Saturday 12 February 2011

My Outbox

I've had an IN box for as long as I can remember. But it's only comparatively recently (a year or so) that I've had a formal OUT box. Here's what I've discovered about using it.

It's not actually a box or tray, like my physical IN box. Rather, it's more of a "landing zone" on top of the printer stand - a designated bit of clear space which, in my mind, carries the label "OUT".

When something needs to go out of my office, I put it there. Bowl from this morning's cereal? OUT box. Completed expense reports that need to be mailed? OUT box.  Mail that needs my wife's attention instead of mine? OUT box.

In the same way that a pad of paper lets me capture thoughts without acting on them immediately, the Out Box lets me stage items that need to be moved somewhere, without interrupting my flow of work. I can let go mentally of the thought that this item needs to be put away. When I do want to take a break and stretch, all these "somewhere else" items are in one place so it's easy to scoop them up and walk them to where they need to be.

What I DON'T put in the OUT box are things "to be filed".  I've learned that that doesn't work. It grows without bound, and then OUT is useless because it's cluttered.  I file most things immediately, though I'm ashamed to say there's still a bit of a TO FILE pile that needs attention.  (It's on my "IN OFFICE" action list to clean that up.)

So, the two habits I'm working on right now have to do with comings and goings: (1) when I enter my office, I need to toss any notes I've taken into my In Box for processing; and (2) when I leave my office, I need to check the Out Box to see what can be delivered elsewhere.

Simple things, but they help.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Most expensive training vehicle?

I was listening to the replay of a webinar by datango AG and Neochange about trends in end user adoption of IT applications. One comment really grabbed me:

"With the average cost of a help desk call hovering between 35 and 45 dollars, that's your most expensive training vehicle."

It reminded me of the Fram oil filter slogan quoted often by David Allen:  "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later."  If companies don't invest in training up front, they'll pay more on the back end in help desk calls. But one way or another, there will be a training cost. It's not optional.

Overall, the survey question, "% of Application Budget Spent on End-User Programs" revealed that most of the money spent on end users was skewed to new users (End-user training for new hires) and "laggards" (Help desk support).  Power user support for other users and a self-help knowledge base were second, and Perodic Refresher training for all users was last.

But companies that had a higher than average investment in end user training also had the highest adoption rates - go figure!

The survey can be downloaded from the Neochange link above.