Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Time management in the palm of your hand


By Jason Perlow

This is a review of PalmPlanning's video, Time Management in the Palm of Your Hand -- Get A Grip Using A Digital Planner, shown in Figure A. So you're probably saying to yourself, like I originally did, "Why the hell do I need a video to teach me how to use a PalmPilot? I've had one for nearly three years and I know everything there is to know about how to use one, and then some."


Check out PalmPlanning's video and put time management in the palm of your hand! (click for larger image)

Although you, like me, probably can't live without your Palm unit, you probably don t take advantage of all of its features. For example, I tend to use the Address List more than any other application. I read and make a lot of DOC files. I use AvantGo and Isilo for storing Web pages, and I send my email. Sure, I use the Date Book, To Do List, and the Memo Pad, but not as often as I could, and without much of a method to my madness. Quite frankly, my organizational skills leave a lot to be desired.

I was surprised to find that PalmPlanning's time management videotape is for exactly the kind of user I am, someone who loves his or her Palm device and wants to improve organizational skills. It s also great for newbies who have never owned a Palm device and might be intimidated by the wealth of features in the device.

The tape teaches a specific time management system which can be defined as a set of habits or day-to-day procedures that you can use to keep organized and to manage appointments, issues and goals. If you're familiar with the system that Franklin Covey teaches to corporate folks for their binder-type planners, you'll probably notice similarities. However, the designer of the system, Larry Becker, who has taught time management to some of the top companies in the country, has borrowed and expanded on many different paper-based time management systems, and come up with a system that works well on the Palm unit using the built-in programs.

You won t have to buy anything extra to take advantage of the tape, although Larry shows you how to use several different freeware and shareware tools like Hackmaster extensions to improve your productivity. I went through his tape and I learned a whole bunch of things about the Palm organizer that I never knew. For instance, I learned how to use a Hackmaster utility so that the Palm device can automatically determine if you're writing capital letters, and how to take advantage of little-known shortcut commands. I plan to give the tape to my dad, a general practicing dentist who keeps many appointments, as a birthday present to compliment the brand new Visor Deluxe I gave him on Fathers Day.

The tape is extremely well-produced. Larry Becker is a really good speaker and narrator. He has a very clear voice and his charming southern drawl keeps the pace of the video upbeat. The Palm unit itself is represented in the video using a clear digital transfer of a Palm V emulator program on a Macintosh laptop. The tape is divided into 15-20 minute blocks, so you don t have to watch it all in one sitting. Larry covers an awful lot of material in the tape, so you'll probably want to rewind a lot. It might be beneficial to go through each section a few times.

If you're new to Palm devices, or if you just want to learn how to get organized, this tape is great. I highly recommend it if you're someone who wants to get the most out of your Palm device.