Keeping Track of Your Time Management Schedule

There are a lot of available ways to keep track of your schedule -- How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some questions to as yourself:

  • Am I more likely to write appointments down or to type them in?
  • Do I need to be able to plan things anywhere, or is there only one location where I set up appointments?
  • Are there other people whose calendars I need to view / does anyone else need to see my calendar?
  • Do I want my calendar to remind me of upcoming events?
  • Is my schedule regular, with lots of recurring events, or does it change day-to-day and week-to-week?
  • Am I willing to spend money for high quality, or do I want as cheap as possible?
  • Is there another calendar (company, family, spouse) to which I need to enter my schedule? If so, What format is that calendar in?
  • Do I have any special systems, notations or requirements that mean I need my calendar to operate "just so", or can I adapt myself to the format I choose?
  • Am I willing to learn how to use the features of software or electronics, or do I want something as simple as possible?

What are my options?

Paper Calendars
It sounds too simple and old fashioned. And boring. But it works.

    • Cheap (at least it can be)
    • Easy
    • Flexible
    • Doesn't sync
    • You have to remember to take it with you
    • You can't set alerts
Cell Phone
Even if you don't have a smart phone, odds are good that your cell phone has a calendar feature. Even my grandmother's cell phone has one -- she can enter events, including start and end times, and tell it to alert her 10, 30, or 60 minutes before the event starts.
    • Cheap (if you already have a cell phone)
    • Can set alerts
    • Probably doesn't sync
    • Not very flexible or powerful

Smart Phone or PDA
If you've been considering getting an iPhone, a Blackberry, or some other form of Smart Phone or PDA (personal digital assistant), it make sense to use the calendar function on that device. Usually it will coordinate with your to-do list, and sync with some form of calendar software on your computer.

    • You may already carry it with you everywhere
    • Usually syncs with your computer
    • Recurring events only have to be entered once
    • Fairly flexible and powerful
    • Can set alerts
    • Higher upfront expense
    • If you don't already carry it everywhere, you have to remember to take it with you
    • More powerful software means more learning required
Software on Your Computer
    • Syncs with electronics and with other computers
    • Easily handles multiple schedules
    • Coordinates with your to-do list and client database or address book
    • Can set alerts
    • Recurring events need be entered only once
    • May be high upfront cost
    • More powerful software means more learning required
    • Only accessible when you're at your computer
    • Alerts only work when you're at your computer

Online Calendar
There are many applications for keeping track of your schedule -- some better than others. Google Calendar is the most popular, but if you look around you can probably find many others that will meet your requirements.

    • Available on any computer and many smart phones
    • Will often sync with software calendars
    • Usually can handle multiple schedules easily
    • Can set alerts
    • Recurring events need be entered only once
    • Usually Free
    • Can give others access to your calendar
    • Only accessible when you have internet access
    • Sync technology not always reliable
    • Alerts may only be useful if you have internet access
    • Higher possibility that your calendar can be hacked

Download a worksheet to help you select the schedule tracker that's best for you, or download the module to design an entire time management solution.

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