Great Week To Reduce That IT To Do List

I always enjoy working the week between Christmas and New Years. It's a great time to take care of those projects you can't do while the office is full and busy with business and people. It's also nice to enjoy a little bit quieter atmosphere around the office, and maybe spend time hanging with some folks who also chose to work the week.

Some years I have big projects on my list for this week; major system upgrades, installing new software or replacing hardware, network configuration or rewiring, etc. It usually entails wearing clothes I can get dirty crawling around wiring closets, data centers or under desks. I also like to verify backups during this week. You can never be too sure because when you need those images, and you don't want to be left holding the bag in '09 saying "we should have tested the backups."

Other years this week is for the little things that don't seem to get done when you're running around with your hair on fire like most normal days. It might be cleaning up the data center or lab, reorganizing a few storage bins or bookshelves so you can throw out some old manuals and disks you can now more easily get online.

There are usually things I try not to touch during this week as well. Internal software apps that might break or require the expertise of a developer who's out of the office for the week are the first to stay away from. Best not awaken any software "genie" problems you might not be able to get back into the bottle. Remote access is another area for caution. Even though everyone may not be banging down the firewall or VPN server to get in, folks do need access during the week to take care of emergencies, year end duties and make sure no fires are ready to ignite in their inboxes. It can also be touch-and-go as to whether its a good time to upgrade that email system, but then again, is there ever a *good* time to upgrade Microsoft Exchange? It's like 911; everyone expects it to be on 24x7x365 so this may be as good a time as any.

It's also a good time to lay out some goals and make a few plans for 2009. You can't get lost if you don't know where you're going, I always say. Start by identifying 3 things you WILL accomplish in the first 90 days of 2009. Then put that in the context of 2 or 3 things you want to do for the year. Those goals may be about work or they can be about you. Maybe you want to get that certification exam done, learn a new piece of software by testing it at home or in the lab, or achieve some things for your career goals. This can be about you, the job or the work situation. Maybe it's an attitude shift; time to leave a few things in 2008 behind you and not carry that baggage into 2009. Now's a good time for a little bit of reflection, and there are lots of reasons to look forward and do just little bit of planning. It's never to late to set the path you want to travel.

One other suggestion about the week. Most places I've worked I've established a tradition for the week: everyone in the office that week picks a day and goes to the movies together. Just a nice little perk for the week. We all get together and decide what movies we'd like to see, what's already been seen, and what's on the don't bother list. It usually happens on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon and it lets everyone see one of those must-see movies that hit the theaters during the holidays.

Enjoy your week and I hope you get some things knocked off your IT to do list. If you're looking for some movie ideas, I really enjoyed Benjamin Buttons and Valkyrie, and The Spirit is a good geeky move that's on my list to see. 

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