Put Your Calendar on Steroids
Managing your calendar events effectively can positively impact your success and is critical to maintaining your sanity.
If you have followed me for any length of time you know that I am all about processes and systems – a positive curse of my engineering background and upbringing. Systems are incredible for maximizing efficiencies – BUT – only if you trust them completely. You can only trust your systems if you trust your systems. If you ‘kind a sorta’ use your systems they will fail you. The calendar is certainly one of those systems.
Today you get some of my time tested methods to enhance the effectiveness of your calendar.
- You must use your calendar for every event. Most of us do pretty good with the standard type calendar events – meetings, programs, and events. Don’t forget about dedicated work time, meals (very important), project milestones and deadlines. Let me stress – EVERY EVENT! Trust your system or something will fall through the cracks.
- Keep one calendar. Our work and personal lives are too intertwined to keep separate calendars.
- Go digital. This is my personal preference after keeping a paper based Day-Timer for years. Every person that I have coached through this change has appreciated the advantages that technology brings, and it has improved their productivity.
- Use meeting requests when scheduling meetings or events that involve more than yourself. Invite attendees. Schedule meeting rooms. Scheduling people through meeting requests minimizes mistakes and makes it much easier when you need to update a meeting time or place. Don’t forget to include note or meeting agendas on your meeting requests.
- Take advantage of recurring events to schedule a series of meetings.
- I know – some people will still send you meeting information by email. Did you know that you can drag that email to your calendar? A calendar event dialogue box opens up allowing you to set the time and date – save event. All of the text, notes, etc. comes with it and you are good to go – on your calendar – out of your mind. This can be a significant time saver.
- Color code (and categorize) your calendar events. When you place EVERYTHING on you calendar it might get a little bit crazy. Color codes can make it seem more manageable, and at the bare minimum more pleasant to look at. Don’t make it too complicated. Four or five colors is probably more than enough.
Learning to more effectively utilize my digital calendar has made my calendar a trusted system. I don’t have to search my desk for appointment cards for my dentist or haircut. I trust that these appointments are in the calendar along with all of the others.
- Bonus Tip #1 – include phone numbers in your calendar notes – these become hotlinks and make it easier to make that last minute call.
- Bonus Tip #2 – invite your spouse to calendar events as a courtesy so they know when you have that late meeting and are not available for dinner.
- Bonus Tip #3 – use Green color coding for those things that make you money – (thanks Bob for the reminder).