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Whether you’re using a PDA or a notebook or my favorite, the Productivity Pro® Daytimer®, carry your system with you at all times. It MUST be available. Scheduling meetings or checking due dates can happen in the oddest of places. You might want to switch to something more portable, more “Handy,” if your system is too cumbersome to keep with you.

The “U” in our “HUG” method stands for “Usable.” A usable system combines both your personal and your professional lives. If you have ever tried to keep separate work and home calendars, you know that you will inevitably have conflicts. You might be at home talking to a friend on the phone and she asks you for a lunch date on Thursday. You don’t have your work calendar with you, because it’s back at the office. You think you might have something going on, but you schedule lunch anyway. Then, when you get back to the office and check your work calendar, you end up with a conflict.

Another scenario might be that you’re at work and your team wants to schedule a brief meeting on Saturday. Perhaps you keep a family calendar at home on the refrigerator, and you think might have something going on with your seven-year-old and a soccer tournament that weekend…but you can’t be sure, and you agree to the meeting, and it results in a conflict.

It’s better to keep your entire life in one place. If you don’t have a handheld, when you get an Outlook® appointment at work, you’re going to have to put that into your planner so that when you go home and you have something to add from your personal life, you can write that in as well. That way, both sets of information are in there.

Alternately, you can enter your personal items into your work Outlook calendar and either print those out to take back with you or be able to sync them to your handheld. If you do that, you must be willing to type things directly into your handheld when you think of things that you need to do. I personally don’t want to type into my handheld. I record it in the Productivity Pro Day-Timer. That way, when I get back to the office, I can enter it into Outlook if I choose. This results in a system that’s going back and forth.

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