10+ Microsoft Office add-ins to simplify your work

Add-ins are special COM files that extend the functionality of a program. In other words, they make your work simpler. Office’s popularity — and occasionally, its limitations — makes it a perfect candidate for add-ins. Microsoft provides a number of them, but most add-ins are third-party products, and many are free. Here’s a list of some of the most popular add-ins for Microsoft Office.

1: Save as or print to PDF or XPS

Without a doubt, one of the questions I receive most often is how to save an Access report as a PDF file. Adobe Systems created the PDF format more than a decade ago. Because of its flexibility and universal appeal, it’s now an open standard.

XML Paper Specification (XPS) is an XML-based specification that supports device and resolution independence, developed by Microsoft. In other words, content isn’t at the mercy of the client’s browser and local settings.

Microsoft offers a free add-in for Office 2007, Microsoft 2007 Save as PDF or XPS. You might also try, PDF995, CutePDFWriter, and PrimoPDF.

2: MathType with Word

MathType is an interactive equation editor that creates mathematical notations in Word. It’s flexible enough to handle Web pages, desktop publishing tools, PowerPoint presentations, and more. It’s a must for anyone writing scientific, engineering, and mathematical papers.

Microsoft also offers Microsoft Math, an add-in that eases the task of creating graphs, performs calculations, and solves for variables in Word 2007.

3: Lookeen for Outlook 2003 and 2007

This search tool integrates into your local system to search all Outlook folders, including archived folders, and it’s quick! You can search mail, attachments, appointments, tasks, notes, and contacts, all at the same time.

4: Search Commands

Do you support frustrated users who can’t find commands and features in Office 2007? Install Search Commands on their local systems. This innovative add-in drops in a new tab that allows users to enter their own words to find commands. It’s easy to implement and it works great.

5: MZ-Tools

If you write your own VBA solutions, you need MZ-Tools. This customizable add-in has a number of features that will make the time you spend coding more productive and efficient:

  • Write better code and find existing code faster.
  • Apply default properties with a single click.
  • Quickly document code by inserting custom headers into modules.
  • Automatically add line numbers and error handlers to procedures.

6: Total Access Analyzer

Total Access Analyzer analyzes your Access database objects to expose hidden problems, forgotten objects, and more. It cross-references objects and creates data flow diagrams. Use this add-in to document your code, find missing objects and variables, and uncover scoping issues. Total Access Analyzer finds errors, suggests changes, and offers tips for improving performance. It’s a bit pricey, but developers who use it say it’s worth it.

7: SimplyVBA Global Error Handler

SimplyVBA Global Error Handler displays effective information about each error:

  • The procedure and module where the error occurred
  • A traceable iteration through the call stack to the error

VBA developers will appreciate this add-in’s robust error handling.

8: Office Live

Office Live lets you open (and save) documents in Office Live Workspace directly from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Mozilla Firefox users will need an additional plug-in. Be careful, though, as this is more than a simple add-in. It requires specific updates and will download and install them, if you haven’t already.

9: Personal Folders Backup

Outlook stores all your mail, calendar items, contacts, and so on in a PST file. If something happens to it, you could lose all of your correspondence, tasks, appointments, and contact information. Backing up this file is a vital part of any maintenance routine. Personal Folders Backup is an add-in that backs up PST files at regular intervals. (If you’re on Microsoft Exchange Server, this add-in probably isn’t necessary, as your administrator is backing up PST files.)

10: Mail Merge Toolkit

Merging documents is a huge feature with a few limitations. Mail Merge Toolkit extends the existing merge capabilities in Outlook, Word, and Publisher so you can:

  • Personalize the subject.
  • Attach files to messages.
  • Send HTML or RTF messages, regardless of security settings.
  • Send messages from Publisher in GIF format.

11: Mail Merge for PowerPoint

It’s hard to think of merging a PowerPoint presentation, but if you need that capability, you’ll appreciate PPTools Merge. This add-in merges data from Excel tab- or comma-delimited files into PowerPoint text boxes, pictures, notes, and hyperlinks. You can merge data, pictures, movies, sounds, and external text files. For instance, you could use this add-in to print award certificates for members of your audience at the end of your program instead of printing them later and mailing them.

12: Narration Timing Tweaker

PowerPoint lets you record an audio narration to enhance (or guide) a slide show. However, it’s a winner-take-all type of feature. If an event needs tweaking, you have to start from scratch and it’s difficult to get it right the first or even the second time. Narration Timing Tweaker allows you to fine-tune the narration portion of a slide show.

