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Who’s doing the work of remembering for you–your memory or your software?

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in Admin Pro Forum

Question: “I am now so completely dependent on my Outlook reminders and calendar alerts that it’s almost a little scary, but with so much going on and so many people to support I really need these crutches! Has anyone but me reached the tipping point where you’re pretty much at the mercy of the computer to remind you of exactly what needs to be done, and when?” – C.J., Administrative Specialist

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa January 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I agree that sometimes it seems like we’re too reliant on technology. I found this out the hard way when I found out that my Outlook reminders had suddenly stopped working. And of course, it took me a little while to realize it! So I rely on a combination of Outlook, a paper calendar (because I’m a really “visual” person and like to have something sitting out on my desk so I don’t have to toggle back and forth between programs all day!) and an old-fashioned to-do list I keep on a spiral notebook. They all work together to keep me pretty organized!

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Karen January 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Plan ahead for inclement weather and print the calendar or task list for the next few days. Yes, I know that doesn’t work for unexpected power/internet outages. I agree time to clean out files or catch up on other work if the comptuer is down. I kept a double calendar for a brief time the ancient day planner and outlook calendar, it wastes too much time making double entries. Now the issue is quad calendars, one for work (and the multiple boss calendar access), one for home, one for the hubbies schedule and a separate volunteer calendar to keep me on track with those dates as well.

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Delia Barret January 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I just checked: I have 1,102 contacts. And that’s just in my regular contacts folder. I have other folders for vendors, employees, product reps, etc. No way a Rolodex can hold all that. So, I’m with you Mary Ellen. When our network is down, I file or clean out the refrigerator ’cause otherwise I’m ‘out of order.’

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Kelly January 2, 2014 at 7:08 am

The problem with being too dependent on technology is that it just plain fails every once in a while, like when our network went down during a snowstorm. I sat there trying to make a list of all my scheduled tasks, hoping I wasn’t forgetting something. And after a vacation, because I have so many passwords, I sometimes need to be at my original computer when I work because they’re all stored and pre-loaded there–I just can’t remember them unless the auto-fill helps me out. If you go too much on auto-pilot, you’re efficient right up until the second the auto-pilot conks out, and then you realize how helpless you’ve become.

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Theresa Kasel January 2, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Here’s a suggestion to make secure 12-character passwords that you can remember:
1. Come up with three letters — ex: bat
2. Come up with three numbers — ex: 704
3. The last three or first three characters of the website you need to password for — ex: ier (for Premier Bank)
4. Come up with three letters — ex: due
5. Create your password using the above twelve characters — bat704ierdue

If you need to change the password, you can adjust back in the website name — do the second to last three letters (mie) or bump up the number. You can also substitute an “@” for an “a” or some other character for a letter or number if the password needs a special character.

That way, you really only need to remember three characters for any password that you use and you have a pretty secure password.

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Jenni December 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I too absolutely rely on my Google calendar for everything, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! Ironically I do find myself forgetting whether I entered the reminder into my calendar and sometimes end up with two calendar entries for the same thing!

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Joan December 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Not really. A tool is a tool is a tool. Outlook is just the latest one to help busy Admins stay on top of their jobs. Whether you come from my Stone Age of desk-top page-for-a-day Calendars, or a now outdated-but-still-around Day Planner, the reminders are still necessary. The real problem is that of overload. With our present society’s expectations of instant gratification, having too MANY things to be responsible for and too MANY people to support has created anxiety across the business support field. I say “Be grateful for the reliability of your Outlook tool.” It is a blessing, not a crutch!

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