A long time ago, you saw a lot more people using some sort of organizational system like a paper planner, or a calendar, a trusty notebook or whatever. Eventually a lot of those paper calendars, to-do lists and planners turned into Palm or Pocket PC organizers. Over time, many people then migrated to a Blackberry, which also has a built-in calendar and to-do list. I was one of those people. I went from paper planners to using a Palm in conjunction with the planner for everything for many years and it was very difficult to pry the Palm from my fingers when I moved to the Blackberry.
What I found was the Blackberry is a great communication device but the organizer applications were not as awesome as the Palm. At the time I hadn’t used an iPhone but I hear other people have similar thoughts on the organizer functionality of the iphone (update – I’m stuck with one at work these days and I’m not a fan). The Android phones also have options for organizer-stuff, and I think it all boils down to the fact that none of these items are designed as an Organizer First. Moving on.
Why on earth aren’t the phone-only users (folks who don’t use any actual planning system) more concerned about the less-than-wonderful organizer applications built into their phones? Or, why don’t they carry something else around to organize themselves? I’m noting a common denominator that many of the people who live and breathe by their smartphones are some of the most unreliable people I have ever met! These are the same people who actually make a comment such as “oh you’re still using a paper planner? I use my phone and it’s great” All I know is these very same people have a tendency to be late. Not occasionally (no one is perfect), but routinely enough that you can bet on it. Oftentimes their lateness is greeted with a “I wasn’t sure if we were still meeting today” while implying that “no one contacted me to confirm” (because the meeting has been on the schedule for at least a week so why on earth do we need to confirm it, again?). Anyway, don’t be fooled, this is code for “I nearly forgot the meeting and got down here as fast as I could.”
These people are also the first to answer every e-mail that beeps on their smartphone, but with the most useless answers one can muster. It seems like they’re trying to project a very I’m So On Top Of Things demeanor, I guess? The answers are typically ones that assure you that you’ll never get the information you were seeking. Something along the lines of “I will let you know as soon as I’m back to the office” or “Team, can we make this happen?”
So, you find yourself having to follow-up… you’re now doing twice the work because that person has long forgotten you and your e-mail. You become their reminder! I am just certain that this could all be avoided if the person would just use some sort of a system. In today’s business environment I have to follow up with people almost consistently (how do so many people get away with that, anyway?). A handful of years back, it wasn’t as bad. I can’t help but to notice the coincidence that this is when the Blackberry became more widespread in companies. A CEO with a Blackberry is a good tool because he or she can keep business moving when away from the office. But when everyone in the company has one it seems to have a reverse effect. Anyway, I’ll bet that CEO has a planner of some sort, or a great assistant who has a system.