BOB MCKINNEY: What I know


BOB MCKINNEY: What I know

My wife and I coordinate our schedules pretty well.

It’s easy because she is in charge of our social life and I rely on her to let me know when I need to be somewhere. As an introvert, there would be little or no social life for me if I were not married. I like people, but they make me tired, and I probably wouldn’t make the effort on my own.

I also have this weird paranoia about rejection, so I’m hesitant to initiate with people.

(All topics for another day, and my future therapist, whose list is getting longer).

The work schedule is an entirely different matter. She doesn’t go to work with me, so I must keep up with my schedule there.

As anyone in the workforce knows, paper calendars have gone the way of the fax machine. Our work calendars are now kept on our computers and/or in our smartphones. I have not had a paper calendar for about ten years.

Even while I was still using a paper desk calendar, some of my colleagues were advancing to handheld devices, which I guess could loosely be called the forerunner to the tablet computer and/or smartphone. I remember seeing folks walking around with those little machines and thinking how that would never be me.

I was, however, eventually forced out of the paper calendar world. I don’t remember the exact year the change occurred, but I remember it was during the month of October that I ordered my calendar for the following year through the purchasing system of the company where I worked at the time, and when it had not come by December, I asked someone about it.

That’s when I learned it would be no more. If I wanted a physical calendar, that cost would be on me.

As with any change, it took some adjusting, and as I have previously shared, I have at times been slow to evolve with technology.

But I’m nothing if not progressive (not in the political sense, but in the living of life sense), and today I maintain my work life with an electronic calendar and it’s as natural as breathing. Each morning I pull it up and preview the day’s meetings and events, and each afternoon before I shut down I look to see what will be happening the next day.

And really, it works better for me. When I kept a paper calendar at work, I was never the type to plan things down to the minute, as some of my colleagues would do (and still do, electronically).

I never used one of the elaborate day planners, with 15 minute intervals, that were considered the gold standard of efficiency back in the pre-tech days. I can be anal retentive about some things, but planning by the quarter hour has never been one of them.

Similarly, I was terrible at keeping billable hours when I practiced law in a firm, one of the myriad reasons I rejoiced when that chapter of my life came to a close. I’m sure that can now be done in an automated fashion, but I’m glad I don’t have to deal with it.

Today I do love the way, if someone wants to plan something with me (or I with them) at work, or include me in a meeting, a meeting invitation is sent and, once accepted, is automatically put on the calendar. We can all see each other’s schedules, so we don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out when someone can meet. It’s pure genius, doing most of the work for me, and making me more efficient.

So, just as it has been with so much of technology, I was late to the party, but now that it’s in full swing, I’m 100 percent joining in.

As I said earlier, the home and social calendar are a different story. For a few years when our children were still at home, we kept a big master calendar/schedule about the size of a poster board where everyone’s activities were, in theory, entered. I say “in theory” because it was not a perfect system and there were times any one of us might have forgotten to enter something on the calendar.

But as I recall, it worked pretty well for the most part. It was a good way to check in and keep up on all the various comings and goings, and was especially helpful during sports seasons.

The backup for all of that was my wife, who made sure she told us where we needed to be at any given moment. This is a responsibility she still maintains with just the two of us. She does a great job and when I forget something, it’s on me, because she rarely fails to remind me of my obligations.

I also rely on other tried and true memory aids. When I was at a doctor’s appointment recently and I needed to schedule a return visit, the young office worker told me the time and date. When I didn’t immediately leave her desk, she kind of snickered and asked, “So do you want a card?”

And yes I did want a card because I would put it on the dashboard of my car to remind me about the next appointment. Just as I put the little cards from the dentist’s office (that are cleverly in the shape of a tooth) in my bathroom cabinet next to my toothbrush so I’ll know when my next cleaning will be.

Laugh if you like, but if these systems work, they work. I can’t leave everything to my wife.

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at bmac101@yahoo.com.

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