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How did it get to be December?  As usual, I find myself behind in planning, shopping, baking and my Christmas cards.  Years ago, I would shop (and make gifts) throughout the year, with a plan that took into account the world without the Internet.  My photo Christmas cards had to be taken, the film sent in, and then I had a long wait for the pictures to come back.   I would select one, send the negative back in and order my cards.  Weeks later, I had the final product.  This year, I shot the pictures and minutes later, was selecting from the assortment, uploading the chosen one, configuring the exact card stock and the message I wanted – the whole process took about 15 minutes, including posing my rabbit, Cisco.  My shopping consisted of surfing the web and selecting items which were delivered either to recipients afar, or to me for wrapping.  Even recipe planning is simply a click away. With the simplicity of the web, my only problem was waiting too long to get started.

 

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You may have applied these principles to your Christmas planning, but have you done the same at work?  Are you frantically working in a reactive manner, not exploiting the new capabilities that your software can offer you? Do you have too much shelf-ware?  It is easy to find yourself caught up in the emergency of the moment, but the only way to work smarter, not harder, is to shift your thinking from how you have always done things to how you should be doing them now.  If you hate the long lines and crowds and endless reels of the same Christmas carol in your mall stores and have found a way to avoid it, why not find a way to automate any processes you can at work, so you can free yourself up for much more interesting work?

 

The Web Christmas is all about performance – how fast you can get everything done.  The deadline is fixed, so you have no choice but to be efficient.  Let your software tools make you more efficient at work.  Take the time to install and configure automation to collect and transform data, manage alerts, build your web sites and post your reports.  The web didn’t make picking our Christmas gifts easier – it just made it easier to buy them.  Software doesn’t take away the need for smart technicians – it simply empowers them to spend their time on analysis, interpretation and decision-making.  My love is performance and capacity planning.  And back in the day, just like my old-style Christmas, I spent way too much time on minutiae, such as running SAS jobs against raw SMF data, massaging that into Harvard Graphics, then writing html code to post to a web site.  What are you doing today that you should have given over to automation a long time ago?

 

Give yourself the best Christmas gift of all this year – the gift of time.  None of us can truly accomplish all we need to do for our jobs without making the most of the software we own.  Make this next year the year that you get smarter about how you do your job.  We could all use a little more time, couldn’t we?