My name is Stephanie Evergreen and I work both at The Evaluation Center and at Evergreen Evaluation, LLC. I juggle a lot of projects and I’m always looking for ways to make life a little easier. Here are some of my recent discoveries.
Rad Resource: With multiple contracts, it is important to keep careful track of time. I use yast.com. The service let’s me list multiple projects and assign each a color. When I start work on a project, I just click an arrow and the timer creates a bar across the screen. I can click on the bar to make notes about what task I was doing during that time. A separate counter tells how much time I’ve spent on an individual project over the week. My basic account is free – https://www.yast.com/
Rad Resource: Maybe it’s a pet peeve, but I really dislike scheduling meetings over email – all that back and forth about the best day and time. I now use whenisgood.net. First, I select the days and times that work best for me. The service generates a custom URL that I email to the rest of the folks I’d like to convene. They simply click the link and highlight days and times that work for them. When I log back in, the service lets me know which times work best – and the second-best times that work for most of the group. Happiness. Also free for a basic account – http://whenisgood.net/
Rad Resource: Two words – Google Wave. This new product is like instant messaging, document writing, and video conferencing in one email. Where typical report writing with colleagues takes lots of emailing multiple versions of the document, Wave lets everyone work in one place at the same time. That’s right – you can see the other people typing. Web-based, I have it wherever I go. Colleagues and I have used Wave so far to develop instruments, write reports, enter and analyze data, and plan webinars. A playback feature allows review of what others have contributed while I was away. Its possibilities are more expansive than I can fairly represent here, so I encourage you to… Google it. Wave, though free, is still only available by invite but invites seem to be everywhere (I have some, so feel free to ask – firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @evalu8r).
One precautionary note: Yast and Wave are in “beta” mode, meaning their parent companies are still developing the products as we use them. Could they change something that wipes out your work? Maybe. But if my desktop computer crashes, I also lose everything. If my work is web-based, I’m less at the whim of a single machine.