Have you ever found yourself dashing out of your office for a meeting and realizing you’re not sure where it’s being held? Have you ever experienced a surge of panic when you’re late leaving for an all-day event and realize you don’t know the address and you’re confused about the actual starting time? You have a vague memory that the event opened with registration, but at 8:30 a.m. does registration open or is that the start time of YOUR presentation?

Magic Solution Available

One small habit can help you eliminate these frustrations. The negative fallout that emerges from being late can become a faded memory! No more embarrassing confessions or awkward efforts to explain why you showed up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The solution is so simple you’ll likely resist it. After all things that are easy to do are ALSO easy NOT to do. Keep an open mind and give this small habit a try.

Electronic Calendars—Use Them

The first time you’re made aware of the meeting or the event put the time, the place, and any important details in your calendar. Whether you use Outlook, Google, or the native app on your phone, fields for the crucial information await you.

  • Even if it seems unnecessary, add a phone number if one is available. When things go wrong, a phone number can be the most valuable information to have readily available.
  • As a bonus, entering a proper street address in the designated address field creates an interconnection between apps, making the GPS map readily available via your calendar entry. 

Notes Field—Possibilities Expand

The notes field can be especially valuable for adding a host of additional information.

  • In the notes you can make distinctions between registration time and the time of the first speaker.
  • If you want to remind yourself about particular items you need to bring to the meeting or special information to remember about reserved parking, the notes field is the perfect place for these reminders.
  • If you’re meeting with an individual, use the notes field to capture valuable reminders about the purpose of the meeting and even key points you intend to raise during the meeting. 

Here’s the crucial habit

When you’re busy sorting through email and anxious to move on to other things, that’s when you must STOP and take 1-2 minutes to transfer this information, likely from an email, into your calendar. Pause, imagine yourself on the day or hour before needing the information, and notice if everything you will need at that moment is ALL contained in the calendar event. When you’ve accomplished that you’re done! When the meeting or event, which is weeks away, arrives you need only open your calendar and follow your directions. Then you can appreciate yourself for spending 2 minutes weeks ago that is paying dividends now—less unnecessary stress, confidence that you’re meeting your responsibilities, and a growing awareness that you can change by adopting new, small habits.

Warning!

When you’re reading your email and the details are right in front of you, transferring this information into the calendar will seem like a monumental waste of time. You may imagine at that moment when the details are so clear that you’ll remember these details later. But you won’t remember them. And even if you do remember them, it’s only because you spent way too much mental energy reminding yourself of something that could so easily be delegated to a reliable external system (electronic calendar).

Path of Least Resistance—What Is It?

Even more likely you’ll reason that you can simply save the email and review the information when needed. Saving the email is the path of least resistance now, but on the day of, opening the calendar to find the details will be the path of least resistance. So definitely choose the easier path, BUT just make sure to consider what the easier path will be WHEN you need the information.

Problems with relying on the saved email.

Relying on a saved email requires a robust system for saving emails or a reliable memory for the key words to search to find it, and if you’re on the go, you’ll also need a phone that stores emails long enough to find older messages. Plus the email with the details likely came from someone with whom you have many emails with details. How many emails will you need to sort through to find the right one? This can work, but if it did work would you have the problem of not knowing important details when you need them?

Details NOT available via email?

If the details for the meeting or event come from a phone call or a face-to-face meeting, jot them down and add them to the calendar ASAP. To ensure accuracy and follow-up, you might request the convener of the meeting or event to send the details in an email to make this part of a new workflow habit.

David Clode