Category Archives: Tales from the Work Side

Downsizing my work planner (continued!)

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There’s light at the end of the tunnel! I am mostly moved into my smaller work planner now, and have some additional details and snaps to share.

To recap from last message:

  • I am still mostly following my old system (detailed in just under one million words, here).
  • The new size is the FranklinCovey Compact.
  • I’ve hand-drawn some pages for the remainder of this year.

Here’s some of my hand-drawn weekly pages in the vertical format on the Compact size (4.25″ x 6.75″ – which is slightly wider than Filofax Personal size).  Federal holidays impact our order shipping, so they are most definitely written into my planner.

weekly work planner format

my hand-drawn weekly work planner

As before:

  • top row is items with a specific time,
  • middle section is Do or Due Today, and
  • bottom row is lists for This Week, not tied to a specific day.

I still fill these weeklies out at the beginning of the week, with the objectives for the week.

Daily spiral 6″x9″-ish notepad still captures in the inbound messages, calls, things that pop up, etc.  Any of these type things that get turned into additional action items get transferred to wherever they belong. If they get handled on that day, they just get marked through on the pad and are not copied anywhere else. If there is an important item like phone number or email address, I do transfer that into the contact card or whatever before crossing through the note.

Aside from sizing down, the biggest change I’ve implemented is adding a 2-pages-per-day. This is in addition to my daily spiral notebook. You could say the daily setup is sorted by planned stuff, vs. inbound stuff.

The 2-pages-per-day is all new for me. I wanted this format to assist me in keeping focus and getting on task.

Let me assure you that when you go to an office, it’s better that you aren’t looking at your laundry basket near your desk. Likely you can’t do your laundry there, so you really have to reconsider doing laundry when you’re working out of your home.

So, I am using the 2-pages-per-day to schedule the work day, and also to time-log what I really did. The scheduling is most-essential items for the day and anything that has a real time. Each morning, stuff from the current weekly planner pages gets allocated into the daily plans. My current work has some routine, daily activities, so those are input into the hourly slots as part of my scheduled work day.

However, the time-logging is new to me. It’s just a simple input system where each time I start something new that isn’t already written into a time slot, I just scribble it into the appointment times. These are just simple entries – abbreviations even – and aren’t even down to the exact minute. But if I am updating invoices and decide it’s time to break for my sammich, I can jot down “lunch.” When I start researching and calling for pricing on a new service, I just scribble in “pricing” in the general time slot. It’s a new habit, but it is starting to stick. Oh, and when I would like to take a mental break and just make sparkly eyes at pretty planners online, yes, I have to jot “sparkly eyes” in the planner, too.

When spreadsheets and workbooks need updating, and it doesn’t happen today, or yesterday, or even all of last week, then there is nothing to disguise why I didn’t do it. It’s written right there on the pages.

So this way I am having better accountability about my objectives, goals, and slacking when applicable.  Part of my weekly review on Fridays is to look over these daily pages to help me stay on track.

Here is the simple format I am using for the rest of this year – times on the left; notes, lists, observations, tracking stuff on the right.

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Here’s the monthly format. These are a reassuring visual overview and reference – no heavy planning.

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If it’s late at night and you need something to help you sleep, you can read all of the detail on my work planner system here.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Also related: Running a Work and a Personal Planner

 

Downsizing my work planner!

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I had been thinking about this for a while, and didn’t want to rush into anything since I rely on my planners so much. The last thing I needed was to choose to hastily and possibly make a planner size swap even more chaotic than usual! I suspect once you cross the brink of chaos, there is no further differentiation between a little chaos and maximum chaos.

But it’s official now, and so the binder migration and downsizing chaos process has begun. At this stage, it feels a lot like living out of two suitcases. Sometimes I need to get my hands on something, so first thought is “which one is it in right now” followed by “I know it’s in there somewhere!”

