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weekly synopsis/summary methods?

weekly synopsis/summary methods?

(OP)
anyone else try to keep weekly work summaries (for personal as well as project activity)?
Since graduating college I never kicked the habit of using our university academic planner (essentially a truncated DayTimer) but it tends to get crowded with personal as well as work notes, meeting times, deadlines and the like. (and I still have most of my paper academic planners all the way back to junior college days!)
Also my day to day notes, priorities and "To Do's" typically end up on 3x5 cards where I can run a satisfying black SHARPY line thru completed tasks at which point they get discarded

Hoping to come up with something better (probably electronic) that allows me to 1) summarize what I did this week thus allowing me to assign hours to applicable project; 2) be able state to my supervisor or sponsor what I did on a particular week; 3) is fun, easy and simple to use!! (likely the first stipulation to get tossed out)

Seems like good old WORD DOCX is the simple answer but curious to see how others deal with this

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I set up Outlook tasks to behave like my old Day Timer pads.

I created custom columns "ABCDP" and "123...". Put my tasks in, then prioritize them like Day Timer. Engage the Auto Sort to sort first on "ABCDP" and then "123..."

As I rapidly approach being a "senior" I really DGAF much anymore about retention, but it can be done.

TygerDawg
Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering
www.bluetechnik.com

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

For many years, I maintained 'chron' files for each project, and one for everything else, updated as often as I could through the day, using Notepad. <F5> gives you a nice time stamp with which to start or end a paragraph, as you wish, and several third party utilities allow you to search through the resulting .txt files to find out what you did, what you said, what the other person said, etc.

Some of my notes became discovery material for court actions, so I suggest keeping opinions and conjectures out of notes, except to support your reasoning for decisions.

Waiting until the end of the week, or even the end of the day, risks having your accounts clouded by fuzzy memory and otherwise imprecise, and not up to the standard of a 'contemporaneous' record.

"If you didn't write it down, it didn't happen".
... has a sort of corollary, like,
"If you didn't write it down when it happened, then what you remembered about what happened is probably wrong or incomplete."

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I use a spreadsheet that is structured similarly to Outlook Tasks for project management type to-do's, a whiteboard for personal to-do's, and a hard copy journal for documenting daily activities, important meeting notes, etc.

I don't have to keep particularly good track of billable hours anymore (thankfully), but when I did, I used a separate excel sheet that was structured just like our digital time card but with a notes section for each line item.

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I'm also on board with using Outlook to track my tasks. It's nice for keeping me on track with designs, and for higher priority or visibility projects I can set it up to automatically update my project lead for the mandatory status reports associated with hot projects.

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

My first employer after college had a rather amazing database for project planning. At the beginning of each project you created as thorough of a project plan as possible with plenty of "may do XYZs" built in. Every week you met briefly with a project planner to review a portion of each project's plan and add/delete tasks and change dates as necessary. Daily you received an email with your worklist and a couple buttons to signify what you'd worked on. Depending on your assigned projects' plans' dates and the work completed, your supervisor was given notice of tasks being late (after 3 days IIRC) and took appropriate action. Reviewing work completed for employee reviews was fairly easy since everything was tracked as was accurately guesstimating project length and cost.

Since I am now working for a smaller firm with a much wider variety of projects and unpredictable timelines due to unpredictable customers, I primarily use a kanban board app on my phone and don't track things much further than a month in either direction.

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

(OP)
thanks for the suggestions all. I guess its time to take another look at Outlook, it got so much bad press for so many years (security vulnerabilities I believe) that I became a THunderbird adherent ever since. Tbird has a 'task pane' capability but I shy away from platform or program specific add-ons. Recalling late 2000's when the PalmPilot was all the rage, cant imagine how I would ever recover data from that (if I still had it...) I figure if I stay with a Microsoft product it has a reasonably high chance of lasting more than a few years (Outlook, Excel, Word)
-s

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I use a spreadsheet with a list. No matter what the program, one key I discovered is don't list what you have to do, list the large umbrella projects in order of priority, and then when you do something for that project, update that project with a brief, 6-word description of what you did. It acts as a bookmark to come back to later and makes a decent on-the-fly report if needed. Also, I occasionally send my supervisor the list which reminds him of what's on my plate and he may opt to re-align the priorities.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I provide weekly project reports to Clients, which forces me to be proactive. Monthly project reports tend to make me forgetful or maybe it's lazy. Weekly reports work well to update in Word on a daily basis so, by Friday, it's ready to go. That also keeps people more at ease about progress. Clients always want to see progress even if they've added significantly to your scope.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

