In my line of work, there are just too many things to keep track. Among them are meetings, project datelines, notes, troubleshooting issues, expiration dates of e-resources, renewal dates, license agreements, metadata issues, access questions, ebook/e-journal requests, … the list keeps going on.
How do I keep track of all these? One of the first methods that I used was noting down in a little notebook followed by pasting 3M post-its on my table, computer screens, coffee mugs … and anything else that I can use to stick those post-its. I would not say that writing down and post-its are not productive/efficient. They do. But as the list keeps growing at an alarming rate, I realized that I needed something more dynamic and robust to keep track the various projects, tasks routines as well as other miscellaneous stuff.
I tried to use different notebooks for various projects, daily routines and the like but it would be too troublesome and I could build a big library keeping all those notebooks. (I’d rather keep one journal to note down the daily happenings in my life). I needed something that could allow me to see everything on one page at a single glance. That’s when I discovered the following 3 cloud services while trawling the internet for answers.
How this tool has helped me:
- Keep all my critical notes by different category. I can easily organize all my notes under different headers. For example, I could slot several notes on electronic resources such as important IP ranges, Proxy information, useful tips and so forth under Electronic Resources.
- Organize all my ideas, thoughts and suggestions in a single place. These items could be stuff to write about any potential conference(s), training topics, improving workflows/procedures or even paper for submission to journal(s).
- Import any significant Outlook emails into Evernote for future references. So instead of searching/browsing those emails in Outlook, I can extract them into Evernote and save them under different headings.
- Keep interesting presentation slides and make side notes on them.
- Clip interesting articles on the Internet and convert them into Evernote notes. I can then read these articles at a later time.
- More info can be found here.
(I got to know this while on a study visit to Duke University. I met the Head of the Acquisitions team who showed me how easy it was to track their purchases using Trello). How this tool has helped me:
- Organize different tasks for separate projects under one roof. I can create multiple ‘boards’ to store various functions. I can then monitor the progress of each of these tasks.
- Control tasks that I have delegated to other team members. I can track and check if there is a backlog.
- Attaching file from DropBox or other places to the task(s) that I have created. In this way, I do not have to toggle the different apps while looking for some information.
- Create checklists and due dates for various tasks.
- Import Outlook emails and embed them into a task.
- Check this site for a tour of Trello.
- Save my documents (pdf, ppt, doc, Xls and much more) in the cloud. I can retrieve them later wherever I am (need Internet connection).
- Save the space on my laptop/desktop
- Access on different mobile devices.
- Info on Dropbox.
What about you? What tool(s) work for you and what doesn’t?