It’s actually rather fun and all worth it because I really like the new smaller setup – it’s the Franklin (Covey) Planner Compact size. I must say it’s a magical size. The sheets are 4.25″ x 6.75″ which is very similar to the Personal Filofax size, although are each wider by half an inch. I really like the extra page space this gives you when your binder is open.

Since the pockets and compartments inside the Compact are smaller, several of the things I had previously stuffed inside last work binder don’t fit as nicely.  There’s some folding, yamming, and stuffing going on. As well as questioning if it’s really necessary for that thing to be yammed and crammed there. The Magic 8-Ball shaker-thingie keeps coming up with the answer YES MOST DEFINITELY and I can’t fight that because I didn’t know what to do with said item in the first place and that is exactly how it ended up in that pocket. But I am not ready to deal with that yet and so the hoarding continues. The great “in theory” advice you always hear about getting rid of things before you move was clearly made up by someone who has never moved.

The system should remain much the same as my faithful work system.

I do intend to do another update post and a few snaps when the process is further along.

For the remainder of this year, I have hand-drawn some weekly pages in the vertical format, much like my hacked format in the last work binder. I like to do this before making or buying new sheets because it gives me time to sort out what really works for me – format, placement, spacing, etc.

I am also using two sheets per day (also handwritten for now) for prioritizing my work day instead of just the spiral notebook because I am currently working from home and not zipping all over an office throughout the day. Since it’s up to me right now to manage my own priorities and tasks, the daily sheets with appointment times is helping me focus on how I am spending my time all day long. I’ve purchased a 2-pages-per-day from Franklin Planner for 2018. The spiral is still in use much like before for voice-mails and the other things that come up during a day. I still prefer using the spiral for certain things like that – it works well with my memory.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

 

My Work Planner and Notebook System (unabridged)

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Author’s note #1: Ironically, I’m presently in between assignments right now so I’m not working for someone else. Either way, this is my tried and true system for many years now. I am working on several business ventures of my own, and I still use the below system, although I don’t have meetings and conference calls right now as illustrated below. Anyway, If I were working for someone else right now, I would probably have continued to procrastinate writing this post!

 Author’s note #2: I formerly used the almighty A5 size planner for the same purpose as described below. I switched last year from A5 to a US half-letter-sheet size for convenience. I wouldn’t have switched from the A5 if we used the same standard sheet sizes here in the US! My A5 was the rare, gorgeous, calf leather, tan Sandhurst Filofax which I’ve owned for 17 years as of this writing. I am still hoarding it, which is just plain wrong, and I know it.

A5 sandhurst

still in captivity – my sandhurst

I wanted to write this post because I have written about my system before on my blog and on comments to other ones here and there. I thought I’d delve into detail on my system in case anyone finds a helpful morsel or tidbit. My last post, Running a Work and Personal Planner, briefly mentions the content of my work planner, so here is the whole enchilada, unabridged.  You’d never know from reading my rambly posts that I rarely say two words in any of the work meetings!

 And now, the guest star…

Work Planner

Workhorse. Weapon of choice: FranklinCovey tangerine-y, zip binder (my first zip binder!) with slim rings.

Classic/Half-Letter size with 7 rings. Franklin Planner calls this Classic; DayTimer calls it Desk. DayRunner has one too. These all use the US half-letter sheets (5.5” x 8.5”) and are similar in size to an A5 although they are not the same size sheets or hole punch formats.

fc work planner

 

This entire planner is centered around one element: the Weekly planner.  Every work action I need to tackle in a week goes on here. It requires some ‘syncing’ but that is part of what feeds the Weekly and it’s the bit on which I thrive.  The key method for this planner is that it’s managed week by week. Hardly anything gets populated in advance in here (because it doesn’t act as my calendar).