13: OLAP PivotTable Extensions for Excel 2007

There’s more to Excel 2007’s PivotTables feature than Excel lets on. This add-in extends the OLAP PivotTable Extensions to include Analysis Services cubes. It doesn’t actually offer more functionality, it just provides an interface to use what’s already there.

14: Access 2007 Developer Extensions and Runtime

The Access 2007 Developer Extensions and Runtime add-in helps developers get a solution to market. This add-in supplies tools for packaging, deployment, licensing, and distribution agreements.

15: Blueprint for Outlook

Printing is a bit limited in Outlook, even Outlook 2007. Blueprint for Outlook adds a few printing features that Outlook ought to offer but doesn’t. You can print a single page or selected text, quickly automate a custom print task, or print an attachment.

16: CrossEyes for Word

If you work with long documents, you know that formatting can take on a life of its own. CrossEyes demystifies Word’s formatting codes so you can identify problems and resolve them.

17: Microsoft Outlook SMS

With the help of Microsoft Outlook SMS, you can send SMS text messages through most Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) mobile phones, connected to a PC using Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007. You enter the message in an Outlook-type message form and then send that message to a mobile phone without third-party software or a subscription to a mobile network service if you connect the phone to a PC.

18: AddInSpy

Use AddInSpy to develop new add-ins for Office and to troubleshoot existing Office add-ins. Although Microsoft offers this free download through Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN), it doesn’t support it. Despite that, it’s one of my favorites.

ref: http://read.pk/ezine/2009/03/20/10-microsoft-office-add-ins-to-simplify-your-work/

10+ phrases that can be irritating or offensive

1: Calm down / get a grip / chill [out] / take a chill pill / relax
These phrases, when said to an upset person, are intended to make the person less upset. Unfortunately, they usually have the opposite effect, like that of throwing gasoline instead of water onto a fire. You’re probably going to make things worse. In all the classes I’ve run on customer service, I have heard of exactly one instance in which this phrase worked. Therefore, stay away from it, because the odds are against you.
When people are upset, they usually have to calm down of their own accord. Nothing you can say can make that process faster.
2: What’s the problem? (when taking a help desk call)
This question can sound confrontational. In addition, the other person might think you’re implying that the “problem” is with him or her personally. Better alternatives include, “What’s going on?” or asking specifically about a person’s computer, e.g. “It sounds like your computer has a problem.”
3: Okay? (at the end of an answer)
As a stand-alone answer, “Okay” is okay. Your co-worker says, “I’ll be back in 10 minutes,” and you answer “Okay.” Or someone falls in the parking lot, and you run over and ask, “Are you okay?” That’s okay as well. On the other hand, a problem potentially arises when you’re answering a question such as, “When will the patch be available?” If you answer, “It will be ready by Thursday afternoon, okay?” it could strike people as an impatient answer. In general, try to avoid appending that “okay” to your statements or questions. I realize it’s common in parts of the United States, but it can be taken the wrong way. Dropping it takes nothing away from your previous statement. It still will be okay.
4: That’s not my job
This one is tricky. We all have multiple responsibilities and heavy workloads. Yet we need to be careful about giving the impression that we’re passing the buck.
If you’re asked to do something that you know is someone else’s responsibility, say so positively, for example, “That is xxx’s responsibility.” Granted, you still run the risk of appearing to pass the buck. But you can do something else to be helpful. Explain where to find the right person or provide the correct phone number. In other words, still try to impart value.
5: What’s up? / What can I do for you?
These phrases are great if you’re trying to get work done, and a visitor stops at your cubicle. The phrases are polite but still carry the message of, “Please get to the point, because I’m busy.” But if you do use these phrases, make sure that really is your situation. If you use them in other circumstances, it might be taken the wrong way.
6: Do you hear me?
If you’re really interested in whether someone has heard and understood you on a particular matter, this phrase is the wrong one to use. That person could interpret the phrase as an implication that the two of you disagree on the matter or that you’re aggravated with him or her. If that’s not the case, you may have unnecessarily created a problem or alienated the person. Alternatives might include “Are we okay on that?” or “How clear was I?” or “I hope that was clear.”
7: You don’t understand / you’re confused
I always used to wonder why Professor Woodward, in my contracts class, would say, “That’s an interesting way of looking at it” or “I never thought of it that way.” Then I realized he was really saying, “What an idiotic statement” but was too polite to say so out loud.
Even if the other person is confused, saying so usually doesn’t help things. Better, therefore, to focus on the issue rather than the person. Consider saying instead, “I’d like to make sure everyone is clear on this” or, “I sense some confusion here.”
8: He / she (third-person references in the person’s presence)
Dale Carnegie once said that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in the world. Failing to use it can cause a problem. Let’s say John, your co-worker, comes to you to discuss a matter, during which time, he asks a question you can’t answer. You call in Sue, and when Sue arrives, you say to her in John’s presence, “He wants to know the answer to…”  Your failure to use John’s name in this case could offend John. It would be better to simply use his name and say, “John wants to know the answer to…” If you don’t know someone’s name (e.g., the person is a customer, and you need to call your supervisor/boss to come over), simply ask for the name before speaking to your boss. Then, use that name when you do. The other person will be much happier.
9: Mister
If you’re going to use Mister, always follow it with a surname. Using “Mister” by itself is considered rude. If I am addressing a male person whom I don’t know, I will say “Sir.”
10: You didn’t…
Using “you” can make the other person defensive, because it may sound as if you’re being accusatory. Put the focus on the action rather than on the person. Besides, that person might not have been at fault. If you say to a caller, “You didn’t submit a request form,” the statement could cause offense. And if the caller did submit the form, but it’s still in transit, your statement would be wrong. Better to say, “I haven’t received the request form.”
11: Of course
Avoid using this phrase as a synonym for “Yes.” Answering a question with “Of course” carries with it the unspoken follow-on, “you idiot.” A matter that’s obvious to you may not be obvious to the other person.
I can think of only one instance where “Of course” is okay as a substitute for “Yes”: when you’re giving unexpected good news to the other person, and thus the other person will be happy at your answer. So “Of course” or even “But of course” is appropriate as an answer to these questions:
“The project finished ahead of schedule and under budget?”
“The problem’s been resolved?”
“You’re paying for lunch?”
ref: http://read.pk/ezine/2009/03/20/10-phrases-that-can-be-irritating-or-offensive/
author: Calvin Sun consults with clients to address and resolve organizational issues and writes and speaks on this topic.

