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Time for a mid-year Check Up

In the January 2005 Journal I provided some tips on ReFocusing your work efforts.  (2005 Refocus)  It is now mid year and I want to refresh our memories and drive some stakes in the ground.  This will serve and a reminder to get some stuff done and get moving.

By way of review here is what I proposed in January...

1.  Read the book - most people don't read the help files or any tech books.  Stay ahead by reading.

2.  Take Notes - Make Notes - jot down ideas, complaints, suggestions and then follow up.

3.  Review the Standard - check to see what needs to be updated.

4.  Get Trained - take time to get up to speed for yourself.

5.  Share the wealth - Whatever you learn - pass it on.

6.  Play More - Try out new tech tools.

Now for the mid year review and a few more tips.

Have you been reading whenever you can?  I am now quite amazed by the level of information available on Autodesk and other CAD packages via web sites and blogs.  You can easily get your daily dose of tech tips and pointers. 

Action Item: Check out the blogs.  Here is a list of sites to check out

Do you make more notes than you used to?  Believe me - this will set you apart.  Remembering what someone complained about or wished they could do will make you a star when you deliver.

Action Item: Get a binder and start taking notes.  Review them and make something happen.

Have you taken an honest look at your standard lately (since AutoCAD 2006 came out)?  If you have upgraded the software - you need to upgrade the standard.

Action Item: Get out the standard for review.  Gather a team of reviewers and get them started.  Ask someone to take a look at it that just hired into the firm.  They will see things that your existing users may miss.  They are not part of the "good ol' boy" network yet since they don't know the unspoken standards that fill in the gaps of your documentation.

Have you gotten any training lately?  If you fall behind - the whole company falls behind. 

Action Item: Schedule some training for yourself and your team.  Go to AUGI CAD Camp.  Get out to your local ATC to get some focused training.  At least get your reseller to provide and upgrade class or demo for you.  Anything!

Have you been sharing?  Mother always told you it was good to share.  Keep all those around you up to date also.

Action Item: Schedule a lunch time demo of one facet of the software that you have had the most questions about.  Write up a one page newsletter explaining some new feature.

Do you take time to play?  Do you fiddle with software?  Do you toy with technology?

Action Item:  Take an afternoon to download a tool and check it out.  Save a buck or two on lunch and pack a sandwich so you have a lunch hour to try out the DWF tools.  Come in early or stay late (and avoid traffic) to get some free time to test new utilities or hardware.

And a few new ones:

When was the last time you cleaned off your desk? 

There comes a time when we all need to clear the decks for action.  By cleaning your desk, you get a new perspective and often find items that are outdated that you can discard.  You find old notes that remind you to take a look at some new tools.  You get a refreshing start at the second half of the year.

Action Item:  Clean off your desk.  Be brutal about throwing things away.  If you have not used it since the beginning of the year - get rid of it.  If you have not done anything about that note you left yourself then file it away and move on the more important matters.

When was the last time you attended a User Group meeting? 

Don't underestimate the tips you will get from talking with others.  You can share your tips also.  Talking with other users lets you verify what you are thinking and doing.  How else are we to check our ideas and concepts. 

Action Item: Find a User Group in your area and get involved.  Check www.augi.com to find them.

So take some time to review your current state of mind to see if you need to renew your efforts to get started, keep moving or regroup.

I have a very large note posted in my office that has been there for years.  I cut it out of a magazine a long time ago.  I can see it whenever I look up from my monitor.  It is simple and to the point...