Advertising
Advertising

5 Uses for a Wiki at Work

5 Uses for a Wiki at Work
MediaWiki

Wikis are very useful for organizing information between groups of people. If you want a really good, quick, “get up to speed” tutorial on wikis, watch this movie by Common Craft. The thing is, once you’re sold on this, you’ve gotta determine when and why to use a wiki in your workplace? What value can they bring? How will you engage your team? Here are some thoughts:

Operations Guides– As fast as you can put down information on what to do in a certain situation at work, it changes. Right? “If the A server goes down, reboot the router.” No… scribble, scribble… Manuals are dead. If I owned a wiki company, I’d sell tee shirts that said “paper is dead.” Wiki-fy your operations manuals (and sure, print them once a month to keep an offline copy, should power go out).

Advertising


Dashboard– There are better calendering options out there, especially for group projects, but a wiki can be a great FOCUS TOOL for upcoming events. If you’ve got the kind of business that works on deadlines, and on projects, it’s a great way to put a kind of “dashboard” that shows deadlines, things to focus on, and maybe key contacts/resources for that time frame.

Water Cooler– In the world of telecommuting, there becomes a need for telecommunity. Throw up an employee-driven wiki page for stuff for sale, outside-of-work events, and other items. It becomes a great way to keep people connected outside of the email stream. (Which is kind of the point of wikis).

Advertising

Fact and FAQ Lists– I find wikis are a great way to share all the easy things you need over and over again. For instance, what’s that command that lets you pipe the output of a query right into a MySQL database? Put a line in the wiki showing that info. Did you switch suppliers? Put a reminder on the fact sheet. Want to gather up product resources quickly with links? Wikis are great for it.

Making Plans– Wikis are excellent ways to build up a project for either inside or outside of work. In the workplace, wikis can be a great place to get the brainstorming down, and then maybe to a second edit before committing the information to a more formal project plan. Wiki as whiteboard, I’m suggesting. I think this makes for a quick way to get lots of ideas thrown together. Imagine gathering around a conference call with everyone working on the same wiki. It’s like getting the whiteboard notes without that extra step of copying. Maybe not as easy as a mind-map, but definitely another way to capture points for planning.

Advertising

And what about you? What are some ways you can envision (or have successfully implemented) in the workplace?

–Chris Brogan blogs at [chrisbrogan.com]. He has a wiki in use for PodCamp Europe a FREE unconference taking place in Stockholm on 12-13 June

Advertising

More by this author

7 Uses for a Virtual Machine When Emailing Think Press Release Mail, BrainDump, Mail, Do Stretch Goals Matter You Had me at Insane

Trending in Featured

1 Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed 2 12 Rules for Self-Management 3 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 4 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 5 How to Master the Art of Prioritization

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

Advertising

To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

Advertising

The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

Advertising

After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

Advertising

8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next