10 TIPS for Good Night’s SLEEP

Stick to a schedule. Erratic bedtimes do not allow for your body to align to the proper circadian rhythms. Mum was right when she set a time we always had to go to sleep as kids. Also, make sure you try to keep the same schedule on weekends too, otherwise the next morning, you’d wake later and feel overly tired.
Sleep only at night. Avoid daytime sleep if possible. Daytime naps steal hours from nighttime slumber. Limit daytime sleep to 20-minute, power naps.
Exercise. It’s actually known to help you sleep better. Your body uses the sleep period to recover its muscles and joints that have been exercised. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercise stimulates the body and aerobic activity before bedtime may make falling asleep more difficult.

Taking a hot shower or bath before bed helps bring on sleep because they can relax tense muscles.

Avoid eating just before bed. Avoid eat large meals or spicy foods before bedtime. Give yourself at least 2 hours from when you eat to when you sleep. This allows for digestion to happen (or at least start) well before you go to sleep so your body can rest well during the night, rather than churning away your food.

Avoid caffeine. It keeps you awake and that’s now what you want for a good nights sleep. We all know that.

Read a fiction book. It takes you to a whole new world if you really get into it. And then take some time to ponder over the book as you fall asleep. I find as I read more and more, regardless of the book, I get more tired at night and so find it easier to fall asleep. Different for others?

Have the room slightly cooler. I prefer this to a hot room. I prefer to turn off the heat and allow the coolness to circulate in and out of the windows. If I get cold, I wear warmer clothes. It also saves on the bills as you’re not going to require the heat all night long.
Sleep in silence. I find sleeping with no music or TV on more easy and restful. I guess others are different, but sleep with no distractions is best for a clearer mind.

Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It’s a depressant; although it may make it easier to fall asleep, it causes you to wake up during the night. As alcohol is digested your body goes into withdrawal from the alcohol, causing nighttime awakenings and often nightmares for some people.

10 big brands



2008 Rank: 1
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $66,667
Parent Company: Coca-Cola (KO)

Olympic sponsorship boosted its profile in Asia, where sales are surging. But Coke continued to record sluggish sales in its home market.


2008 Rank: 2
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $59,031
Parent Company: International Business Machines (IBM)

A resurgent tech-services business together with highly profitable software edges Big Blue ahead of rival Microsoft.