  • The ritual is I typically fill in the week on a Monday morning. A Friday afternoon or weekend might work for others, in my case it just tends to make sense based on the ridiculous amounts of work email received over the weekend, redefining your Monday “when you get in this morning” priorities, or their piece of the puzzle they worked on over the weekend which is now back to your court for the next action, etc.
  • The Weekly format I use for work is vertical columns week-on-two-pages.
  • I use these weekly sheets as more of a planner (less of a calendar).
  • I hack this format into my own custom weekly format, as I’ve described before on other blog comments, but for those of you who are interested and haven’t seen that description before, I am rehashing it here. I came up with this hack-format about 10 years ago and it provides me great comfort.
    • I completely ignore the timestamps. I sort of write over them if writing on a line that has one.
    • Every week, I use a ruler (usually the page-marker-ruler because it’s right there!) and a semi-bold black felt-type ink pen and draw a few horizontal lines to create my custom sections on the planner.
hacked weekly planner

custom hacked weekly format

  • I put my timed appointments and meetings on the top section (I just handwrite the time of the meeting), or anything that is truly time specific. This handwritten time stands out to me enough since I don’t have back-to-back meetings all day. I like it top-of-page because I don’t usually get to control my schedule and this highlights where I need to be when and what I need to prepare for.
appts on weekly hack

appts – timed – sched (as hacked)

  • The section below the appointments, I write in deadlines and rather inflexible must-do-today stuff. I call this section “DUE or DO TODAY.” There’s most always going to be more than fits there, so we will get to how I manage that in a few minutes.
  • The lower section is used to group stuff for this week. Each column might be just one subject/project, or it might be items that are similar in nature – it’s free-form and I just adjust it each week as needed. Sometimes I put a heading or title at the top of these little lists, but not usually because I already know what they contain.
  • Saturday and Sunday don’t get drawn on because I don’t need them for work unless there is something out of the ordinary that requires weekend work. These can be used as bonus spaces for more lists or notes.
  • I jot down the entries from my Outlook work calendar, this helps me mesh my work timed appointments with everything else. Just the time and topic, not all of the other details that are already in Outlook – as mentioned in my previous post.
  • The new emails, flagged emails, Outlook schedule and any shared project lists or project software are all reviewed to extract what’s due this week, deadlines, special arrangements, etc. etc. and filled into the weekly pages accordingly. This is not everything under the sun, but rather is focused on my work that I need to do. I don’t replicate every piece of every group project here, just what I need to focus on, my work, etc.
  • This planner is dedicated to work and as detailed in my previous post, I add (sync) only certain personal to-do’s in here as needed (such as a dental appointment in the middle of the work day).

 

sample of my custom-hacked weekly plan

sample of weekly plan as hacked

Other Key Tools

Additionally, I stick a large, lined 4″x6″ sticky note on the week and I write on there those messy reminders and little stuff that must be done or remembered that week (THIS is my place for that little stuff that we all never really know where to write down).

  • Every week gets a fresh sticky. I use a Sharpie or similar marker to write across the top WEEK OF 4/3 – 4/9.
  • At the beginning of the week, the sticky note goes on the right size of the planner so that it only covers up Thursday-Sunday. On Thursday, the sticky moves to the left side to only obscure Monday-Wednesday.
weekly jumbo sticky note sample

weekly jumbo sticky note sample

I stuff a trusty notebook (or steno pad) in the planner (perfect fit). This notebook is my “daily planner” and capture device.

  • Each morning I write the date across the top of a fresh page and fill in the musts for the day (many of which were deadlines or tasks already recorded in the weekly planner, so this is copied to the daily pad). This becomes the big blown-up version of the day. Sometimes at the end of the workday, I will start up tomorrow’s page – especially when I didn’t finish key items for today and need to roll them over or there is something wildly important that I need to be sure stays on my radar in the morning.
  • Now that the pad is populated with today’s focus and agenda, I work from that Daily pad for the day. Weekly planner stays open on my desk for quick visual reference throughout the day, and it goes to all meetings with me. Throughout the day, depending upon the ebb and flow of things, I might pluck a few more things off the big weekly view that I can knock out or follow up on today.
daily notepad-planner for post

