Saturday, 22 June 2013

Time management tools that work (or not)

Today, I missed a lunch with friends. Oops! What happened?

My computer died (beyond repair) a couple of months ago, so I got a new one. Rather that trying to reconstruct my previous way of working, I chose to start again "from scratch", though of course that built a lot on previous practices. One of the changes I introduced was that I separated my work and leisure diaries: work is now recorded in the University Standard Diary (aka Outlook) so that managers and administrators can access my diary as needed; leisure is recorded in Google Calendar (which is what I used to use for everything).

But in practice, there's only one of me, and I only live one life. And most of my 'appointments' are work-related. So I forgot to keep looking in the leisure diary. Hence overlooking today's lunch with friends, which had been in the diary for at least six months. Because it had been in the diary for so long it wasn't "in my head". Doh!

When I was younger, life seemed simpler: if it was Monday -Friday, 9-5 (approx) then it was work time; else it was leisure time. Except holidays. Keep two diaries, one for work and one for leisure. Easy. But the boundaries between work and leisure have blurred. Personal technologies travel to work; work technologies come home; work-time and home-time have poorly defined boundaries. It's hard to keep the plans and schedules separate. But I, like most people, don't particularly want work colleagues to know the minutiae of my personal life. Yes, the work diary allows one to mark entries as "private", but:
1) that suggests that it's a "private" work event, and
2) an entry in a "work" diary is not accessible to my family, although I'd like them to be able to refer to my home diary.

The ontology of my diary is messed up: I want work colleagues to be able to access my work diary and family to be able to access my leisure diary, but actually at the heart of things I want to be able to manage my life, which isn't neatly separated into work and leisure.


  1. I have exactly the same set up. I can show you how to view your google (home) calendar from within outlook so that you see both sets of information at the same time.

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