Saturday, October 02, 2004
Shallow Thoughts on Electronic Organizers
I'm intrigued by the decline in my memory as I age. It's interesting to be aware of it. It takes more effort to get most things to transfer from short-term to longer term memory. If I don't make an effort I definitely won't remember, and even if I do make an effort, I find myself forgetting things. I have reached the point that I just forgive myself and move on.
I wonder about the effect of electronic organizers. About four years ago I began using my electronic calendar (Outlook) exclusively, because I was scheduling dozens of meetings on the fly each week. Prior to this busy time in my work-life I had been able to maintain my schedule in my head, and very rarely would 'forget' an appointment; it wasn't worth it to take the time to enter appointments into an electronic device... but that changed. Now I rely fully on my Outlook calendar to know where I'm supposed to be when. I've recently made a similar transition with my to-do lists. if there's something I need to remember to do, I enter it into Outlook now. Depending on its level of importance I enter it either as a to-do or as a note.
I no longer make much of an effort to remember things except for the things I want to learn. Some things aren't worth trying to remember if you have an efficient knowledge-management system. Over the past year I have reached an epiphany of sorts regarding the web sites which I manage...it is this: the web site can be my knowledge-management platform. Eureka.!? Well, maybe not, but I think it does take a shift in thought-paradigm to embrace the capability of which I speak. Let me give a brief example... I was learning how to use Inspiration software efficiently for a paper last summer. In order to use it efficiently, like any program, it really helps to know the keyboard shortcuts. At first I tried to remember them from session to session without success. So instead, I made a quick web page on the help site that I manage. I can navigate to the web page from anywhere in the world in about eight seconds; a considerably shorter period of time that it would take me to remember, or figure out these shortcuts again.