Guest blog - Where to be and when, the joys of timetables and appointments

by Rhodri Buttrick on 29 March 2010

As a dyslexic, one of the main problems I have is organising myself. I seem to spend half my time trying to decide what I am meant to be doing and where I am meant to be. By the time I’ve figured it out, I’ve missed an appointment or wasted an afternoon. Some people get round this problem by having a calendar or wall-chart but even if I could handwrite, this would not be very useful.

It would be really inconvenient to have to unroll a massive poster in a corridor just to find out what lecture I was meant to be attending! Some people print out a timetable for each week but I hate having things on bits of paper because they get lost – Paper has a magical ability of disappearing. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I reach into my pocket for a timetable and pulled out a rabbit! At school, I could get by through following my friends in my class but at university there are so many people, all heading for different lectures, this really isn’t a sensible option.

Eventually I found a solution. With my Disabled Students Allowance, I ordered a Hewlett-Packard PDA and a copy of Outlook for my laptop. I can now enter my entire timetable for the term on to my Outlook calendar and sync it with my PDA.  This means if I’m up on campus and forget where I am meant to be going, all I do is take the PDA out of my pocket and have a look.  It even flashes up a reminder 15 minutes before a seminar. Even if I (heaven forbid) lose my PDA, my timetable with all its appointments are stored in Outlook on my laptop and on the Internet on my Hotmail account, making it practically impossible to lose my timetable.

Previously, if I arranged to meet a seminar leader to discuss an essay title, for example, I would be unable to write the appointment down and ran the risk of forgetting to turn up. With the PDA I can simply enter the details before I forget.

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