Productive Strategies – Make Downtime Count!

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We all rely on the internet in some form on a regular basis – whether it’s to search for the nearest Tex-Mex restaurant or access your company’s SharePoint site. As an IT product manager, the internet’s role is an integral part of your average work week. Collaborating with colleagues, emailing stakeholders, researching important topics, downloading files… the list goes on and on.

But what happens when you are not able to work online at full capacity? Should you halt work and twiddle your thumbs until all systems are go?

I say, no. It can be a perfect opportunity to utilize offline resources and make your work more efficient in the long run. Below are four suggestions to remain productive, even if your online access is down.

1. Find other ways to collaborate with colleagues.

  • Call them up and have lunch; no harm in discussing requirements over a salmon salad.
  • Sit down in a meeting space and use tried-and-true techniques: brainstorm on paper, use sticky notes, draw on a whiteboard.
  • Set up a conference call with co-workers. Conference calls may seem obvious for group communication, but it’s also a great way to practice elicitation and discussion skills with your colleagues.

2. Your email may be down, but don’t let it get your stakeholders down.

  • Have an alternative way of contact – whether it is your cell phone or a personal email. Keep important contact information for each stakeholder stored on your hard drive.

3. Research outside the box.

  • Find other means to obtain useful information – whether it’s a book about requirements or a printed magazine article in The Economist pertaining to your product, the internet shouldn’t ever be your only source for data collection.

4. Be a well-rounded employee.

  • Write a blog post and save it to your hard drive – if you don’t have a blog, start one when your internet access returns! Share your tips and thoughts to the world of business analysis and product management.
  • Go for a walk – easier said than done in the Texas heat, but take some time to reflect and clear your head – you’ll be thankful when all those emails start rolling back in!
  • Network with co-workers to build stronger relationships – happy hour anyone?

How do you keep productivity levels up when your internet is down? Let me know in the comments section…. we have experienced our own share of outages recently!

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