KISS – Keep It Simple, Seriously!

By: Ginny Garzón, IEP Director

If you’re like me, at some point during your adolescent years you had a coach, teacher or parent who introduced you to the mnemonic, KISS. I’m fairly certain it was my 6th grade teacher who shared this gem with me.  Instead of conjuring up romantic thoughts, seeing this word, written in all capitals, served as a reminder for anyone in our 6th grade class to: Keep It Simple, Stupid!  Now, as the mother of 2 young boys, saying stupid in our house is against the rules, so I’ve made a minor tweak and am rolling with: Keep It Simple, Seriously!

Silly as it may sound, those four little words are powerful. I have often found myself with a task or challenge and then spending way too much time and energy analyzing, strategizing, and maybe even agonizing over how to move forward.  Sometimes it’s just a process that just takes way too much time, but trying to think of another simpler solution or rework the process will take even more time than the already time consuming process takes, and.. well.. you see where this is going.  

Case in point, I was consistently struggling with the amount of time I was spending trying to get students to ACTUALLY show up to their advising appointments.  Between the constant back and forth and adjusting appointments around students’ work schedules, classes, and extracurriculars, I was spending way too much time just trying to schedule advising and not actually advising.  By happen chance, a wonderful colleague shared a simple tool that has been a game changer for advising in our office:

This awesome website provides you with a booking platform that syncs with your online calendar, allowing you to share your availability with anyone who has the link.  Then, this was the game changer, THEY schedule their appointments.  No more asking, “Does Tuesday at 10 work for you?”  or listing out the 17 times you have available for that week.  They see when you are free and book accordingly.  Once an appointment is scheduled,  my students receive an automated email confirmation with all the details of our advising appointment, complete with a link to reschedule or cancel the appointment if necessary. My calendar is auto-populated with their name, contact details and information about what we’ll be discussing.   

After I setup my free account, I put a sign in my office window with the link to my calendar and stickers on all of our brochures with the same link.  I thought, maybe I’ll get a few students who will at least give it a shot.  Guess what?!  Students love it and, they use it – ALL.THE.TIME!!  I can’t tell you the number of students who walk by and snap a photo of that calendar link or tell me they got the link from the sticker on the brochure.  They come in my office saying: “I love how easy it is to book an appointment with your office,”  “It’s so nice to be able to see when you are free” and, my favorite, “I wish other offices on campus would use this calendar.

Talk about a win-win solution for everyone!  Students are happy with the ease of scheduling and I’m thrilled that scheduling is under control.  I’m spending more time advising students and I’m advising a greater number of students.  

Whether your own challenges involve scheduling advising or not, remember that there are a variety of tools available to help us all be more efficient and effective in the workplace.  We don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.  We don’t have to waste time over-analyzing or agonizing.  We just have to Keep It Simple, Seriously!

Have a useful tool or application that was a game changer for you?  Share the wealth and let IEP know what keeps your office humming.

*IEP uses Gmail and Google calendar which syncs well with is another platform that is ideal for Outlook users.*