daily notepad – planner – capture

  • I typically devote both facing pages if needed for the day. The priority list is on the most convenient sheet and then I usually add notes/capture on the other page. When I don’t use much of a page, I will just append to it the following day instead of turning to a new sheet.
  • This pad is invaluable to my day because it’s unstructured and spacious enough that I do not worry about running out of room for the day’s stuff. The size, (about 6”x9”) is also a very good measure of about how much I can actually do in one day.
  • This pad is where I jot down the zillion little things that come up, transcribing voicemails, etc.
  • The flexibility of the notepad allows me to turn a page just use more pages if needed. I just make sure to put the date at the top for context.
  • At day’s end, or in the morning, any of these things that are still undone get transferred to where they belong (the weekly planner, or the next day’s list or into a future date or project list or whatever).
  • After everything has been transferred, the previous pages get clamped with a binder clip. This is the signal that there is nothing left lurking back there that still needs attention. If I don’t complete the transfer for a day or few, the pages remain unclipped until the capture and transfer is complete.
  • You could easily use daily sheets in your planner for this, but it’s the simple portability of the notebook pad that make this work for me. When I worked in an office, I carried this pad with me everywhere and left the planner at my desk almost all of the time, except for meetings in which case I would also bring the planner. Having that pad with me all of the time was great because it seemed even when I just went to the kitchen for coffee, someone would ask me for something or I’d think of something that needed to be done, so I could always capture these requests and thoughts.
  • The other reason I favor the separate notebook over the sheet inside the planner is that I can see my Daily and my Weekly at the same time. If both are buried in the planner, then you have to flip back and forth to see both. This works fine for some people although the system I’ve got going works best for me because I am very This Week focused and I want to be able to see it all of the time!
  • These pads I choose usually contain about 80 sheets, so they last about three months and are usually slim enough to stuff into the planner.
  • Tip: the best ones ever were steno pads with colored sheets. They are quick to spot on a busy desk.

 

Observations and Other Bits

  • The key to this and any planning system is to review everything and make sure anything undone is transferred and not left behind.
  • My system of planning includes re-writing when things don’t get done and also recurring items, and I am OK with that since I choose to use a handwritten system anyway. To me, I like the writing – it’s part of the process and it works well with my mind. When I am faced with rewriting something that didn’t get done, it is another opportunity for evaluation of this item. Even the re-writing of items is part of why my system alleviates stress and worry – everything is accounted for. Here I decide – does this stay on this week’s lists or do I just need to store it on a Remember Me list, etc.
  • It is used in conjunction with project lists that are part of our company’s shared systems. In no way does my planner take place of those master lists and project lists. I do not handwrite long project lists and timelines in my planner. It’s just my week full of detailed things I will be doing and following up on. It’s also a clear illustration of the week’s deadlines and priorities – across all of the things going on that week, not just one project or subject at a time.

I have the Monthly calendar sheets as well. These are great for overviews. Typically, I only put in what I call “highlights” – the deadlines or major events overview. major work deadlines (like go-live or launch dates), and things like that. Even if I wrote nothing on them, the ease of flipping to that visual tool in my planner and being able to see the days and dates so quickly at any time is unparalleled in convenience. I really don’t use the Monthlies at work much day-to-day but they really shine when I’m in a meeting or on a conference call. At a super quick flip to the monthly tab, I can see exactly which day of the month that event begins, the big important dates, etc.

A few other sheets in my work planner that include some pertinent info that I refer to often, along with extra sheets in case I need quick access to note-taking.  Nearly all meeting notes are taken on my computer or iPad, but every once in a while when that is not an option, I go to the blank sheets in my planner. I’ve been to some meetings at meals or coffee shops where it was easier (and more engaged) to write in my planner than on my iPad.

