Very, Very Practical Tips for the Busy Person
Last updated: 6/16/2002; 10:21:46 AM
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Very, Very Practical Tips for the Busy Person

I don't know about you but I am busy.  Very busy.  And, if you don't want to make mistakes when you are busy, you need help.  Over the past many years, I have found that these tips really help me quite a bit.  Listed below are 10 tips for busy people.  You'll laugh and some are silly perhaps but I use most of them every single day.

  1. Auto Start an Editor.  For the past 10 years or so (ever since multiple processes on an Intel box worked), I've had a startup command that equates to "NOTEPAD C:\TODO.TXT".  I always have an editor open so I can jot down todos, phone 3#s, etc.  Tremendously helpful.  Yes I use Outlook too but this is faster and easier a lot of the time.
  2. Velcro.  I've been a huge velcro fan for years.  Here's why – It keeps me from losing stuff.  Here's an example.  I have a velcro patch on my phone.  And then a matching velcro patch on my monitor.  Net result?  I tend not to lose my phone (or my pager, my stapler, my X – a picture of my monitor would make you just laugh).  What?  You never lost your cordless phone?  Good for you.
  3. Save Everything.  Always, Always, Always Save Every: Phone Number, Birthday, Email Address, Emergency Contact #, etc.  Calling the "I'm at my girl friend's" number has let me find engineers with less than perfect quality, the night before a build is due more than once.  Every birthday should go right into a calendar.  Why?  It makes people feel good when they are remembered. 
  4. Put it In Your Shoes.  If you need to do something and it's really important?  Then put a reminder in your shoes.  Why?  You generally put your shoes on and this forces you to see it.  Alternative: Put it in front of the door by which you leave the house.
  5. Two Alarm Clocks.  Yup.  Two.  Always have 2.  Safer.
  6. Passport.  Always leave it in the same place.  Never, ever move it.  For me, it's always in my laptop bag.  Just safer (and really useful when your wallet is stolen and you need ID).
  7. The Emergency $20.  Go to the ATM.  Get out $20.  Stick it in a back pocket in your wallet.  Then get out another $20 and put it in the glove compartment of your car.  It's saved me more than once.
  8. Phone Headset on a Cordless Phone.  I multitask furiously on a PC – and in real life.  Since I work from home, you just don't know where I am and what I'm doing when we talk on the phone.  I've been known to (quietly) wander around my yard while talking to clients.  Or do other things.  A headset makes this possible.  Recommended.  NOTE: Expensive headsets aren't needed.  I use a $5 headset.
  9. Buy 2 Not 1.  Whenever I run out of a personal consumable item – Toothpaste, Advil, Toilet Paper, etc., I replace it by buying 2.  Saves tons of time – and lots of embarrassment.
  10. General Rule: Make it Easy and Simple.  Trust me on this one – if something isn't easy and simple, you probably just won't do it.  Think about backup for example – unless it's really easy, people just don't do it.  Think about blogging: We all do it, in large part, because it's easy and simple.

And, now, the additions from readers.  Thanks guys!

  1. From : Make sure you have at least one spare fully charged laptop for your laptop when on the road.
  2. From : When managing developers, always, always keep some food and drinks on hand.  This keeps developers working, not leaving the office.  Cheaper in the long run.

From Massimo: Always take something to read when you go out. You never know you may end up in a line or queue. I usually print articles from Internet magazine.



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