You don’t have to be Mr. Short Term Memory to need a reminder from time to time. (I would appreciate it if those of you who know me personally would refrain from making any jokes right now.) Two things that machines are good at are handling repetitive tasks that humans find mind-numbingly boring after awhile and laying in wait until a specified time before they take action. These 2 things are what make an online calendar ideally suited for reminding you–via email, instant message, or txt message–that it’s time for you to complete a task related to your professional life.
Every academic year (again and again and again and…), you’ll need to complete such tasks as these:
- Submit a proposal for a presentation at the major conference(s) in your field, and
- Submit an application for travel funding from your department and/or school, and
- Renew your memberships in the professional organizations to which you belong, and
- Compile your annual review materials and submit them for review, and…
Well, you get the picture.
At the beginning of each semester, before the chaos takes hold, put all of these deadlines into your calendar. And if you keep an online calendar, you should set up automated reminders so that you get an alert in advance of the deadline at intervals that make sense to you: 1 month out, 3 weeks out, 2 weeks out, 1 week out. Whatever you like.
Of course, this isn’t the only thing you need to do to to keep up with your regularly repeating tasks. It’s also a good idea to do a weekly review of all of your tasks and survey the weeks ahead in your schedule to make sure you’re doing what you need to do. But these reminders are certainly a useful and easy-to-establish way to get a machine to do some of your remembering for you.
If you have your own methods for making sure you remember to do your regularly repeating tasks, please let us hear about them in the comments. And if you’d like to add to the list of regularly repeating tasks a typical academic should remember to complete, feel free to share them below.
[Image by flickr user ppdigital (Creative Commons licensed).]