DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been so busy juggling family responsibilities and the grind of work that I have missed two important calls related to the charity work that I am doing. I feel horrible that I now look like a flake. I’m really not. What’s happened is I have overbooked my schedule and chaos seems to have ensued. I wrote to the woman I stood up twice now for phone meetings and expressed my apology for not following up. I assured her that I do want to have the meeting and asked to reschedule one more time. Is there anything else I should do? -- Stretched Too Thin, Milwaukee
DEAR STRETCHED TOO THIN: For the woman in question, you may want to reach out and give more explanation about your life right now to make it clear to her you are in the throes of a time management challenge.
In general, take a step back and assess your life. Write down your short-term and longer-term responsibilities. List them in categories based on the various projects you are undertaking. Include your personal life as its own category. Put deadlines and appointment times next to each item that requires it. Then include these key dates in your calendar. Put an alarm on your appointments that will remind you a few minutes before you need to make a call or go to a meeting. Finally, drop anything from your schedule that is not essential at this moment.