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Productivity in a New Job

Starting a new job is a great time to be thinking about methods and procedures for personal and corporate productivity. Over the past week as I’ve been getting over jetlag and getting my head around new software, people, places, regulations, methods, techniques and all the other bits that make up a move from one country to another or even one city to another.

I’m starting in a role with lots of new things, really, just about everything is new to me all with the backbone of Civil Engineering, Subdivision Design and Project Management as core skills. So where did I start? More after the jump…

GTD

I’m a big fan of the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (GTD), the methods detailed in this book are enough to make the most disorganized person clutter free. So when starting a new job GTD must come into the picture for me. Lots of Folders, marker pens, filing cabinets, collection trays and a commitment to keeping things in order.

My favorite personal collection is with the Hipster PDA, a set of 3×5 index cards held together with a clip, matched with a Fischer Space Pen for a bit of style. While on the go, this handy rearrangeable notepad serves me well, with reminders, phone numbers, and space for collection of whatever needs jotting down. But my biggest task for productivity in setting things up is with my computer.

Sticking with Outlook

This is the first job I’ve had where there has been some flexibility as to whether or not you used firefox or IE, and even to the point of whether you use Outlook or something else. Currently I do all my personal email in gmail and I love the way I can bring about inbox zero through archiving all but the immediately actionable items. For the office, I’ve decided to set up my machine with Outlook, not because it is my favorite program, rather, because of a recently developed add-in called Jello, which acts as a homepage for Outlook, (it replaces your “today page”), that is set up for GTD processing and actioning, complete with contexts and projects.

This customization, combined with the free version of SyncMyCal which syncs the next seven days of calendar appointments to my Google Calendar, (which can send SMS’s for reminders) gives me a fair degree of flexibility when working in or out of the office.

As my workload increases, I’ll keep you up to date with how the system is working and is developed. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you do to stay organized at work, please leave a comment below.

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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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