I feel as if I have less time in my day than I did a year ago.
To reclaim the extra minutes spent running through my routines:
- Capturing notes
- Managing my time
- Capturing Ideas
- Reviewing the top items that need to get done today…
I’ve incorporated several Apple IPhone apps that have helped me slash extra minutes spent maintaining my daily routine.
The first of these apps is Day One.
Day One is a diary app that lets you make entries as short as a line long without feeling guilty for leaving the blank space. To be honest, this really isn’t a project management app, but this app provides an easy way to capture accomplishments, dates and times. It can also help you capture your thoughts and lessons learned from closed projects. I think what really sold me on the app was the interface, which gives you the ability to view your entries in 3 ways: by the year, as one-liners grouped by month or in a calendar view where each day with an entry is highlighted.
You can also star key entries to forever mark them electronically. I am of two minds about starring entries – I’m not sure whether I really want to remember some of these moments, but I star them just in case I change my mind and want to review my thoughts for a lessons learned session.
The app can be synched to your ICloud if you want to back up your journal) or you can access them from your Mac.
Moving Toward a Paperless Workstyle
Evernote is the second app that I’ve been using to save myself some steps between a pad of paper and my keyboard. As an example, we seem to have a password for everything nowadays – from logins to ticketing and company tools. Nearly each one of these blessed passwords need to change every 90 days – and keeping up with them as well as remembering them is one of the minor aggravations that slow me down.
The password keychart (www.passwordchart.com) that helps me generate passwords used to be printed and carried around with me.
To lose the printed page was to lose my password.
Now I just generate the password chart and take a snapshot of it in the Evernote app to keep it safe. My biggest concern is the delay in getting my IPhone 3GS to crawl to the Evernote repository. Evernote has also become the keeper of my personal “processes” (Checklist on How to Ramp up on a New Project, for example), Notes from PM classes I took for review, and Notes on improvement ideas.
I’m still finding new uses for Evernote, both personal and professional. I could spend a separate post just explaining how Evernote works and what goodness it has for you, but better yet – just go get it.
Calendar for Time-Obsessed People
Finally, the third app that I’m recommending is the MiCal app.
Now, I have to be real here. The biggest sell for me is that this Calendar gives you a full 52 view of the year and a weekly view with a cell split out for the month.
Time is always on my mind. Whether it’s my time or the time I have left to complete a project. For some reason, occasionally, it makes me feel better to see the remaining weeks I have left.
Granted, there are some things that I don’t like about the app – the monthly view, for example, but the little things (Daily Temperature, the Week of the year and, wait for it, the time in large font on the daily activity screen!) have totally made me buy the app and move the IPhone pretender calendar off the main Icon bar.
While there is a drop down slider screen that provides date, time and weather in IOS 5.1, I rarely remember to use the functionality.
As a peace offering to Apple, I do actually use the Calculator and the Reminder functionality to track action items (opening tickets, setting up meetings that fall out of conversations into my action item list, updating PMO Issue tracker, etc).
That’s all I have for now. I’m sure there are other IPhone apps out there that I haven’t discovered yet. If you’re using one that cuts any of the routine out of your day, please leave a comment or send me a tweet. My id is jgodfrey.
When I came back from Christmas Holidays…I was given a silver, round container with blue lettering on the lid which read:
Positive Putty: Squeeze and Achieve.
Our PMO Director had given everyone a can of Positive Putty. In the can, there was a glob of blue “stuff” that seemed stuck to the bottom of the can.
Around the edges of the can were the instructions:
- Release your Tension
- Stretch your creativity
- Shape your destiny
- Sculpt your direction
Opening the can was a challenge in itself. The glob of putty had semi-sealed the can shut. Only by twisting the lid in the opposite direction could I manage to get the lid off.
It came out warped in the shape of the can – shiny and oddly reminiscent of playdoh.
I started pulling it out of its shape and molding it just as one of my meetings started. Initially it resisted the shaping, but warmed up as we began our discussion about a new project.
I wish I could tell you that playing with this failed chemistry experiment transformed my thinking.
But it didn’t.
What I can tell you is that it changed the path my thoughts usually run along during a requirements call.
- It made me smile.
- It lightened my voice.
- It impacted my mood.
- And interrupted my usual thinking.
In a virtual meeting these kinds of things are tangible, but difficult to measure.
Rather than get stymied in capturing requirements that we needed to research before pricing – we agreed to break the process into phases in order to move the project forward.
I don’t usually go for motivational tchotchkes.
Did Positive Putty make a difference?
I like to use it during meetings.
Do you have any motivational tchotchkes that you recommend?
Leave a comment, send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.
The moment I heard those words come out of my mouth I realized how upside down that was.
The “work” that I was focused on ‘getting done’ was the paperwork side of my job.
Don’t Mind the Woman Behind the Curtain
That “work” consists of tasks that seem to increase week by week as some other part of the organization realizes that project management tools, reporting and communication are valuable to understanding where our organization is with respect to its goals.
That “work” consists of
- Status reports
- Analysis of data
- Schedule updates
- Behind the Scenes Stuff that needs to get done to move the project along (process, forms, etc)
Keep Your Eye On the Ball
All of the behind the scenes (don’t mind the woman behind the curtain) work that a PM does to move the project forward is important, but what that work allows us to get done during the day is many times more critical:
- Connecting with other folks on the team or extended support team members
- Connecting teammembers to address problems
- Getting answers from the right people
- Defining scope
- Eliminating make work
- Pushing for decisions that impact your project
- Meeting with stakeholders
- Flagging risks
- Making a decision on a program or project that needs to be made to move us closer to delivery
Working the levers and pulleys in the back is not more important than working with your team and stakeholders to deliver. So this a gentle reminder to myself that my words are a reflection of what I value.