2008 Rank: 3
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $59,007
Parent Company: Microsoft (MSFT)

Windows Vista bugs and Apple’s withering "I’m a Mac" ads challenge the software giant despite its monopoly. It is now rolling out a new ad campaign.


2008 Rank: 4
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $53,086
Parent Company: General Electric (GE)

A GE that doesn’t make lightbulbs or dishwashers? In July it announced its intention to spin off the brand’s iconic units as it focuses on global infrastructure.


2008 Rank: 5
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $35,942
Parent Company: Nokia

The iPhone has the buzz, but Nokia sells eight times as many smartphones. Its reputation for quality puts it far ahead of rivals in India and other emerging markets.


2008 Rank: 6
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $34,050
Parent Company: Toyota Motor

As auto sales plunge, even Toyota is suffering, but its early move into hybrids, starting with the Prius back in 2001, looks smarter than ever.


2008 Rank: 7
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $31,261
Parent Company: Intel (INTC)

Sales are strong and Intel still pays to place its logo in the ads of customers like Apple and Dell, but the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the practice.


2008 Rank: 8
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $31,049
Parent Company: McDonald’s (MCD)

It’s still mostly about burgers and fries, of course. But Mickey D’s has a knack for the new stuff people want, like fancy coffees, breakfast sandwiches, and wraps.


2008 Rank: 9
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $29,251
Parent Company: Walt Disney (DIS)

Disney’s marketing machine turned High School Musical into a tween girl blockbuster. It’s hoping the new Disney 😄 cable channel will bring in the boys.


2008 Rank: 10
2008 Brand Value (Millions): $25,590
Parent Company: Google (GOOG)
source: businessweek.com

15 Tips for New Employees

  1. Don’t be a know-it-all
    By jumping into things, older and more experienced colleagues will perceive you as arrogant and you could lose your respect.

  2. Appreciate others
    Saying “thank you” to your boss and other colleagues for their help and guidance will have long-term positive effects.

  3. Give in something extra
    Volunteer for extra tasks and assignments to show your commitment, loyalty and diligence.

  4. Listen before you speak
    Try to understand and grasp every piece of information and make sure
    you understand everything before you give in your contributions.

  5. Understand the culture of the organization
    Observe how people interact with others and how things are done. Find out who is most admired and/or most influential and why.

  6. Learn more about yourself
    Your first job gives you a chance to figure out what you are best at and what kind of work you enjoy the most.

  7. Take time out for developing new skills
    Look out for opportunities of career development within and outside the organization and acquire new skills for your professional growth.

  8. Dress professionally
    Observe how people are generally dressed in the organization and follow that dress code.

  9. Don’t feel shy to ask questions
    The embarrassment will be much more if you end up messing up your work
    because you did not take clear instructions. So ask questions and take
    down notes.

  10. Be punctual
    Never be late for work and keep a good attendance. Try to come in before the official work time and stay a little late.

  11. Stay away from office gossip
    Don’t get involved in the office politics and gossip. This is especially important in the first few months.

  12. Get involved in the informal events
    Joining the sports club or other social events organized by the firm
    will give you a chance to develop cordial relationships with your

  13. Keep your boss informed
    Give your boss updates of all your activities at work. This will
    increase your reliability and will show how responsible you are.

  14. Remember people’s names
    As soon as possible try to remember names of people you come into contact with.

  15. Don’t complain or criticize
    You might not be happy with the entire management system but wait before you start to give suggestions.

10 surprising things about Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2003 felt like a refresh of
Windows Server 2000. There were few radical changes, and most of the
improvements were fairly under the surface. Windows Server 2008, on the
other hand, is a full-size helping of “new and improved.” While the
overall package is quite good, there are a few surprises, “gotchas,”
and hidden delights you will want to know about before deciding if you
will be moving to Windows Server 2008 any time soon.

#1: The 64-bit revolution is not complete

There have been 64-bit editions of Windows Server for years now, and
Microsoft has made it quite clear that it wants all of its customers to
move to 64-bit operating systems. That does not mean that you can throw
away your 32-bit Windows Server 2008 CD, though! Over the last few
months, I have been shocked on more than one occasion by the pieces of
Microsoft software that not only do not have 64-bit versions, but will
not run under a 64-bit OS at all. This list includes Team Foundation
Server and ISA Server. If you are planning on moving to 64-bit Windows
Server 2008, be prepared to have a 32-bit server or two around, whether
it be on physical hardware or in a VM.

#2: Who moved my cheese?

