Get a Google Calendar already

It doesn’t matter who you are. You need a calendar. (More specifically, Google Calendar. It’s free, you know.)

Do you truly respect people and their time?

While working at a law firm for last five years, I learned that everyone uses a physical and/or digital calendar. That calendar is sacred. If it’s not on there, it doesn’t happen.

I get annoyed when something gets planned or bumped at the last minute. I’m not talking about randomly, but on a regular basis.

I’m not calling you an idiot for not having a calendar. I just think you’re foolish to keep your schedule in your head. Additionally, if people rely on your calendar to schedule things involving you, what other incentive do you need to create and maintain a calendar accessible to others?

It’s alright. They can just text/call me and I’ll let them know.

What if you’re off the grid for a few hours, or your cell phone battery is dead? Do you really want the back-and-forth exchange one person has to undertake with several people?

How about if someone is asking me on the spot?

Tell them you’ll check your calendar and get back to them. Or, keep a paper copy on hand with the next few weeks.

Can’t I just keep it on my basic cell phone calendar?

What if your cell phone breaks or it’s lost? Where’s the backup?

Alright wise guy, so how do you keep your calendar?

I love Google Calendar. Look at its features! I’m sharing my calendar for potential customers[1. I still don’t know if it’s better to call them clients.].

  • I don’t have a smartphone (e.g. BlackBerry, iPhone), but I have a data plan, so viewing [a few weeks of] upcoming events through their mobile site is simple.
  • I can add items via SMS (text message).
  • Even though I check my calendar daily, I can choose to receive reminders via SMS.
  • Customers looking at my calendar shows when I’m busy – private, yet effective.
  • Tip: I can export my private ICAL (.ics) file[2. How? On the left, click the dropbown arrow next to your calendar, then Calendar Settings. Under Private Address, right-click and save the ICAL file to your computer.], then copy it onto my Apple iPod (3G). It’s not painful to do this every few days and it forces me to have a backup on my computer. If you have a newer iPod or iPod Touch, you could do this, too.

Convinced? Setup your own Google Calendar now!

My 9-day battle against clutter

Today, I threw away enough trash to fill two small trash cans[1. Like the ones you’ll see in any office.]. Most of the trash was paper that had been on my desk or inside my inbox for months. Months.

I’m starting to feel a bit better about my desk, but there’s still a long way to go.

In regards to maintaining my file drawer, one of my major problems is the cluttered area around my desk. It’ll never clear itself up unless I attack the piles in pieces and set a deadline.

I also have a number of books that I won’t read again, and most of them aren’t in demand on eBay[2. I basically tried to sell them already for the cost of shipping.]. If they’re worth reading, I’ll probably register them on BookCrossing and leave them in a park.

I’m setting a deadline towards a clear work area: Friday, June 11, 2010.

How will I meet that goal? In chunks. Each day, I’ll discard at least one full trash can and scan 20 pages into PDF files[3. My other mental block: not having my scanner (Canon CanoScan 5600F) setup since I clean installed Windows 7.].

Why am I telling you this? I find that the visual clutter drains my energy. I’m waging battle and I’d like you to hold me accountable.

Good procrastination? I think so.

Want to join me?

  1. Take a photo of your current work area.
  2. Clean up and organize over the next nine days.
  3. Take another photo on June 11th (at the end of the day).
  4. On your own blog, explain how you cleaned and organized your mess. Include the before and after photos.
  5. Send me an email by 10:00PM PDT June 13th, 2010, including a link to your post. I’ll wrap things up for myself and link to your posts on Monday, June 14, 2010.

See you on the other side!

When is the last time you threw away a stack of papers or unused gadgets? How about a weekly review? Do you do a weekly review? How do you keep things clear? Small chunks or when you get upset? (Read “Weekly Review: Key to GTD and achieving goals” and “How to do a Weekly Review in Under an Hour“)