My younger son leaving for\u00a0Ft. Hood after basic.\n\n\nI apologize for my absence. My son graduated from basic training and I was out of town to attend that ceremony and then playing catch up on my return.\nThis is officially part one of an unofficial four-part series I am doing on Time, Tasks and Information Management Strategies and Tools for IT Executives. If you are a business executive, marketing executive or freelance\/independent consultant, you can also come along for the ride.\nMy unofficial series plan:\nPart 1: Systems, Strategies and Tools for Time, Tasks and Information Management\nPart 2: Using Google Drive for Your Team Collaboration\nPart 3: Using Evernote and Google Calendar for Time and Task Management\nPart 4: Evernote and Google for Information Management\nAbout Systems, Strategies and Tools\nThroughout these blog entries I will hope to impart information you can use to put a system (or systems) in place for team collaboration, your personal tasks management, and information management \u2014\u00a0both personal and shared.\nMy oft-repeated admonishment to clients:\nThere is no such thing as \u201cThe System\u201dbut \u201ca system and your diligence\u201d is critical!\nPeople frequently spend an inordinate amount of time searching for the perfect system (aka: The System) and never implement a system that works. They\u2019re looking for the silver bullet of time, tasks and information management.\nIn the end, such a system does not exist until a system (almost any system) is put into place, worked with some diligence and adjusted over time. Diligence, as much as anything, is the critical component to the success of what becomes \u201cyour system.\u201d\nYour System\nI\u2019ll talk about this more later. My system is an amalgamation of systems, strategies and tools I've been exposed to, my own ideas, and an understanding of how I work. I\u2019ll teach you aspects of the systems I use but in the end, you must make the systems work for you. In doing that, you will likely create a unique system \u2014 your system.\nAs you hear about or ponder new systems, strategies and tools, don\u2019t be afraid to try something out and see how it fits. And don\u2019t be afraid to drop what seems outdated or simply does not work.\nDevelop Baseline Requirements for Successful Systems\nDon\u2019t over think this, because, as indicated above, your requirements will change as you begin using, adopting or creating your system.\nOne of the critical lessons I teach in project development and entrepreneurship is that \u201caction beats analysis\u201d every time! \u00a0I\u2019m not suggesting that no forethought or planning occur, but as with agile development (that works), analysis, with rapid action and adjustment during the process, creates better analysis, i.e.,\u00a0you learn more in the first four weeks implementing your new endeavor (business or project) than you did in the six months of planning prior to that implementation.\nStill, here are a couple baseline requirements I have for my system. You may use these as starting points or create your own list.\nAccessible\nMobility and Cloud: That\u2019s important to me. I love my laptop but it isn't with me all the time. I don\u2019t particularly like working on my phone but I want access to the necessary information.\nI also want to know I can get to it from a borrowed computer.\nSecure\nThis is a constant evaluation and consideration. As with anything tech and information based, you should have a policy for your own passwords. (Yeah, IT people suck at this too.) Also, understand and consider how you are accessing your data \u2014\u00a0and your true risks factors. Does anyone really care about the information?\nWe can banter security for days, but that's not my goal. Just make sure you are comfortable with yours.\nEasy to Maintain\nOne of the main knocks I have about CRM systems, for instance, is that they are often time and step intensive. Sales people don\u2019t use them for that reason.\nA highly integrated but complicated task or project system is rarely conducive to diligent use. And remember, your diligence is the most critical aspect of your system\u2019s success.\nBeware feature-itis, and don't believe in silver bullets. Simpler taxonomy\/categorization equals information that is easier to find and maintain. Rarely do more complicated systems result in greater clarity. We avoid what is complex and time-consuming.\nDone properly, your system should require less than 15 dedicated minutes per day!\nEasily Shared\/Collaborative\nA must for me! If I cannot turn over and provide access to my system for my manager and key team members, too much burden is placed on me. It makes delegation a hassle and creates unnecessary and inefficient roadblocks to your system's effectiveness.\nNo System Is a Bad System\nYou know the adage, \u201cfailure to plan is to plan to fail.\u201d\nThis is very true for your time, task and information management strategy...or lack thereof.\nOne barrier to putting a system in place is the time necessary to do so. There is no avoiding it,\u00a0you must front-load some work to put a system into place. However, by doing so, you reap long-term rewards.\nI\u2019ll make this easier for you. Choose a tool or technology (some ideas below) to list your primary to-do list for the week\u2026but you only get 10 minutes per day to add to and look at this list. Ten minutes is doable for anyone!\nI give you permission to use a spreadsheet. You can use Excel or better yet, a Google Sheet (mobility\/accessibility) if you are familiar with it. I\u2019ll even allow you to use paper and a pen for the next week. (I\u2019m being facetious, of course. It\u2019s your system. If you want to use a paper and pen and nothing else, that\u2019s your call!)\nI\u2019ll have my Google Drive for Team Collaboration piece ready to go next week.\nAlso, feel free to share the requirements for your system or any related ideas in the comments.