While the UI changes in Windows Server 2008 are not nearly as
sweeping as the Aero interface in Vista, it has undergone a dramatic
rearrangement and renaming of the various applets around the system. In
retrospect, the organization of these items is much more sensible, but
that hardly matters when you have years of experience going to a
particular area to find something, only to have it suddenly change.
Expect to be a bit frustrated in the Control Panel until you get used
to it.

#3: Windows Workstation 2008 might catch on

In an odd turn of events, Microsoft has provided the ability to
bring the “Vista Desktop Experience” into Windows Server 2008. I doubt
that many server administrators were asking for this, but the unusual
result is that a number of people are modifying Windows Server 2008 to
be as close to a desktop OS as possible. There have always been a few
people who use the server edition of Windows as a desktop, but this
makes it much easier and friendlier. These home-brewed efforts are
generally called “Windows Workstation 2008,” in case you’re interested
in trying it out on your own.

#4: Hyper-V is good, but…

Hyper-V was one of the most anticipated features of Windows Server
2008, and it’s surprisingly good, particularly for a version 1 release
from Microsoft. It is stable, easy to install and configure, and does
not seem to have any major problems. For those of us who have been
beaten into the “wait until the third version” or “don’t install until
SP1″ mentality, this is a refreshing surprise.

#5: …Hyper-V is limited

Hyper-V, while of high quality, is sorely lacking features.
Considering that it was billed as a real alternative to VMWare and
other existing solutions, it is a disappointment (to say the least)
that it does not seem to include any utilities for importing VMs from
products other than Virtual PC and Virtual Server. Even those imports
are not workaround-free. Another real surprise here is the lack of a
physical-to-virtual conversion utility. Hyper-V may be a good system,
but make sure that you fully try it out before you commit to using it.

#6: NT 4 domain migration — it’s not happening

If you have been putting off the painful migration from your NT 4
domain until Windows Server 2008 was released, don’t keep waiting. The
older version (3.0) Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) supports
migrations from NT 4, but not to Windows Server 2008. The latest
version (3.1) support migrations to Windows Server 2008, but not from
NT 4. Either migrate from NT 4 before changing your domain to be a
Windows 2008 domain or get your NT 4 domain upgraded first.

#7: The ashtrays are now optional

In prior versions of Windows Server, a lot of applications came
installed by default. No one ever uninstalled them because they did not
cause any harm, even if you didn’t use them or installed an
alternative. Now, even the “throwaway” applications, like Windows
Backup, are not installed by default. After installation, you need to
add “features” to get the full Windows Server suite of applications.
This can be frustrating if you are in a hurry, but the reduced clutter
and resource overhead are worth it.

#8: Licensing is bewildering

Continuing a hallowed Microsoft tradition, trying to understand the
licensing terms of Windows Server 2008 feels like hammering nails with
your forehead. So
maybe this isn’t so much a surprise as a gotcha. The Standard Edition
makes sense, but when you get into the issues around virtualization in
Enterprise and Datacenter Editions, things can be a bit confusing.
Depending upon your need for virtual machines and the number of
physical CPUs (not CPU cores, thankfully) in your server, Enterprise
Edition may be cheaper — or it may be more expensive than Datacenter
Edition. One thing to keep in mind is that once you start using virtual
machines, you start to like them a lot more that you thought you would.
It’s easy to find yourself using a lot more of them than originally

#9: There’s no bloat

Maybe it’s because Vista set expectations of pain, or because
hardware has gotten so much cheaper, but Windows Server 2008 does not
feel bloated or slow at all. Microsoft has done a pretty good job at
minimizing the installed feature set to the bare minimum, and Server
Core can take that even further. Depending upon your needs, it can be
quite possible to upgrade even older equipment to Windows Server 2008
without needing to beef up the hardware.

#10: Quality beats expectations

Microsoft customers have developed low expectations of quality over
the years, unfortunately, with good reason. While its track record for
initial releases, in terms of security holes and bug counts, seems to
be improving customers are still howling about Vista. As a result, it
has come as a real surprise that the overall reaction to Windows Server
2008 has been muted, to say the least. The horror stories just are not
flying around like they were with Vista. Maybe it’s the extra year they
spent working on it, or different expectations of the people who work
with servers, but Windows Server 2008 has had a pretty warm reception
so far. And that speaks a lot to its quality. There is nothing
particularly flashy or standout about it. But at the same time, it is a
solid, high quality product. And that is exactly what system
administrators need.