So next time: when the last meeting of the day ends…
It will be time to get the rest of my work done!
Leave a comment, send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.
We hand down judgments on ourselves that limit our ability to succeed.
How to beat those judgments and achieve in spite of them is the subject of Elizabeth Harrin’s book, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome.
What the Heck Is It?
Imposter Syndrome is defined by Wikipedia as a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. When you compliment them, ‘oh no,’ they say, ‘it was…
- Timing or
- They were able to fool a bunch of other people into handing them their success.
Whether folks were fooled or not, Elizabeth is saying that it’s time to get over it. And she gives the reader tips and practical actions to move beyond the limited views they have of themselves.
From Strategy 1 – Read Widely through Strategy 5 – Challenge Yourself and ending with Strategy 10 – Recognize When You Should Feel Like a Fraud, she challenges the reader to take small distinct steps to overcome their feelings of being an Imposter.
You Are Not Prepared
Her final chapter: Strategy 10: Recognize When You Should Feel Like a Fraud was refreshing. She shares with her readers three distinct situations when they should feel unprepared:
- When you’re doing something you’ve never done before,
- If you are a minority in a company culture that might not the right fit for you or
- It’s your first few weeks in a new job
The three examples help define when it is reasonable to feel like an imposter, rather than taking every setback as an example of why you ”shouldn’t be where you are.” After having identified these examples, she suggests ways to close the gap between the role and your perceived ”fit” or remove yourself from a bad culture match.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome doesn’t beat the reader up for feeling like the odd one out, but gives them strategies to overcome the self-judgments that limit their success. This is a book I recommend.
Have you read this book or another about Imposter Syndrome? Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.
There are weeks that I hate being a project manager.
On those weeks my job seems to be an endless round of…
- Jumping through bureaucratic hoops
- ‘Playing Telephone’
- Managing myself so I stay professional under stress.
It was during one of those weeks that I received notice that it was nearing time to renew my PMP Certification.
For those of you familiar with the PMP certification – every PMP-certified project manager is obliged to renew their certification every 3 years. At the end of that 3-year cycle, PMI expects them to…
- Have acquired 60 PDU (Professional Development Units)
- Submitted them to PMI for review and approval
- Pay $60 to renew the certification
Renewing wasn’t the problem. The problem was whether I still wanted to be a Project Manager this week. I was thinking that…
- Living in Hawaii as a beach bum,
- Cashing in my 401K and traveling to Fiji or
- Winning the lottery might be better options.
When I originally took the PMP exam, I had heard lots of folks with differening opinions about the value of the credential. Some thought it wasn’t worth pursuing for them, others thought it was something that would be valuable. That has not changed – people still have strong feelings both ways.
What has changed is my attitude about the PMP Credential. Over time, my appreciation of the credential and the standards have grown. During weeks when I needed to watch my temper and my tongue, remembering that I was a professional was worth every penny paid.
Having the PMBOK as a guide has kept me out of trouble multiple times. Having a ‘PMP’ at the end of my name has opened a number of doors and let me do what I love to do…
- Work with teams who loved their jobs
- Pull together plans, flag and mitigate risks and above all
- Finish projects
My name is Joelle Godfrey and I have agreed to retain the Project Management Professional designation for another three years. Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.
I really cannot believe it’s 2012.
And we are now three weeks into January of 2012.
If you’re new here, on the third week of every month, I pull together all the links that I’ve run into since last month that made me think or laugh.
January’s Bug on a Windshield links are related to Personal Effectiveness, Project Management, and Fun. Enjoy.
- What Bruce Lee can Teach Us About Living
- Three Stages of an Idea
- 7 Obsessions Guaranteed to Improve your Life
- Keep Your Home Clean in 20 Minutes a Day for 30 Days
- 20 Questions all Project Managers should Ask
- 12 Reasons You Will Be a Better Leader this Year
- Four Facets of the Cross-Culture Project Manager
- Professionalism 101
- Mirai Mizui Tatamp (To See the Neat Anime Without the Explanation YouTube)
- Most Popular Wallpaper Site
- Sarien Net – Portal for old Sierra On-line Adventure Games
- Lord of the Rings Lego
That’s all I have for this month. Leave me a comment, send me a tweet. My id is jgodfrey.
The world is formed from the void,
like utensils from a block of wood.
The Master knows the utensils,
yet keeps to the block:
thus she can use all things.
- Tao Te Ching
When I began tweeting the PMBOK 3 years ago, I received lots of questions and some challenges about why I was tweeting the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
- Did I think it was infallible?
- Did I think there could be other ways of doing things?
- Did I think that it was impossible to do a project without its rules and standards?
- NO. And the PMBOK doesn’t contain rules – it just contains guidelines. In parentheses, its formal title is: PMBOK Guide.
I think the pushback and questions may be a human reaction to what looks like an organization trying to say – this is the only “Right” way to do things.
We all know that
- There are many types of projects – some simple, some complex
- Many types of groups and organizations and…
- Many ways to run a project.
What the PMBOK Guide does for you is give you access to the Processes, the Tools & Techniques, and the Best Practices – in short: the Utensils you need to get the Work done.
How you use them is up to you.
My name is Joelle Godfrey and I tweet on Project Management, Business and Japanese. Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.