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© 2010 Ugur Akinci
Here are my own time-management and productivity suggestions for technical communicators:
- If you’re working as an independent technical writer from your own office, check your e-mail only 3 times a day — first thing in the morning, mid-afternoon (3 pm), and in the evening (9 pm). But I realize that for those who are working for a company they need to check their e-mail whole day long for any corporate announcements or communication from managers and colleagues.
- Provide your cell-phone number only to your family and closest friends. Get a dedicated line or an answering service for your clients.
- Use Google Calendar to schedule all your meetings and important days to remember. Google Calendar has many alert options that would help you remember those important dates.
- Set up a Google Alert for all the keywords that are important to you. That way you’ll keep abreast of all the developments that really matter.
- Schedule all your important meetings for early in the morning when your mind and body are still fresh.
- Every night go over the next day’s schedule before you go to sleep. Write a simple “Things To Do Tomorrow” list to prepare your subconscious for the day ahead.
- Get rid of all the books, old magazines and every piece of paper in your house and office that you don’t need anymore. There is nothing that clouds the mind like paper clutter.
- Handle each piece of paper only once. When you hold a piece of paper in your hand do what you need to do and then either file it or discard it immediately.
- Backup your files regularly either to an online network server or to a backup hard drive in your office.
- If you are using a Windows PC, defragment your hard disk and clean-up the temporary files directory of your machine regularly.
- Hire a professional to do all the manual chores that eat up your time like cutting the grass, hauling trash, or replacing your roof.
- Make sure to get some rest and do something fun and interesting at least one day a week. Don’t forget to reward yourself for all your hard work.
- Get enough sleep each night. Research has shown that sleep deprivation not only weakens the immune system and ruins concentration but leads to weight gain too.