Time Management Run Amok

A beginning caution to the reader – this is a rant. Forgive me. Chalk it up to whatever you want.

The “time management industry” is in cahoots with somebody to keep me forever and eternally confused.  It has long been my goal to develop and perfect a system to manage my life in its entirety to ensure I never miss an appointment, forget a to-do, or lose not even a single contact file with all its history. This odyssey has lasted well over 30 years and I am no closer to time management’s nirvana than I was when I began. I’m just balder and less organized.

The journey began with a very small pocket Day-Timer® (I have always been a loyal customer of Day-Timer’s). This was in the days before computers and everything was kept in one’s planner. These were also the days of the Army. To do lists were long, calendars useless (they changed with the second hand of the clock), and needed contacts were limited to the small green pocket notebook you were required to keep with the information on the soldiers under your charge. All this was carried in two pockets of your uniform. It all went with you and woe to you if you lost it (luckily, I never did). This was the easiest it ever was.

When the Army ended after 22 years and I was dropped back into civilian life, daily affairs became a little more complicated. A bigger day-timer and a larger notebook served the purpose for a short while. Then I got into sales and that’s about when computers became a big factor. What a wonderful world of options to manage and confuse one’s life! The planner went onto the desktop as well as our address book, to do list, and everything else I could think of. No more carrying around a planner and all those notes. I had finally reached nirvana!!

Then the computer crashed….and guess what I forgot to do?

Everything was lost. The calendar, contact list, to do list, and, worst of all, the entirety of my financial records were lost to eternity. It took months to sort the disaster out. I was determined then to keep that from ever happening again. That’s when I saw my first Palm Pilot®. Purchasing a brand spanking new Palm IIIxe, I was convinced nirvana had finally been achieved. Everything was duplicated (and the idea of “saving one’s work” was formed) between the nice little machine and the desktop. I was now completely mobile and foolproof. But now I had two separate systems. The one at work that tracked my customers (ACT!®) and Palm’s system. Now there was two of everything. No nirvana. That’s when I found ACT’s Palm software. Try as I might, I never could get it to work quite right. And the Palm’s screen was difficult to see in sunlight. Remember the monochrome screen? Thrust into a pit of despondency, I was no closer to time management’s Holy Grail than when this journey started. The Palm went on the shelf where it remains to this day. It is practically unused. It was rendered thus when I saw a Palm Tungsten t2 with its color screen. Now I could see in daylight but that was the only thing it did for me. I still had too many calendars and too many duplicated lists. Wah!! Both Palms are still in my possession. The older IIIxe sits on the shelf in hopes that someday it will be worth a lot of money as an artifact. The T2 is still in use though its role is only storage of info. I retain the title of world’s worst time manager.

Now I have a Samsung Blackjack® which talks to both of my computers but, frankly, I don’t trust it. Since “the crash,” I have never trusted an electronic tool. So, in my ensemble of practical time management tools are: the original Palm Pilots IIIxe and T2, a paper Day-timer, the Blackjack,  ACT! and Outlook on my laptop and desktop. Add to that the companies’ new on-line CRM, Plaxo’s database, Linked in, and several websites where I am expected to be present and active. Last but not least I have at least 6 different email accounts. I’m no better off for any of this.

I’m going back to paper. I think. Maybe. Well, that and the Blackjack. It will have to stay “synced”  with the two computers though. Oh, and I will have to be “present” on all those social media sites. The company also requires me to be active on the internal CRM. And I have to keep that synced with Outlook on both computers. I’ll use the T2 to store data I don’t want hacked. Guess the IIIxe will stay on the shelf a couple more years. Other than that, it’s paper all the way.

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