I was participating in a Harvard sponsored webinar with my boss the other day. The topic was on personal branding and they were making recommendations to executives on how to polish up their image. I guess he thought I needed the help.
One of the things they recommended to executives was to use their electronic calendar to leave themselves reminders. From a personal branding point of view they suggested that if you kept reminders then you would be seen as someone who is on top of things and nothing gets by you. -- Wait a minute! The thought is good, but...that defeats the purpose of the Scheduling feature in Outlook. If someone puts in a "birthday" or a "pick up the dry cleaning" reminder in their calendar as an all-day event, to those who are using the Scheduler, it will look like the person is busy for the day and in reality they may have the day open. When you are checking through the Scheduler, it gives no details on the meeting, just that you are not free.
I think if Microsoft asked me what I would like to see in an electronic calendar, I would suggest not to bother with the all-day event option. Who notices that string along the top anyway? Use that feature to set reminders (which everyone uses it for anyway). How many times I have booked a meeting thinking the day was free, only to notice later that an all-day event was put in unnoticed at the top.
Another one I never use. Does anyone know what all the assigned colours mean in Outlook without peeking? If you block a time in your calendar in purple, unless I check the legend or know it by memory, I have no way of knowing what that colour means. For those who do use this feature, they get a little annoyed if we don't realize their meeting with the purple colour means the meeting is out of the office. Huh?
They really should have asked assistants for their input on what would be the best features to have to accommodate our hectic and fast-paced world of meeting scheduling.