Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Volunteer Misses Important Calls

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.

Facebook Fraud Flummoxes Friend

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m getting so confused with social media these days. Two so-called “friends” just wrote to me asking to become my friend on Facebook. I felt sure that we were already friends, but I was busy, so I accepted without checking. The next thing I know, I’m getting direct messages from one of them that seem weird. When I looked at her page, it got even stranger. The messages on the page were in patois. This woman is American and, to my knowledge, only speaks English. I called my friend, and she told me her account had been hacked. It’s so creepy how people can do that. How can I protect myself better to avoid this kind of thing in the future? -- Hacked, Boston

DEAR HACKED: You can report the hacking of your friend to Facebook. You can make your page private rather than public. In this way, you control who gets to see your page or access it in any way. From now on, do not accept any friend requests without first checking to see if you have already friended that person. Also, check out the person’s page first. This will give you an indication of whether the person is who she or he is claiming to be, and whether you would like to be connected.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)