Sunday, May 03, 2009

Randy Pausch on Time Management

I don't know how I missed this talk by Randy Pausch on Time Management, but it's excellent. Please, please, please make the time to watch it: you'll be glad you did.

Not only does he pass on general principles in an entertaining way; he provides advice on specific techniques and tools to make you more productive.

Now here are my totally self-serving observations:

Randy mentions that [as of the time of the talk] no one had invented an email program that sorts by importance. Well then, thumbs up for VIC CRM, as it comes as close as it's possible. VIC auto-categorizes emails as they arrive, by category, company, and contact. All you need to know is who or what is important to you.

I also had to smile when Randy mentions keeping your emails forever. I couldn't agree more. I've got records going back to the day I first started testing the first version of VIC. Lotus Notes' full-text search facility is absolutely fantastic for finding the odd bit of knowledge that you knew you'd discussed, but can't remember when, or with who.

Also Randy recommends keeping a "life journal". Again, I agree entirely: that's what VIC CRM is. When you talk to someone on the phone, you document it in a Journal Entry. When you have a face-to-face meeting you schedule it with and document it in a Journal Entry. Letters, Faxes, and Emails are all media of conversations that are stored in the very same Journal. Everything you do is a conversation. Everything you do is interaction. Everything you do is in the Journal.

If you're a single user, VIC CRM is an indispensible tool. It's the single most useful tool on my computer. VIC is an eidetic memory augmenting my own. It keeps up with birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, contracts, phone numbers, receipts, registrations, and general information. It remembers my conversations and reminds me to follow up where necessary. It reminds me what I've done that's billable, and reminds me to bill, and what to bill, and when the work was done, and why. It helps me manage projects. It even dials the phone for me. It's the best secretary I've ever had.

For a small organization, using a shared implementation of VIC CRM, it's not just your life journal, it's the company's. Everything I just said above applies to a shared implementation in spades. Remember that VIC is there to share information. If you want something that will hide some info from some people, then look elsewhere, please. This is for teams, not cliques. With VIC, you can search not just your correspondence with a customer, but all correspondences... those among your customers, but also between your staff members. VIC remembers it all. This means that when you're talking to "Acme's" general manager, you can see what your colleagues discussed with them. All promises are communicated throughout your organization. If you don't use VIC, you need something like it. You don't know what you're missing.

But whatever you do, use something that works for you. And do watch Randy's talk.

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