I’m going to take a break this week from all the tech talk to discuss deadlines. As the rest of the CAPE staff knows, if you don’t give me a deadline, I’m probably going to forget to do it or back burner it indefinitely. Deadlines help me gauge what items are more of a priority so I can manage my time accordingly. I’m always striving to better manage my time and be “ahead of the game” but that rarely happens. Things tend to come up that take anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours out of my day and before I know it, it’s the end of the day and I haven’t put a dent in my to-do list.
Speaking of end of the day, that’s when I typically finish hammering out my posts so I can send it to another colleague to proof them before posting. In rushing to finish last week’s post, it sparked the idea to write this week’s post out of respect for my colleague who proofs them. I came across an Inside Higher Ed article titled “Deadlines Matter” that better expresses my point. While waiting until the last minute to have my post proofed seems minute, I may be throwing off my colleague’s schedule, possibly causing her to be late on deadlines.
While I said I was taking a break from the tech talk, I can’t help but add in a piece of how technology has helped me keep up with deadlines. Since I sit at my desk the majority of the day, I take full advantage of my Outlook calendar. As you can see, some days are fuller than others.
What helps keep me organized are calendar appointments, tasks, and categories. I’ll add reoccurring calendar events for things that I repeatedly do: like write and post the blog and teach class every Tuesday and Thursday. I can set reminders for each event to alert me ahead of time that the event is coming up. Outlook’s default time is set for 15 minutes. I like to let Outlook alert me initially and then continue to hit snooze for each alert until I’m ready to dismiss it. I’ve found it very useful when I need a reminder to do something but I get tied up with other things unexpectedly. If I have items that need to get done, but they don’t necessarily need to go on my calendar, I’ll add them to my tasks. I can still set reminders on tasks to alert me of the task. Additionally, I can set start dates and due dates to gauge my progress. On top of these items, I can set categories, which lets me color code items in Outlook. I love it, probably because I love colors so much. I can quickly gauge what type of event I have based on its category.
I also get to reap Outlook’s benefits by syncing my account to my phone. If I’m not at my desk, my phone will alert me of upcoming calendar events. It’s been wonderful especially when I’ve had back-to-back meetings.
If you struggle with deadlines, this Forbes article may also be able to help: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tykiisel/2013/03/27/deadlines-objectives-and-action-oh-my/