In my last post, I griped at the lack of good tools to help me remember vague but important recurring things. You know, those things that come around every year but still catch you by surprise. Things that make you ask, “Why is there such a big line-up at the Registrar’s Office right now?” or things to remember such as “Sometime in the early spring semester, send out a reminder email to faculty about…” We should remember these things, and I have staff and colleagues who DO remember these things, but I struggle with this stuff.
I asked for your input on your favourite tool to assist you with this. One response that made me smile and groan a little was, “I just remember this stuff.” Others responded with some apps or tools. I checked them all out and I can conclusively say that I’m not happy with any of them!
What I want is a tool that reminds me often and more urgently the closer I get to the “important recurring things”. But I have settled on the best available tool for me: the Task tool of Outlook. It offers the ability to schedule things, to set a reminder (sadly, only one), but also to flag things in different colours. Unfortunately, I have to train myself to pay attention to the Tasks and not simply rely on the reminder to pop up on my computer screen or iPhone.
As an office, we’ve also created a separate Outlook calendar that has all our important dates, but also has room for “Hey – remember that typically students start doing this in March.” And in our weekly meetings we ask for updates and things we need to be prepared for – everyone, whether they are a manager or not, is invited speak up and many do.
I’m still going to ask you – if you have a tool or an app that you can set multiple reminders for that get more strident the nearer you are to the deadline, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me what it is!
But who am I kidding – I’ll still be the guy buying Christmas gifts on December 24th.