Prior: Part 16: Rules to Calendar and Live By: Even More

Over the years, I have developed the following rules to ensure the digital tools’ success. All you have to do is follow them when you enter an event on one of the calendars or manage the calendars. Using them will solve and prevent a lot of problems. These basic rules can be used as a quick reference guide/checklist. This is the fourth and last post of these rules.

Here’s today’s checklist:
  • Only calendar items within your authority or jurisdiction
  • Only calendar official events and announcements
  • Do not use abbreviations, acronyms, or short references for anything.
  • Only use the repeating event function carefully.
Today’s checklist is almost wholly my own concoction although much of it is implied in church guidelines. It’s just not explicit.

Only calendar items that fall within your authority or jurisdiction.

Nobody needs to calendar Churchwide events like General Conferences or Friend to Friend events. The Church does this itself on the Churchwide calendar.

If you are an Aaronic priesthood leader, you have no business calendaring a Relief Society function. It’s not your job and it’s not your responsibility. Besides, you probably don’t have any details anyway. Leave it to those who do.

The Church’s system largely offsets this because Aaronic priesthood leaders would only have access to the Aaronic priesthood calendar and nobody else’s calendar.

However, leadership positions like bishoprics, executive secretaries, and clerks have access to all calendars and they are usually the ones entering cryptic references, with little or no details, often on the wrong calendars.

There is a lot of sense in organizations calendaring their own functions and absolving leadership of any of these duties. It’s actually the way the Church wants us to function anyway.

Only calendar official events and announcements.

Official events are overseen by the Church itself, the stake, or local priesthood leadership.

Things like Time Out for Women (TOFW) are not official and should not be calendared over the Church’s system. These are church calendars. They should only contain church events.

No secular or unofficial events should go on these calendars. This means no knitting groups, school proms or whatnot should be calendared. Yes, this has happened. I’ve seen it. Yes, it is a problem.

Private events do occur in our buildings, but they only get put on the location/building calendar and only with priesthood leadership approval that is consistent with church guidelines.

Don’t calendar anything that isn’t official!

Do not use abbreviations, acronyms, or short references for anything.

Okay, I admit it. This is wholly my own idea but it makes sense and is logical. It also comes from my graphic design/usability training from library school and information science.

It also comes from my seeing the confusion new members especially have with all of this stuff. It’s often confusing and alienating for them.

You can never expect everybody to understand acronyms, abbreviations, or short references whether they are seasoned members or not.

New members, new members of the ward and even seasoned members could have difficulty with them. NEVER create information access barriers by making people puzzle over something.

This is a significant problem! When you put all the calendars together and look at them, it looks like an incomprehensible alphabet soup.

I was puzzled over what PPI’s were for years. As a single woman, albeit an active and engaged one, why would I ever encounter this term? It’s not something that needed to be explained in Relief Society. When I finally got married, I asked my husband what it meant.

Do YOU know what all these mean?: RS, YW, ARP, AP, EQ, PPI, Primary, BYC, HC, YSA, SA, HP, FHE, EFY, FSY, Activity Girls, Activity Boys, etc?

Abbreviations are killing the effectiveness of the calendars! Yes, you MAY need to use abbreviations or other shortened references on paper tools. Paper tools have their limits. Digital tools do not!

In journalism, they also tell you to avoid using abbreviations and acronyms in articles, unless you’ve defined them in the first references and to even avoid them after that.

If for some reason you must use some sort of shortened reference, put it in parentheses after the first use of the term. Example: Relief Society (RS or R.S.)

The only time that abbreviations are really warranted is at the beginning of an event title when more than one congregation uses the same building. This is only to keep things on the location/building calendar straight.

Only use the repeating event function on the calendars carefully!

The use of the repeating event function is the most significant abuse that is encouraging people to regard the digital calendars as unreliable.

If something is going to be held weekly for several weeks or months, it does make sense to use the repeating event function and have the computer slot it in for the entire time period instead of logging it in each day individually.

The problem is that no one seems to check things after that. You need to see if there is an obvious conflict with some other event or holiday that would result in the event being scuttled for that day. The computer allows you to alter or cancel the event for that day while preserving all the rest of the repeating events.

You don’t really think Sacrament Meeting is being held on Conference weekend do you, or Church events are actually happening on Thanksgiving or Christmas?

When people see obvious errors like this, it makes the entire calendar system look unreliable.

Next: Part 18: So, What Does Email Have to Do with It?

Assignment for Leaders:
  • Only calendar items under your jurisdiction and check to make certain others are too. Look for superfluous duplicate listings and eliminate them.
  • Get anything unofficial off of the calendars.
  • Review everything and get rid of those acronyms, abbreviations, or short references.
  • Review anything that is a repeating event. Is it okay? If not, get it fixed.
Assignment for MembersReview your calendars for the problems mentioned above. Check the events for who the last person to update the listing is. Notify them of the problem and ask them to fix it.

Continue reading at the original source →