I wrote awhile back about how I used Outlook to keep track of things I’m working on and store reminders for project ideas that would be great to work on someday. I’m still getting the hang of it but I’m a little closer. The Outlook calendar is a great tool. I hadn’t used it much before and remember a time when I didn’t see the point because it wasn’t quite as portable as a paper planner. I can’t seem to keep up a paper planner, though, and I pretty much start and end every day at the computer now so the Outlook calendar is handy for keeping myself on track, even when it comes to something as simple as remembering to do a daily review of where I stand on various projects or leads.
Right now, I have a few projects that I’m jumping between, including paid work and personal projects. A few weeks ago, I started planning a series of articles on Windows application design before I got sidetracked preparing for some upcoming work. This sounds really geeky but I actually enjoyed coming up with a new format for a program specification and writing up the spec for a demonstration program to go with that series.
Then there’s the time I spend in continuing study of programming subjects and software to keep the skills sharp. Microsoft Office 2010 is on its way and Visual Studio 2010 was just released. I’ve barely had the opportunity to work professionally with VS 2008 so I have a professional evaluation copy of that installed on a virtual machine and I’ve been working through a lot of exercises from my earlier .NET training for comparison’s sake. I thought about buying it for home use before it went off the market but finally decided the free express edition would be enough for my use as I already own VS 2005. I might get the 2010 version eventually. The beta of Office 2010 is installed on that same machine and I spent a little time looking over Access 2010 to see how it compared to the 2007 version.
I have a long list of other projects in the hopper if I ever finish the ones I’m working on now. It includes notes to check out development tools like Adobe Air and SharpDevelop or ideas for writing projects. I’ve compared it before to my Amazon wish list. It’s the place where I can keep a reference to anything that catches my attention. In Amazon’s case, it saves me money and bookshelf space. In the case of my project list, it lets me make a note of things and then move on with what I’m working on without forgetting some good ideas.
Of course, I’ll never get to any of them if I keep talking about it here so … back to work.