If you're like me, you've probably paid the price, perhaps more than once, for a missed meeting, call, or appointment. If you've been into GTD for any length of time, you know how sacred the calendar is for mapping out the hard landscape. But what if that landscape suddenly shifts?
Are you aware that a new Daylight Savings Time (DST) law that went into effect on January 1, 2007 that will affect your personal or group calendar and any PDAs or smartphones that you use?
Beginning this year, the United States and parts of Canada will extend the period covered by Daylight Savings Time. DST will begin the second Sunday of March (three weeks earlier than before) and continue until the first Sunday in November (one week later than before). This document refers to the weeks that are affected by the change as “extended DST weeks”.
The possibility exists that some calendar entries, such as meetings and appointments that have been scheduled to occur during the extended DST weeks will appear one hour later and will need to be adjusted by one hour.
I've been trying to wrap my head around the confusing list of rules, requirements, and patches for Windows & Mac, Outlook and Lotus Notes, Treos and Blackberries... oh, and Palm Desktop and Entourage. It's dizzying, at best. While most vendors are slowly coming out with patches (including patches to the patches, at least as of yesterday) to help resolve the problem moving forward, the real challenge will be how to deal with existing appointments and meetings on your calendar, those created before the relevant DST patches were applied.
What makes this even more challenging is that some people have their computers set to auto-update from Microsoft or Apple while other's don't. Which means that it's possible to have a group of users using computers (or hand helds) each relying on inconsistent rules for determining what time a 10:00 AM meeting should appear on the calendar for March 15th. Depending on the settings that 10:00 AM meeting might appear at 10:00 AM or at 11:00 AM!
The patches seem straight forward enough; it's getting everything and everyone to play by the same rules that poses the real challenge. Oh, and then we still have the nagging issue of what to do with appointments and meetings that are already on the calendar.
This issue is not unique to a single vendor. Lotus Notes, Outlook, Palm, Treo, and Blackberry (to name a few) each have similar issues. Do your homework!
1. Contact your vendor or IT department. Encourage them to look into the issue for your hardware/software systems
2. Don't wait for your your vendor IT department. Cover yourself by including the TIME and TIME ZONE in the subject line of your appointments - at least for the Extended Daylight Savings period.
3. Check with the vendors of your Mac or PC, calendaring software, and PDAs or smartphones.
4. If you rely on past appointment information from you calendar, be careful. At least one vendor recently acknowledged that their "fixes" for 2007 break the dates/times for past events. I'm confident others will follow.
I hope you find this information helpful. On my blog, I've posted additional information, along with screen shots of test results and helpful links.