Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to remember your appointments

I'm always so excited to get questions from friends or subscribers so please keep them coming in. Next time when you think, "there must be a better way to do this" or "I wonder how other people do this", send me an email straight away and I'll answer it for you, okay?

So I received an email this week from a friend who asked me what my reminder system is for appointments.

Well, let me start by saying that I'm paranoid about forgetting anything. I once forgot something very dear to my heart and immediately put in a system to make sure it never happened again. I suppose you want to know what happened?

I do some volunteer work at the church where I help people discover their God-given gifts. Anyway, I'd made an appointment to assess someone on a public holiday and I was training somebody else too. So I'm at home, working on the computer and I get a phone call. "Ps Marcia, are you on your way?"

Imagine the terror!

Immediately I realised what happened so I apologised while pulling on jacket and gloves and racing out of there. I'm sure I broke a few speed limits getting to the church but at least it ended well.

However, I hated the embarrassment. Both ladies were totally fine, having some coffee and fellowshipping, and we had a lovely time the rest of the evening. But I vowed never to let that happen to me ever again.

So here's what I now do: I write down everything in my daily planner. Everything! Even if I set up the meeting in Outlook, I still make a note of it on paper. (I'm a paper gal and make no apologies for it). You never know when you'll have a power outage and you can't access your electronic diary. Or when there's a public holiday and you don't look at your email :)

If it's a recurring meeting, I follow the exact same steps until it's ingrained in me that it's a habit. Like joining a new class at gym. Or scheduling a new coaching client.

If I need to leave at a specific time to get somewhere on time, I set reminders in Outlook and in my phone. Because sometimes you do get carried away, especially when you're working hard and in the zone.

Of course, a system will only work if you work the system.

That means checking your paper planner every day. Or reading your reminders on Outlook instead of just clicking "snooze" or even "dismiss" by accident. I check my daily planner as part of my evening routine so that I can mentally prepare for the day ahead and of course, choose appropriate clothes ;)

Now, I'd love to hear what works for you!


Esther said...

My daily planner got to be too large for my purse. So I stuck to the bread & butter of the family organization structure.....The Kitchen Calendar. It's next to my telephone, so I have it handy for appointments & phone calls I'm working on. Every morning I check the calendar, and check out the next few days as well. When I go to the hair dresser, I take the calendar. Rather dorky to take the whole calendar, but I don't want to double book anything.

We are a family of five, and in the process of adopting a couple of children. Seriously, the size day planner I needed would only fit in a travel carry-on bag with wheels. So I gave up on that.

I order a large calendar from Current magazine every fall for the next year. I always put all the sports, school, church, etc., events on the calendar as soon as we find out.

Suzanne said...

Up until 4 weeks ago I was an avid paper gal as well as a slave to Outlook. I did the same steps put it into Outlook and back it up on paper. Then I found myself traveling so much meeting with clients that I realized not only did I need my calendar, I also needed my emails! I actually broke down and bought the new Palm Treo blah blah, I can never remender the letters after it. BUT I can now access my emails, calendar, tasks, and my contacts. Plus it's a mirror image of what is happening in my Outlook and it syncs up wirelessly. No need to plug it in and go. Thank goodness! Since then, I bravely retired my Levenger Circa and I soley rely on my Treo and my Outlook. The REALLY scary part is, I don't necessarily miss it and I LOVE paper. Of course, it gave me a great excuse to pick up a new leather journal to make all of my lists in! woo hoo!

Military Mommy said...

I do all appointments in my day planner. I cannot live without it. It would be one of the few things I grabbed if I had to evacuate! :)

Anonymous said...

I love paper planners as well. I have a wall calendar for our kitchen and then a calendar that i take with me that also has my to do lists and grocery lists. when i am out an about i like to know what is happening that day. it seems like double duty, but it seems to work for us.