I sometimes find it difficult to reconcile my work, social and domestic commitments, particularly when my wife (Helen) and I have to juggle responsibility for taking and collecting our two children from school and after-school club (plus, in my daughter’s case, Brownies and Woodcraft Folk too). Microsoft Outlook has been OK as a personal calendar and to manage meetings with colleagues within BIW, but I have to update it regularly as plans are changed to accommodate work appointments, drinks after work, babysitters, football trips, cycling club meetings and the like (and the paper calendar on our kitchen wall is covered in scribbles to reflect the constant changes).
I have therefore started experimenting with Google Calendar (you can export all your Outlook appointments direct to Google). I have invited Helen to share my calendars: a work-focused calendar which she can see, plus another devoted to the school routine that either of us can update (hopefully creating a ‘single version of the truth’ online will help avoid any confusion as to who is supposed to be doing what, when and where – if there is any doubt on the latter, the Calendar solution is also conveniently linked to Google Maps). By merging several calendars together in a single view, I can see both domestic and professional commitments at a glance; we can also use the ‘create event’ feature to invite people round, etc.
As another web-based service from Google, I think this feature has great potential for helping people to coordinate their commitments across all their various spheres of activities or interests. Looking within AEC project teams, for example, individuals may have domestic calendars, corporate calendars and project team calendars (and perhaps, in some cases, several of the latter). The logical step must be to make these various Google calendars interoperable with the calendar features often included within project extranet solutions