How often do you get asked if you are available at a certain time or certain day and you’re not sure?
For years, organized people would carry a “planner” with them that had their personal schedule (and usually had many other things as well). This was quite effective except for two things. First, if they lose their planner, they lose their schedule. The other problem was that while they might know their schedule, no one else does.
The next alternative to the planner was the PDA (personal digital assistant). The PDA would allow the schedule (and other information) to be backed up on a computer so if lost or damaged, there was a backup. Frequently, the backup could be accessed by a partner or assistant so this made it a bit more convenient. When the PDA became combined with the cell phone, it made things even more convenient. The PDA usually worked with MS Outlook so if the computer was networked, others on that network would have access to that schedule as well (if you want them to).
The problem with the PDA method is it still is difficult to see other people schedules. For example, if the marketing person is trying to set up an appointment for himself, the communications director and a potential client, the marketing person has to look at his schedule, look at the communications schedule and then check with the client for availability. This requires a great deal of back and forth in order to set up a simple meeting.
The solution is web based calender that allows sharing and also allows access (with permission). Imagine how easy it would be to go online (through a computer or hand held device like a cell phone) and see one schedule with everyones schedule on it. In the example above, the marketing person could access the calender that shows both his schedule and the communication directors schedule, see what times are available and then set things up easily with the potential client. Much cleaner and simpler than numerous phone calls or emails.
There are a number of web based calenders that can do this. The one I use can be found at www.30boxes.com. It allows for the sharing of calenders (with permission) the hiding of certain events, reminders by email or sms and much more. 30Boxes.com is owned by 37signals llc which is a small company that has some great products. There is no cost for this service and I have absolutely no connection to the company (other than using this and some other programs they offer)
Whether you use 30boxes.com or something comparable, it’s a great way to work more efficiently, especially if working with others.
Have a great day!