No time like the present to grab mouse by the horns

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James M. Berklan, Editor
James M. Berklan, Editor
It's April. Do you know where your year has gone?

That's not entirely a rhetorical question because even if your fiscal year isn't nearing an end, you could have reason to be feeling a squeeze. 

Nearly one-third of 2008 is gone and if you're like the average worker, you're already behind in your professional goals. (You don't really think, with summer already visible through the windshield, this is going to be the best time to expect a ton of extra work from those around you, do you?)

But there is a sure way to get yourself on the right path. Whether you own the place, manage the floor or take your orders from too many people to count, you can help by tackling something “technical.” That is clearly one of the biggest lessons gleaned from this month's feature on information technology (see pages 54-56).

No matter what your station is on the “tech” totem pole, you and those around you can do better. And should. Nearly no preparation will go wasted because “going technical” with assistive devices or better software is no longer really a question. It's a recurring event. Be there, or be behind.

You need your 12-year-old to roll his eyes, snatch the mouse out of your hand and say, “Here, THIS is the way you (insert simple computer task here)” only once or twice to hammer the point across.

In addition to this month's excellent feature article, one of the biggest reasons for this tech entreaty has to do with a conversation I had recently with an administrator I've known for quite a while. A longtime holdout on computerizing his small operation, he hit me with a battery of questions out of nowhere one day: Where could he get some good handheld technology? Who was software for maximizing Medicare reimbursements? Who has good software for handling Medicaid? And so on.

This was a changed man, and if he was finally “getting” it, then progress really was in the air.

Unfortunately, though, there is no rest for the computer weary. Many of us realized long ago that the line about computers freeing us to partake in more leisure activities was obviously just some sinister Bill Gates gag. Even with “high-touch” professionals, more time has simply meant more computer time.

But not if you don't get started.

Take your eyes off the screen for a picnic or two, or perhaps even a mini-vacation, and soon talk is going to be about how to “mop up” the fall months before setting new goals for 2009.