<useless tangent>
Before I was dragged kicking and screaming into using Windows, I used Lotus Agenda to keep track of everything,
all in one file.
Making a report on any subject for any period of time was a simple matter of constructing a template/view for what I wanted to show, and letting Agenda fill it in.
... which Agenda could do because it spent idle time, usually all night, beating the hell out of hard drives, building indexes and cross-linking entries, that were entered as free form blocks of text. Agenda understood context like 'next Tuesday', and 'Ed SoAndSo', and usually guessed right when differentiating 'Ed SoAndSo' from 'Ed WhatHisFace', depending on which project was already associated with each Ed.

Then the world changed; IBM bought Lotus, then killed Agenda.
They asserted that Lotus Notes was a competent replacement, but a two-suit team couldn't get it to work on our network, much less demonstrate what it could do, or that it could do anything at all.
IBM kindly provided a visually attractive but useless Windows version of a pocket organizer, demonstrating conclusively that they had no idea what Agenda did/was.

Agenda was never replaced with anything remotely similar, by anyone.
(If that is no longer true, please so inform me, as I would pay actual money for a decent replacement.)

</useless ...>

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

(OP)
Lotus Agenda and 1-2-3, WordPerfect - next we'll be advocating bringing back slide rules winky smile
I recall going to the Magellan launch, that worked pretty well for me til my supervisor found out it worked well and dis-allowed its use. Since we were developing our own contact and scheduling software (specifically for legal firms) it was decided we would build our own rather than use COTS. A lot of salary money went down that hole but I sure learned a lot from the experience programming in dBase IV

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I haven't had a system with Outlook in years, and don't miss it.

After years of DayTimer, I went to DaVinci, then Palm, and have been Google Calendar since leaving my Palm Treo. I've carried records for many years. Why would I mention this? Because it's up to you, your habits, and ability to surf systems. I'm satisfied with cloud-based, because it is solid and secure. Let me clarify, I use apps which update my data to/from cloud at least daily. I enter stuff into events on Google calendar, or as separate events, then I can review them in daily, weekly, monthly, or list modes and can quickly summarize things at my keyboard with or without using copy and paste, into a doc, email, cell, you name it. I think that Google calendar is nearly a market/public standard time and event database, and many apps import, export and interface with it (Outlook could/can).

I'm currently using an Android phone, and CalenGoo as my interface, but plenty of alternates are out there. Incidentally, another Android app which may be very useful for you is NoteEverything, but you must actively backup your data to Dropbox or something,,, or live to regret it.

.

(Me,,,wrong? ...aw, just fine-tuning my sarcasm!)

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

(OP)
HCBFlash - totally agree, I think the moral of this story (thread) is find what works for you and roll with it, faults and all. Seems like all the responses have their +/- sides. We've been using GoogleCalendar for a few years now for our group activities calendar but with more of our work requiring 'secure' environment we're now dumping GoogleCalendar to some unknown/unannounced platform (perfect!)
My greatest apprehension is any electronic system ("THIS IS THE LAST ________ THAT YOU WILL EVER NEED!!!") that is here one day and gone the next - my paper DayTimer is looking pretty robust after all

BTW I'm on Apple iPhone; I'm in my mid 50's, I'm too old to be trying to type stuff on a ridiculous little screen into a GoogleCalendar note....

now where on earth did i put my HB#2 pencil....???

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I keep a list of tasks (projects) in order of priority and a short sentence or phrase indicating current phase and "as of" date. I also tag them as either "critical path mine," " critical path others - stalled," or "critical path others - progressing." I always push on the top priority task. When I run a task to the latter of the two tags, I move to the next on the list. Kept in a four-column spreadsheet, I can easily print off the first page and pass it on to the boss.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I have Outlook on my computer but still actively used a Franklin Planner for the past 30 years. They both work for me.

RE: weekly synopsis/summary methods?

I went to Microsoft Exchange because Gmail randomly dropped contacts.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

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