I keep some cheat-sheet pages in my planner. These are those nuggets of info that you need access to when your computer is frozen, the network is being rebooted, or the Internet is down. IT professionals will assure you the Internet is never down. But you know what I mean. For me, these nuggets of info include a printout of the company phone list, cheat sheets with log-in info for a few people who routinely ask me “what was my log in again?” for our shared project software, the card number details for the credit card I need to use frequently for company purchases but I am not the cardholder, and the hotline emergency number for reaching IT when the Internet is down. It is important that I have this number handy because of the swarm of Internet-less people that crowd my desk with panic eyeballs as wide as boiled eggs looking at me like I am the last human on a zombie-crawling island, because I am the only one packing a planner.

Using my work planner system is the least stressful way of planning (and surviving) my day and my week.

Thank you very much for reading. 🙂

Running a Work and a Personal planner

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Hmmm. For a very introverted and shy person, some of my posts are very long! You wouldn’t think I have that much to say. Perhaps this long-winded writing is part of the reason behind my long gaps between posts in prior years. Because it would take so long for me to make any post, instead of just a simple one. Well, anyway, here’s another long and rambly one!

I strongly believe you should pay attention to how you ARE using your planner(s). Not how you should be.

That said, where do you naturally tend to write things quickly:
when you have an idea,
when you remember something,
you hear a song you really like you want to jot down, or a movie to add to the watch list,
when someone gives you info you need to capture,
you’re on the phone to take a note or a message.

You might have a system for all of the above to which you abide seamlessly.
You might have a system for these, but still grab whatever is nearest.

Whatever place I capture stuff, it’s then up to me to make sure they get migrated to the right notebook or planner in my system.

So happens that I make lots of notes and lists frequently for the various areas of my life. I do NOT want to carry all that information with me everywhere I go. Instead, I currently use several ring-bound notebooks for different areas of my life, but they’re not all actual “planners” as they have no sort of calendar or planning system. I would call them notebooks or containers of ideas and information.

I do have a separate personal planner and work planner. This has been my most-used setup for more years than I can remember, even though I did make an unsuccessful attempt at a combo work-personal a few years back.

Simple Syncing

From other people’s posts or videos, syncing calendars seems to be a common downfall in using two planners.

In my case, the word syncing is a misnomer really because I don’t fully sync the two schedules. You know like when you sync your electronic calendars, everything copies to the other place?  Well, my system doesn’t. My system is simple syncing.

Running two separate books for planning (ones where you are doing actual planning via calendars and schedules), doesn’t necessarily mean you must record all of the timed appointments and commitments in both books.

My use of two planners, particularly when working outside of the home, would only contain ‘schedule overlap’ from the other planner if it impacted the other calendar.

The goal in my system is merely to see what is required of me during the day. Anything overlapping isn’t going to get a lot of data written in the ‘other’ calendar but rather will get a short note or reminder – a placeholder.

Examples:

Morning meeting at office that requires something be picked up on the way into work also gets jotted in the personal planner since this is not a routine event in my before-worktime mornings.

Offsite work event that I would drive to directly from home and not meet at the office first would also go in my personal planner for that morning.

An upcoming after-hours work meeting would get an entry about working late in the personal planner on that date.

A mid-day personal appointment would absolutely be shown on both planners since it’s prime-time overlap. It gets only a cryptic note in the work planner. So, if there’s a 3:30p personal dental appointment during the working day, I would just put on my work calendar ‘out of office’ or ‘out-dental’ at that time. This serves as the appropriate placeholder for the office work and to make sure I don’t steamroll over that appointment with a meeting or something, and to make sure I inform the management of my scheduled outing.

Something work-related that falls on the weekend, which is normally my time.

Making a recipe for a covered-dish/potluck thingie for work.

I don’t need the 7:00a recycles pick-up day at home on my work planner if my work day starts at 8:30a. Whereas I might want a simple reminder on the work planner reminding me to leave on time if I’ve got a personal plan for that evening.

And the best one of all:

Scribbling OUT OF OFFICE – VACA!!!! on the work planner.

