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A brief look at scheduling

How do you manage your time? Do you live by a routine? Do you have a good memory? Do you have a parent telling you when you need to be places?

Up until about a month ago, I was a good memory kind of guy. When people told me I needed to be somewhere, I was there. I did everything I could to memorize them, and I had a basic rule not to let anyone schedule anything with me more than a week out. This of course needed to be changed with a business coming around and needing to be able to see timeframes even months out. Thanks to a great friend, this was made possible through usage of a PDA (personal digital assistant, aka palm pilot).

I must admit, I love it. I make use of the task list and of the calendar, both of which tell me what I need to get done, and when I need to be places. I like the contacts as well, but most of them are in my phone already. Notes are good for meetings becase I don’t normally bring paper, and because I can scratch it off later when it comes time to do those things. In all reality, I have come to depend on it quite a bit.

It does however, have a fatal flaw. If you don’t put something in it, you don’t remember it. Take today for example. Yesterday, I got a call from a client, asking if I could come over sometime later this week. I looked through my pda and noticed that this morning was open. I said to myself, I know I’m busy tomorrow morning, but I don’t know why and my PDA says I’m not, so I’ll suggest this time. They said that was fine.

That was my first warning sign that something was amiss between me and my pda.

Later yesterday, that same client called me, and canceled. Again, she managed to trip my thoughts of, "oh this is probably a good thing because I think I have something going on tomorrow morning." But I still didn’t know what, nor did I have time to care.

Last night before I went to bed, I thought about it when setting my alarm… I’m like, strange… I can sleep in tomorrow.

Even with my ability to sleep in today, I still woke up at like 6:30 like I needed to be someplace. Now, after this many signs from God, you’d think I would have figured out he had some place for me to be.

I went back to sleep.

The phone rang at 7:30. I grabbed it, looked at it. It was Derek. Why in the world is Derek calling me at 7:30 in the morning. Probably has something to do with the website, so I’m going to let him leave a message and I’ll get back to him when I’m awake. Again, I should have put it all together.

I woke up to my alarm at 930ish AM and looked at my phone. I had another missed call from Derek again. I thought, oh my, this must be important if he called me twice… I better check my voicemail now.

I still wasn’t expecting what I heard next. The 7:30 message played.

"Hey Justin, we’re all here waiting for you to come join us for Breakfast."

I quickly hit the end button on the phone and said something to myself that I don’t feel like repeating. I had a church meeting this morning that had somehow managed to not get put on the calendar of my PDA. I quickly called Derek and told him the situation and told him I would do everything I could to make the afternoon half.

So my question is, what can I do to prevent this from happening. Obviously, the memory gap can still fall into place if for some reason I fail to put the item on my PDA, so is there a solution that makes it possible for me to not be the one at fault?

The best one I have had is an project I started working on earlier this year where people could schedule me and it would show up on my PDA. That would completely remove me from the loop, and thereby, it can’t be my fault. (Unless I delete it intentionally).

I might just have to get back to work on that project.

For now, I am going to go to sleep. I have lots to do tomorrow involving everything from Ultima Online to JR Corps.