Justin James
is an employee of Levit & James, Inc. in a multi-disciplinary role
that combines programming, network management, and systems
administration. He has been blogging at TechRepublic since 2005.

10 biggest mistakes IT managers make

Working with IT managers on a regular basis allows me to see some
great management styles and some really poor ones. On the lower end of
the scale, I see IT managers make 10 major mistakes fairly often. Some
of these errors have even cost some managers their jobs.

1: Focusing on technology and not the business

The typical IT manager comes from a technical background in either
infrastructure or development. Based on their technical roots, they
tend to focus their efforts in their expertise when in fact they should
be looking for ways to support, enable, and improve the business. To be
successful, IT managers must become business leaders and turn their
focus and expertise to business issues and problems first.

2: Thinking “out of sight is out of mind”

It’s important to remember that in IT, no news is not good
news. IT managers tend to trudge along without ever looking at their
progress. The most powerful task you could ever do is an assessment.
There are several ways to do this. You can do a SWOT (Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis or you can do a
full-blown formal IT assessment. You might even use a scorecard system
to track where you are as a department. You can download a free scorecard developed specifically for this purpose.

3: Thinking that your team has it covered

In the TV show The Apprentice, so many teams ended up in
the boardroom because the leader delegated a job but didn’t follow up
to make sure it was done right. Following up is not micromanagement.
It’s your job as a leader to ensure that the task gets done correctly.

4: Not inspecting what you expect

This mistake has its roots in mistake number 3 but can be carried
forward into other aspects of IT. For instance, you could possibly
expect great performance out of your servers but may not have a system
to make sure they’re running at peak capacity. This ultimately leads to
poor planning, budgeting, staffing, etc. If you want to avoid this
common pitfall, make a comprehensive list of expectations for your
entire department. This could include critical projects, network and
server performance, client satisfaction, etc. Double-check the list to
make sure you are inspecting all expectations on a regular basis. Keep
a checklist or develop a daily disciplines worksheet to follow
everything that needs daily inspection.

5: Not creating a partnership with business management

I find a great deal of IT managers reporting to operations and
finance personnel instead of presidents and CEOs. The only way IT can
be an effective and strategic element to business is through
partnership with business executives. You must lead and influence your
reports, peers, and leaders to have a maximum impact on the
organization. The quicker you can get on the leadership team, the
quicker you will have the ability to execute on number 1.

6: Burning yourself out

I can’t tell you how many IT managers I coach who have not had
vacations in a year or longer and routinely work more than 70 hours per
week. This is not only a mistake, but it’s a formula for disaster.
Sometimes the thinking is that your business can’t live without you.
The truth is, your business cannot live with you burning
yourself out. It only leads to lowered productivity and, eventually,
your giving up or getting disgruntled. Do yourself, your business, your
employees, and your family a favor and take some time off.

7: Not testing your backup solution

I always tell my new IT managers that one of the most important
aspects of their jobs is ensuring a reliable backup. Breakdowns in
technology hardware are inevitable. The next best thing is fault
tolerance, but I have even seen that fail. Don’t think for a minute
that if you have tapes and if everything looks okay in your system that
everything is okay. Make sure you test backups regularly. Do test
disasters and make sure you can recover.

8: Not asking for help

Too often, I’ve seen costly mistakes made by managers and
technicians who try to solve an issue alone without informing anyone or
even reading the manual. This is a costly mistake. If you get in over
your head, do the right thing and seek help. The key to successful IT
management is not knowing the right answers; it’s being able to find
them and execute a solution as quickly and cost effectively as
possible. Don’t hesitate to bring in the experts where necessary.

9: Not devoting time to personal development

There’s no excuse for this mistake. Personal development is not your
company’s responsibility — it’s yours. I can always tell a person’s
success potential by the last five books they’ve read and by the
seminars they attend. Every IT manager should be devoting at least 30
minutes a day to personal development. The truly successful devote even
more — in some cases, upwards of two hours or more per day. The most
common excuse I hear is the lack of time or money. The answer lies in
the successful management of money and time.

10: Not finding a mentor or coach

The quickest route to success is to find someone who has been there
and then emulate that person. The quickest road to pain, hardship, and
failure is to go the journey alone. Whether you’re in management or
not, you should always have a mentor or coach and you should always be
mentoring or coaching someone else. A coach will help you achieve more
than you could by yourself by imparting wisdom, accountability, and
crucial advice where necessary. By coaching or mentoring someone else,
you’re doing the same, but you’re also solidifying your own concepts by
teaching them to others.

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