. As humans, we often forget important details if we are rushed or under stress, and nearly all tasks that we need to perform involve plenty of details.
- 94 -Always make time to write new tasks or information down as soon as possible so that you don’t forget them. This should preferably be done using your smartphone or email program as described earlier, but could also be done using a simple notebook (don’t use sticky notes, because they are too disorganized!).