The members of the Agro-Know team have various opportunities of being trained and educated on topics that they like and are of interest to them for their work. We usually attend (and sometimes organize, too!) national and international Conferences, Workshops, Webinars and other related events, participate in trainings delivered by various organizations/projects and in general we explore opportunities which would provide us with the information and knowledge that would be useful for our work.
One of the nice things when working for AK is the fact that AK internal training opportunities of various types and purposes exist. They are organized by the Admin team and facilitated by any of the AK team members. Most of these trainings are on topics of general interest to the AK team members, some of them are mandatory, others are optional, some of them are one-off while others have to split into more than one session. More popular ones, like the presentation of the outcomes of a team, may take place in the large room while more focused one usually take place in the meeting room.
This is a mean for anyone in the team to share his expertise and experiences with the rest of the team members (who are interested in the specific topic), while this is also a nice introduction to AK for the new team members, interns etc. An indicative list of topics is the following:
- Time management: how to manage a busy schedule;
- Proposal writing;
- Project planning / management;
- Using ERP for time reporting;
- Using Trello for task management;
- Using WordPress as a blogging platform;
- The use of cloud services for keeping backup of work documents;
Of course the list goes on and new training topics are added to the queue. As soon as a new topic is up, people are invited to indicate their interest/participation, a common date and time is agreed with the use of a Doodle poll and the host presents his training; no PPTs, no hand-outs, no laptops (unless they are needed for a hands-on part).
I have personally attended several trainings and one I enjoyed the most was the one about time management – any tip on time management is more than welcome. It was delivered by Nikos Manouselis, who has developed over the years a really practical system for managing his time and busy schedule. The training started with a discussion among the participants on how they currently manage their time and keep track of their schedules. It became obvious that there is a wealth of different tools and approaches, including Google Calendar, Trello, traditional (paper) notebooks and calendars, post it notes, reminders in mobile phones etc. Nikos tried to identify the issues in each case and presented his approach in time management, which was based on the use of Trello. Trello is a flexible tool, highly appropriate for this purpose. It has several advantages, such as having apps for almost all systems (web app, iOS, Android, Windows Phone) so it can be used while on the road, option to set reminders for tasks, easy creation and management of tasks, collaboration options, filtering, uploading/sharing related documents etc. Apart from that, Nikos shared some tips on how to managed a fully packed schedule and make room for urgent but not planned tasks using several techniques, something that we appreciated. The session included a hands-on part, during which we were asked to organize our next weeks tasks in a Trello board, set deadlines and find overlaps.
In another training, Nikos Marianos presented his way of connecting the Trello calendar with the Google Calendar (a combination which most of us use), so that Trello tasks may appear in the Google calendar. There was even a demonstration of how these can be linked to Mozilla Thunderbird, so that one can have access to this information through his/her email client (yes, Mozilla Thunderbird is our official email client for several reasons). Andreas also shared some really useful tips and tricks related to the use of MS Office, focusing on MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
It is always interesting to attend these trainings; not only you get to know new stuff, but it is an excellent opportunity to see different (and sometimes more practical) approaches to stuff that you already work on but in a different way.