Managing time


Our new year of 2011 has not started off as well as it might have. For openers, I could not find the 2011 monthly calendar insert for my Day-Runner or Planner or whatever the brand name.

It isn’t like I didn’t try. Ask for a 2011 calendar in September 2010 and you get funny looks, like, “2011? That’s next year.” I know it.

Just watch the salesperson’s face when you ask the same question in October. “Oh, you waited too long. They’ve been backordered since September. Advanced planning, you know.”

Yeah, well, I’m not into planning in advance. It’s all I can handle, planning in the present. A big event I might remember – like Christmas, since there are reminders everywhere.

But the nearly routine? Doctors’ appointments? A haircut? Deadlines? When I made a date to have my hair cut, I wrote it on a card with a medical appointment because it was going to be the same date, two hours apart, and I thought that was foolproof.

It wasn’t. The time was 12:15 on a Thursday, two full hours after the doctor’s appointment. I was in the kitchen with Dave fixing a bite of lunch when the phone rang.

“Sallie? It’s Liz. Didn’t we have an appointment today at 12:15?” It was then 12:45.

Of course we did. I just didn’t have a calendar in my DayRunner, hence I was relying on my memory, a bad mistake, or thought the note on the doctor’s little business card would remind me. Might have if I had remembered that I had tucked it into a hymnal on the piano rack.

I felt horrible. It was only my third visit with Liz, and I was embarrassed that it had happened. I wouldn’t blame her for an instant if she suggested that perhaps I’d better find someone else to cut my hair. Her being so gracious about it only made me feel worse.

So, I finally got the calendar insert, but managed to lose it for a week. It’s been found, but still not in my notebook.

My dates for this month are scattered wherever I carried the phone, on a corner of the newspaper, on a register receipt, and probably too cryptic to decipher. Most of them were noted last year but there was no place to put them where I’d see them. I’ll find them, of course, just not in time for me to keep.

I bought a tiny device about 10 years ago that was supposed to hold several hundred contacts, mostly phone numbers, and be safe from battery failure. I was close to getting it up and running when the battery did indeed fail, and took all my data with it. At that point I swore off PDAs except for the paper pages of my DayRunner.

The day is coming near, I sure hope, when technology will slow down and protect fools like me. I haven’t mastered the added benefits of the last cell phone upgrade yet, so maybe it’s time to go for a Blackberry-type. If anyone (other than someone who works for a telephone company) wants to advise me on this matter, I’ll be happy to have your suggestions. I want a telephone, of course, with 1,000 minutes a month, long distance, the obvious. Has the time finally come that would allow me to send this column from the boat to the office via the Internet?

And a working GPS unit would likewise keep me in sight, right? Furthermore, this device has to be very, very cheap, and bring me breaking news headlines.

Am I being unreasonable? Thought so.

A whole new work ethic is what I need. That and time sensitivity rehab. My editor would like this column in his hands – well, in his computer – on Thursday. Friday works just as well because he’s busy with the Weekend section on Thursday. I go to bed Friday, telling myself that Saturday is good enough since he doesn’t go in on the weekend anyway.

Now it’s early Monday evening and I’m still typing, reviewing, scratching my head to find a way out of here. Maybe I’ll just stop.

Right here.