Came across this article in PC Magazine discussing "wilfing," a term coined by the British marketing research firm YouGov, short for "What Was I Looking For?". The concept is that as we go to the web to search for something, we're easily distracted by other things and then wind up far off from where we started. The result is decreased productivity.

I've noticed a similar phenomenon with databases, especially during training and testing, but even during day-to-day use. What typically happens is that we're working in the database and come across functionality that is new, works differently than we expected, or doesn't work at all. Then we go down the rabbit-hole of trying to figure out why. And in very short order, we've completely forgotten what our primary focus was.

What's important is that we maintain our focus on the primary reason we were in the database (e.g., testing, training) but also note the issues that arise, so that we can investigate them later. This is where a good issues-tracking database comes in handy. Frequently my clients will use something like Adminitrack to track issues that arise over time. A good issues tracking database goes a long way toward keeping you focused on the task at hand without losing track of issues that arise.

UPDATE: Broken link to Adminitrack fixed.

Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see.