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Calendar and scheduling bad habits

Back in the good old HTML days of dadams.co.uk there was a page called ‘Hall of Shame’ which featured such things as junk mail, orange juice, onions, roadworks, cigars, unnecessarily large 4-wheel drive vehicles, cricket, wasps, fox hunting and people who pay for £2’s worth of items in a supermarket using a credit or debit card. Oh, and the one that people used to e-mail me to agree about – shop assistants who put the receipt in your hand and then place the change on top of it.

Today I have been driven to consider resurrecting the Hall of Shame, but instead I’ve decided to just highlight this item on it’s own. I’m a Lotus Notes user (and proud of it), most of the offenders are Lotus Notes users, but the problem has nothing to do with Notes – it’s all down to people. My calendar is pristine and organised. I am known to edit calendar appointments sent by other people if I don’t like the wording of the subject or the location (several times a day). Yes, that’s anal. With that in mind, let’s run through a few dos and don’ts. Actually, the don’ts…

  1. Don’t put the date of the meeting in the subject field. There’s no need to. When I look at the appointment I can see what date it falls on due to the unique design of the calendar which displays the month and the day of the month.
  2. Don’t put the location in the subject field. There’s a special field for that. It’s called ‘Location’. The clue is in the title of said field.
  3. Don’t put the location in the subject field. I know I just said that. Let me explain further… if you insist on putting the location in the subject field, when the location changes I’ll get a reschedule telling me the subject has changed. So don’t blame me if I turn up at the wrong place.
  4. When you invite me to a conference call, I don’t need every phone number on the entire planet. If you’re based in England, I’m based in England and the rest of the attendees are based in England, we don’t need the dial-in details for Venezuela.
  5. Don’t put every phone number on the entire planet in the location field.
  6. When you invite me to a meeting, it’s rather selfish if the subject is ‘Meeting with Darren’. For you it might be a meeting with Darren, but for me it’s a meeting with you (whatever your name happens to be).

…works for Microsoft as a Global Account Technology Strategist. In a former life he worked for the Lotus brand within IBM for many years. Married with one daughter and two dogs, lives in Camberley (Surrey, England), plays the guitar to a mediocre standard, and runs 10 kms and half marathons at an average speed. That’s it really.

Rubbish

Darren Adams • 6 October 2008


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Comments

  1. Lewis 6 October 2008 - 7:07 pm Reply

    Darren, as we’ve discussed F2F, I couldn’t agree more with you. Here’s one I got sent recently, I think it captures your point perfectly. All the data below was sent as the *SUBJECT* of the call! I particularly like the repetition of the UK Conf call number! (Some content edited for privacy)…

    NOTES: JOHN SMITH TO OPEN CALL
    =================================
    Something Lunch n’ Learn Call
    ==================================
    Subject: The Something Wiki (See Details below)
    Presented by: John Smith
    ==================================
    Notes: Pls try to attend these calls
    ==================================
    PARTICIPANT PASSCODE: 12345678
    BIRMINGHAM: 44-121-210-9008 0800-279-9274
    GLASGOW: 44-141-202-3208 0800-279-9274
    LEEDS: 44-113-301-2108 0800-279-9274
    LONDON: 44-20-7984-7591 0800-279-9274
    MANCHESTER: 44-161-601-1408 0800-279-9274
    USA 866-326-9183

  2. Darren 7 October 2008 - 6:12 am Reply

    Possibly the worst I ever encountered was an invite sent by a manager’s assistant… bearing in mind that the repeating meeting involved about twenty people, the names of the attendees were contained in the subject field (along with the location of course). If that wasn’t bad enough…

    Every time the status of one of the attendees changed (e.g. if someone couldn’t attend) I’d get a reschedule. But it wasn’t really a reschedule as the time / date / location hadn’t changed, but the subject had changed to included “Apologies from…” followed by the name of the latest person to drop out.

    This meeting was also my reason for mentioning #3 – in the middle of so many subject changes the location also changed, but as the location was in the subject field it just looked like the subject had changed yet again. I provided some ‘education’ to the meeting’s chairperson.

  3. Pete 7 October 2008 - 1:46 pm Reply

    Daz, could’nt agree with you more mate. Trouble is, I fear that alot of it is due to lazyness and the fact folk just can’t be bothered to fill out a form correctly. I suggest next time you receive one of the offending invites, cattle bolt …back of their head…they won’t do it again 😉

  4. Ports 7 October 2008 - 7:25 pm Reply

    Could I put in a vote for the return of the Hall of Shame 🙂

  5. Darren 7 October 2008 - 9:52 pm Reply

    @4 – what I could do is write Hall of Shame entries as blog entries and categorise them as Hall of Shame, and then you could pick the Hall of Shame category making it a Hall of Shame page whenever you want it.

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