Organize with technology...
A new year is upon us, and I thought it would be a good time to review some things in tech that we can start out fresh with at the beginning of this year. The key with using technology in your job is to not let it overtake you and keep you from managing the course properly. With a few of these suggestions you should be able to harness the power of tech without many of the side-effects.
The first step for most people to get organized is to start making lists. This solution could be software called Wunderlist, which I have talked about before. I have tested out quite a few different products for this and Wunderlist seems to be the easiest and most useful option for the purpose we are discussing. It was also awarded the App of the Year from Apple in the past.
By using it for all of your task planning, you can limit the time that other technologies can take away:
- Set reminders and due dates for tech tasks like checking Twitter and don't look at it until the reminder is sent to you.
- Share specific lists with your Assistants, particularly research on new tech and products--they are typically interested in these things and may do some work for you in their off-time in these important areas.
- Create sub-tasks and notes on tech-related tasks that can offer you reminders on how to use software, devices, etc. that are readily available from any device.
- Set and edit the list schedule no more than once per day and don't open up the software otherwise. Then let the reminders and due dates alert you to what and when you should be working on the tasks. This limits your use of this technology and allows you to focus on the course while knowing your tasks will be sent to you much like having your own secretary.
- Add files to lists and tasks to store research, club documents and more in a central location that can be shared with other staff members.
This is another idea I covered last year and implemented for my work life. I cannot understate how truly awesome this idea has been for me. I think it can offer huge value to superintendents because of the nature of your position and all the directions email can pull you. The general idea behind it is quite obvious: maintain your email inbox with ZERO mail all the time. It also calls for timed, structured protocol in composing reply email. This can be achieved by utilizing several components, folders, actions, etc. After using this principle for going on 2 years now, I still have zero mail in my inbox as I am typing this and it feels so great! Check out the full tutorial I wrote on it here.
Turf industry tech products
Every year there are more and more products that are capable of saving you time and/or money through using technology specific to our industry. Many of these products are created by supporters of TurfNet too and this is the time of year to take a look at them. A few I have experience with or directly worked on include:
Labor Management: ASB Task Tracker. This was developed by a golf pro and superintendent to provide you with a digital jobs board and also track where your labor is used. If you are interested in either one of those components, Task Tracker is a very good solution currently.
Water Management: There are a lot of different technologies out now to help with this important area. Several components you may be aware of are:
- Moisture meters (Spectrum TDR or Stevens POGO are both good options)
- Energy Snapshot for Golf (architect Andy Staples has created this process to improve efficiency in water operations and other utilities)
- As-Built mapping (with new central control programs for Toro and Rain Bird it's key to have accurate mapping for the system and can be done without expensive on-site GPS these days)
- OnGolf (this is more comprehensive than water management but offers a lot of analytical data for tracking irrigation, meters, stimp, weather and more)
Chemical/Fertilizer Management: Coverage System. I worked to develop this system with superintendents to create something that was extremely easy to use and offered turn-key solutions for managing your application programs. There are a lot of way to plan and track your programs on your own, but Coverage System makes it really easy and convenient.
Course Setup Management: ezLocator / ezPins. I have seen first-hand how it can save so much time and aggravation for superintendents in regards to hole locations. I recently worked with them to develop a more affordable option called ezPins. This should bring these great time saving features to a lot more of you.
There are many other options out there too. I am only writing about ones that I have direct experience working with so I can confirm they are simple to use and will save you time and/or money.
I hope to see many of you at GIS, please stop by booth #4816 and say hello. I'm happy to assist in getting you set up with technology and answer any questions you may have about Wunderlist, Inbox Zero, Careers, software and more.