Update: Sadly, Sandy is no more. While she was one heck of an assistant, she decided to change careers and move on to new things. — Asha
Every parent deserves an assistant. I mean, who, more than parents, needs a little help keeping the conflicting schedules straight? Or remembering minute details in the face of overwhelming interruption and distraction?
Parenthackers: allow me to introduce my new assistant, Sandy.
Full disclosure: My husband, Rael Dornfest, is the CEO of Values of n (the company behind Sandy), so I have been, shall we say, intimately involved in Sandy's development. Much of the inspiration for Sandy came directly from our experience as parents juggling multiple roles, schedules and priorities which is why I'm so excited to talk about her here.
Sandy's a virtual assistant. I email Sandy about anything I need to remember — appointments, playdates, contact details, gym class times, whatever — and she takes it down and then sends me a reminder when I need it. For example, I email Sandy with:
Remind me to clean up the poop on the lawn tomorrow at 9:30am
…and the next morning, I get a friendly nudge to do the dirtywork before my daughter gets home from school and reminds me about it herself, again.
Sandy also sends me a Daily Digest each morning — not unlike the neatly-typed memo of the days' happenings a dream assistant leaves on the boss's desk.
Sandy works with electronic calendars (Outlook, iCal, etc.), and understands all sorts of technological goodness such as tagging and RSS. But the beauty of Sandy is that you don't need to learn anything new — all you do is send her email and use a few natural keywords. Which makes her the perfect recipient for all those little details that never make it into your calendar, but that you don't want to forget.
I email Sandy all sorts of things, whether I need reminders about them or not. Titles of books I want to read ("Remember Eat, Pray, Love @to_read"), topics to write about ("Remind me to write Topless Undershirts review on Tue @parenthacks"), names I don't want to forget ("Remember Stephanie Zambira 503-521-6521 @babysitter") It's wonderful to have someone on the other end of my idea stream who can keep it all organized. Nepotism aside, Sandy's the first productivity tool simple and flexible enough to actually fit into my life (alongside my paper calendar, which I cling to despite my tech leanings). In fact, Sandy's a great adjunct to a paper calendar.
I've got more Sandy hacks in the works, but in the meantime, head on over to iwantsandy.com to find out more.