Tuesday, December 1, 1998

Maximizing your time with Date Book


By Jeff Carlson

The holiday season, for me, is heralded not by autumn leaves or winter gift catalogs, but by the impending crush of my schedule. As I look ahead to the rest of December and January -- the family get-togethers, shopping excursions, special events, plus my regular workload -- the importance of managing my time becomes painfully clear. If your schedule looks like mine (or if you just want more control over it), here are some techniques and tips that will help you maximize your time management using the Palm organizer's built-in Date Book application.

Time is on my side

There are several good utilities available for managing your time, including project planners, hour-tracking applications, and reminder programs. However, I want to focus solely on the built-in Date Book. Many Palm organizer users use it every day without realizing that they're only scratching the surface of its capabilities. You can save time just by using Date Book more effectively.

"Pressing the plastic Date Book button repeatedly switches between the Day, Week, and Month views."

For example, you know that the plastic Date Book button on the case (the one on the far left) will bring up the Date Book application. But I run into folks all the time who don't know that pressing the button repeatedly switches between the Day, Week, and Month views. Similarly, if you've navigated to a different date (using the Go To button at the bottom of the screen), you can press the plastic Date Book button to quickly take you back to the current date's Day view.

Another method of enhancing your Date Book use is by speeding up your input. Although the standard method of entering appointments isn't difficult -- tap the New button, tap the time bars that appear, tap OK, then write the name of your event -- isn't there a better way? You bet there is! Simply begin writing the time of the appointment in the numbers area of the Graffiti silk screen area. Alternatively, you can also start writing the name of the event, which will appear at the top of the screen as an untimed entry, as shown in Figure A. When you're finished writing, tap the black diamond located to the left of the name and set the Start and End times in the Set Time screen.


Enter events quickly by writing them in the Graffiti area.

Even reducing the amount of visual clutter on the screen can be helpful. Cunning Palm organizer users have discovered that if you set the Start Time and the End Time in the Preferences screen to the same time, you'll see only scheduled events in the Day view, not the blank lines representing each hour, as shown in Figure B.