I am a big fan of automating whatever I can and being proactive. The more proactive you can be, the less fires to put out and the less stress you have. I was reading the 7 Habits book at one time which suggests that you can carry around a little calendar notebook and schedule your life for a week at a time. I tried this for about two days. I really believe in what the author is saying, but my job as a DBA and family life just didn't work well with the author's calendar system. I can schedule a proactive (what he calls important but not urgent) task at 10:00 am on Thursday, but what if one of my servers goes down at 9:55? I can schedule time at home to write an article or record a video for Bryan Knight's new site, but what if my daughter and her fiance drop by unannounced or my grandson needs to be cuddled?
So, maybe I just didn't understand the system well enough, but it didn't work for me. I have found a great tool that is helping me stay on top of things, the Motorola Q with Goodlink. I always have this device with me and the Goodlink service keeps it synchronized with Exchange at work. During my 45 minute bus ride in the morning, I can read the SQL Server Central newsletter and one or two of the articles. I also can review emails, surf the web or listen to downloaded podcasts.
Almost every day, I create an appointment item, either in Outlook at work or directly on the Q, to remind me of things that I need to do that evening. I also create an appointment item with my "hot list" for that day. This way, as I think of things, I can add the item to the appointments. Otherwise, I was always writing little "to do" lists and forgeting them. The data service for the device is expensive, but my firm is picking up that cost and the cost of the Goodlink service. One thing I am disappointed with this particular device, is that it is a "scrolling" style device. Not a lot of software is available for it. I haven't checked lately, but at one time none of the handheld SQL Server management tools worked with it. So, maybe I would have been happier with a Treo or another mobile device, but I'm really getting a lot of value from the Q.