It is worth noting that this system works for me because:

When working for someone else, I don’t want to see their workstuff on my beloved personal planner. This is simply a preference. When I look back at my planners (which I love to do), all I want to see is how we’ve been living our life. The places we traveled, memories of the places we’ve lived – different states, cities and homes, the family and friends we’ve spent time with, our special occasions, and so on. These reviews are a source of personal joy.

My work planner is way more than a calendar. It is most common that any place you work is going to have a calendar on Outlook or the like. I do not aspire to recreate the Outlook work calendar in my planner. All of the attendees, details and attachments can stay right there in Outlook. My planner is to plan my work for this week, and for today. All appointments for the week are reviewed each Monday morning. I make a short note of all of them in their time slots onto the paper planner for planning purposes “conf call re: project name,” “HR benefits mtg,” or “covered-dish thingie.” Then I fill in the deadlines and due dates going on that week. From there it’s priority to-do items and getting ready for any of those conference calls or meetings (do I need to prepare something for these, do I need to read any emails or attachments for these, etc.). It is worth noting that many pieces of projects are also tracked in shared project software apps. I am deliberately and intentionally taking the extra steps to copy/rewrite into my planner the pieces I am responsible to do this week or follow up on. It does not replace the project software, it makes my pieces part of MY week’s work plan. There is no way I want to see all of this detailed work week when I am at home, on my time. Likewise, this keeps my focus clear with context clarity. I am at work, focusing on work with less distraction from seeing personal items I can’t work on right now anyway.

I plan with and review my planners often. This point cannot be emphasized enough.

This includes reviewing my personal planner in the mornings at home before I begin work, to see what I’ve got to do that morning, day and evening… trash pick-up this morning?, pay bills?, buy birthday card? Get casserole safely situated into car for the office covered-dish thingie?

Work planner review, with opposite perspective in mind:

Anything coming up tomorrow, this week, next week, that impacts my personal schedule?

This includes looking ahead:

Special upcoming work party in a few weeks and need outfit – loathe shopping, when do I want to do that?

Choose recipe for covered dish thingie at office. And so on.

Work book stays at work whenever possible

In my case, whenever possible, the work book stays at the desk.

There’s nothing personal in it so I am not missing it at home.

Likewise, I am not embarrassed if someone at office sees book contents.

Clearly there are exceptions to bring it with you – any days where you might plan to work from home, or when you absolutely must work outside of your regular hours, or travel.

Alternatively, work book can travel home if you have one of those jobs where you have to work extra a lot. You also have the option to bring it along at uncertain times, just in case, and just leave the planner in the car for the night (knowing it’s there if needed). Like, it might snow and ice tonight and they might want us to work from home tomorrow rather than coming into the office.

Personal book can do whatever doing the workday – I like bringing it along for the day, and it stays in the purse or bag, or car, if needed. Not on the desk – keeps personal info private and minimizes the off-chance it might get left behind for the day.

If you’ve got the kind of job where you can attend to your personal business while you’re at work, and if you’re not going to access your personal planner during the workday for those items, I would prefer to make a small list of those items on a sticky and tack it onto the work planner until those are done (rather than writing them into the work book). That way you’re not leaving your personal notes in the work binder permanently. You can then discard the sticky or put it back in your personal book if you want to keep it.

Other benefits to this separate books system:

If you ever leave the job and have the kind of job that will want to retain the work planner pages, you will not lose your personal info in this exchange.

You can go all out personalizing your personal planner without concern of people seeing all that when you are sitting next to them in a meeting. Or maybe your inner you favors a lot of bling and fluff on your planner and you’re not entirely comfortable with that look in the conference room.

Personal privacy.

In closing, we all know this isn’t for everyone. Some people just prefer a one-book everything. We all have our own preferences. This is my system that suits my mind nicely and I love the fact that we can all personalize our planning exactly the way we like! I am just happy to see anyone, anywhere using a planner at any time. 🙂

If you made it this far… thank you for reading!

Systematic

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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.