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Compliments of Auntie P via Flickr

Today I updated my “mentor” report, where I track all my activities in the RODP program. Previously I waited until the report was due, at which time I’d gather the previous year’s items.

Not only did this waste paper (from having to print accomplishments as I went), but it was a pain to (1) print the e-mail relating to the activity; (2) file it; and (3) later rifle through the folder that contained these documents.

I now have a new system. Each time I complete a mentor related task, I instantly log in and update my report. “Record as you go” has freed me from the tedious chore of later recording my activity. My access password for the mentor system is stored in my Buttoned Up® password log, which contains space for 100 passwords, their associated logins and urls. Everything is now at my fingertips, and it’s updated as it happens.

The bonus of organization is freedom – from remembering mundane details and from tracking small bits of paper. As soon as I email my mentees, I move the electronic letter to a labeled Outlook folder (so I can both keep track of what I’ve sent and perhaps resend at a later time).

Material for my training sessions and how to log onto Wimba (the online discussion tool) are stored in my RODP three ring binder. Resources I share with mentees are housed in an online learning object repository (MERLOT) which is neatly sorted by category (Learning Collections, Personal Collections, Learning Exercises, Colleagues across Disciplines, and Guest Experts). Urls pertaining to online learning are stored in a social bookmarking site in my Delicious account, accessible from anywhere. Social bookmarking allows me to share with other people, and to search for related urls.

A place for everything, and everything in its place. Each day I think of how I can streamline a process, eliminate some effort, and preserve work materials. The resultant free time is extraordinary – which is probably why I can blog! If you haven’t tried facilitating throughput, I can honestly say that you’re wasting your time. Try one new electronic gadget/organizing tool each month, and see if you don’t love the way things look.

Once you start, there’s no stopping.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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