Monday, February 26, 2007

A Biz Disaster Can Strike with the Stealth of a Stroke

I'm writing this from the public computer in the ICU waiting room in Lafayette, Indiana, about an hour's drive from my home in Indianapolis. Got a call this afternoon from my brother, Perry, the cop. That tone of voice was unmistakable--like the voice I heard two years ago that told me to get home right away and break whatever land-speed records it took to get there. This was another call like that. My Dad had been admitted, unconscious, to the ER with, what they feared was a stroke.

What really worked, amidst the flurry of packing (I think I put out food for the cat--yeah, she's taken care of...) was the simple stuff I did that put my business "on hold" temporarily. Here's the scoop...

I use a tele-secretary and virtual office service, Intelligent Office. They manage my phones when I'm away for vacations or on business, giving a personal "face" to my callers (who love Anna, by the way). Here, they're telling callers that I'm out for family business and, if I need them to, I can make a call to them and have them cancel or re-schedule my appointments. Letting them know I was going to be out for a family emergency, they will appropriately and professionally give the people I authorize more or less information. When my mother was hospitalized and passed away, they did things for my business I didn't even think to ask for. I just told them what was happening and they did the rest.

My calendar is online, so the people at Intelligent office can help manage my calendar. This is a simple function that's included on Microsoft Outlook. Remind me and I'll provide some screenshots so you'll know how to do this on Office 2003 (until then, here are the instructions for how to do it on Office 7). Here at the hospital, I can check appointments and figure out which I can handle by teleconference when Dad can see the light at the edge of the woods and which ones I need to re-schedule.

Contacts. Gotta love 'em. Also, gotta be able to find 'em. In additional to Outlook (into which I me AOL email into--a special mailbox on Outlook separate from my company email so I can read it all in one spot...and no stuff outta any of you for still having that email address. It was my first and I'm sentimental), I use the Accucard service bundled with my CardScan Business Card Scanner. When I get a new business card, into the card scanner it goes, then it synchs with Outlook seamlessly. Occasionally, it sends a friendly greeting to the people on my list, asking them to update their contact information if needed and synchs with Outlook again. The important part is that there is an online copy of my Outlook contact list I can access, say from the Home Hospital ICU waiting room.

There's more, but what's important is that I can now focus on "that which matters most," my Dad (doing much better now than when they broke down his door to collect him).

More soon!



Bil Browning said...

Both you and your father are in my thoughts. Be well, both of you - literally. If I can assist in any way (I'll even go feed the cat!), just give me a call.

Christopher Thomas said...


All of us here at Intelligent Office are praying for your father and ther rest of your family. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.