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ethical considerations of high frequency econometrics and decision making

A developer who exists as a calendar based lifeform

Written by Tamás Deme on Sat Mar 09 2024.

Anyone who knows me is well aware how there are some tools that essentially drive my life. My notes being the first - something I talked about before on this very place - but my calendar coming close second. To fix this, I'd like to take this time to talk about my calendaring habits and maybe show you some things you could do you might've been not aware of. (Although a lot of these will be obvious to people who are calendar veterans.)

Before continuing, to get some of the joke-y phrases out of my system quickly: "if it's not in the calendar it doesn't exist" and "my love language is sending my friends calendar invites". Also, I want to point out that I don't intend to talk about personal time management here, or these newfangled "AI" calendars.

Alter your defaults #

Let's kick things off by talking about capabilities most calendar tools have but might not have enabled by default - or could be wise to change their default settings.

To start with maybe the most basic thing, add a second calendar for external events. I define external events as things that I care about that would exist in other people's calendars, e.g. a friend is flying somewhere or is attending a call so you want to remember you can't call them at the time. The reason to put these in a separate calendar is for easy toggle-ability. Even if you edit these events, and mark yourself during these events as "free" they definitely make it harder to easily glance at your own things. And of course, you get color coding with it for free.

Changing the default reminder time is also a good idea. In Outlook it's 30 minutes by default, which in my mostly remote and meeting-heavy calendar isn't that ideal - I'd personally prefer something 5 or 10 minutes before. At the same time, when I was going to places physically more often, I had it set to 1 hour as that let me get to the place I was going.

Use the features you're not using #

Most calendars let you enable weather information for the days of the week. It's one of those small things that help you make quick scheduling decisions without having to dig into a different tool.

Maybe one of my favorite lesser-known features is to add multiple time zone timelines to your calendar view. Outlook lets you add 2 additional sets of time indicator columns to the left side, so I have both the west and east coast time zones of the US visible - I have many ties overseas so this makes scheduling easier yet again.

If you're someone who gets invited to meetings, you'll definitely know that you have an option to say "maybe" besides yes or no. But at the same time some people don't realize you can change the response/status of your own events and even use more options than yes/no/maybe. Besides those three, usually you also have the capability to mark an event as "free" and "out of office". While the latter is maybe not as useful for yourself, the former is a great way to mark things on your calendar that you want to know about but don't actively require your attention. Plus, marking your own event "maybe" is a great way to indicate that you haven't decided if you want to go for it or not.

Have more and better events #

First, more events.

While I often see people block out personal time or similar in their calendars, I haven't really seen anyone mark travel in their calendars besides flying. I recommend adding transit events to your calendar, even for things within your city. Just because technically some activity I have ends at 10, I often need to get home from there... which might take an hour, so not until 11 I can take meetings properly. Adding separate transit events has helped me understand my time better and avoid scheduling mistakes.

To make sure I don't miss events that might be "out of view" (e.g. they are at 2 in the morning, but I usually have the view scrolled to the afternoon time range) I also like to add note and reminder events. Sadly, calendars don't let you set multiple reminders for a single event, so this is just a quick way to make sure I remember there might be an event past midnight on the next day.

Then, better events.

People sometimes like to use emojis in event titles but typing them can be a bit annoying and calendar apps often add their own anyway when they recognize certain keywords in event titles. Instead, I recommend using a "standardized" set of symbols for a glanceable overview of your events. When applicable I start my event titles with these characters, separating the title proper by a space:

shore party out

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