“[O]ur attraction to a world of infinite possibility, information and complexity is here to stay. The challenge is how to participate productively in this new and turbulent world, and not be paralyzed by it.” –David Allen, “When Office Technology Overwhelms, Get Organized,” The New York Times, 3/18/12
Well-known business consultant David Allen contributed a fascinating column this past weekend to The New York Times, which addresses the conundrum he describes in the quote above. Basically, Allen is writing about what we all feel: technology has made our lives easier but in doing so has also piled a lot more management headaches on us and added job responsibilities onto our shoulders. So, the challenge is, how do we make technology really work for us?
Allen has a lot of great organizational tips, including a simple one that many people ignore at their peril: if something will only take 2 minutes, do it right away. Also, he notes that we need to make lists not just for the sake of list making but to actually get something accomplished.
There’s where we really think secure online data rooms can help. If we are able to organize our files online in an actual system, then we can achieve a few goals straight away:
- We can send people after information found in a clear, centralized place rather than having to create endless email chains trying to get data to people.
- We can track what data is actually being used via analytics and then we can avoid wasting time on data that no one is even bothering to look at.
- We can invite others to contribute to our data rooms, cutting down on work cycles and making work collaborative again.
As Allen says, “To be successful in the new world of work, we need to create a structure for capturing, clarifying and organizing all the forces that assail us; and to ensure time and space for thinking, reflecting and decision making.”
Now, data rooms are just one small step towards this overall goal, but wouldn’t it be nice to clear your desk and clear your mind by putting everything in one organized place and then seeing what gets used when? Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment when things get done—a sense we rarely get in this modern work world—but you can avoid doing work that no one even uses. Now, isn’t that a novel concept.
So, go and get your list started. As Allen says, organize by priority and don’t let the most recent thing become tops just because it is top of mind. And remember to add a bit of free time to that list because once you get your data room up and running, you might even have time to do something for yourself for a change. (Just don’t tell your boss…or your spouse!)