What I am looking for
I am trying to find tools that can help me stay focused on the list priorities and thus improve productivity. I face a problem with my work and nature. I feel this is related to the current question and more so to rephrase it and put it in proper context and make it more useful for many people.
One tool I heavily rely upon is my Outlook on my laptop in Windows XP. As I am a ops team, I get hundreds of mail from developers, managers and quality assurance and others, not entirely directed towards me, but including me (though mailing list) so that I am aware of what is happening around me. And then there are thousands of machine generated alerts that monitoring processes sends to me.
I have placed filters and folders for machine generated alerts to my outlook. And some filters and folders for mailing list communication and a separate folder for communication directed only to me. But with the amount of mails each day, staying focused on whats happening in email itself seems like a full time task.
How do you guys manage to stay on top of emails and yet stay focused on real work?
And then speaking of emails, I have personal email id, which gets bombarded with mails on my money transaction details like my credit card spending, etc. And also i am a part of local LUG group which sends me at least 4 or 5 emails a day (low volume LUG). And then one more spiritual ML discussion & my cousins family (so that we can stay together even when we are hundred of miles separated and spread across the country) ML (again low volume ML) of about 4 or 5 mails a day.
Then there are these promotions and offers on things I have spend or done. (i am not taking about unsolicited , random offers. Those automatically gets filtered as spam). So email is a big task. Most of time online is spend on emails and now a days I don't like to check my mails as it started getting routine work. And I know what would be there even before I enter the mail URL in browser or open outlook except for some strange unexpected surprises which is why I still stick to it.
And then there is this machine alert that turns critical and i miss to notice it and then one colleague of mine laughs at me saying you missed it. At which point I go mad and curse myself. And start working. How do you stay focused on your priorities and rearrange the priority based on changes in situation. Is there any other tool better than outlook task. To get organized.
I have realized the importance of being organized in my life, learned it the hard way. I was a very clumsy and messy in scheduling and maintaining my desk. I relied on my brain to keep track of things. Now I realize that as things go more and more loaded, replying on brain memory capabilities is not going to scale beyond a point.
So, I am hunting for a tool to help me out.
I see that for a sales thing there are so many software that puts the things in perspective. Like SAP for example. it gives report of what is happening in your production line. And inventory management in IT, etc. So why is there is nothing in personal productivity (not at the same scale as SAP, but at level similar to personal), after all companies productivity comes from productive individuals. Vice versa, individuals who are not able to get them organized cannot be much productive to the company when they have trouble managing themselves.