As a busy working individual, it’s only natural for you to keep a calendar of your activities. However, what you may not be aware of is that your calendar management may make or break your productivity and overall success. If you tend to be rather swamped with your responsibilities on a weekly basis, taking the steps to improve your calendar management skills may prove to be the key to your stress-free and productive future. Below, a number of tips are laid out to help you improve you calendar management.
Pick the Most Ideal Calendar for You
Everyone is different and. In that sense, all have individual preferences when it comes to keeping a calendar. Some enjoy having a journal-type calendar where they can write down additional notes, while others rely on calendar apps and similar tools. It doesn’t matter what type of calendar you prefer as long as you make sure it works for you.
The issue may arise if you try to use several different calendar options in an effort to be more productive. Sadly, this practice may easily backfire, causing you to mix the tasks and agendas, double book, and so on. That said, the first step to your improved calendar management should be choosing just one calendar to rule them all.
Work with Your Existing Routine
When you think about your days, weeks, and months, you’re bound to notice that certain tasks remain the same constantly. There’s bound to be a specific routine that you tend to have on a day-to-day basis, even if it’s just something along the lines of shopping for groceries, checking email, following up with clients, etc.
Once you recognize this particular routine, even though it’s obviously incomplete, don’t hesitate to copy it to your calendar. That way, you can easily use the rest of the free space you have for scheduling other activities as they come your way, with minimal risk of overbooking and stressing yourself out.
Schedule Similar Activities Close Together
If your goal is to improve your productivity, you should stay away from multitasking. However, this is not always possible. It’s not uncommon that you have to pause what you’ve been doing in order to attend a sudden meeting, take a call, check out another project, and similar. It’s these sudden pauses that cause a productivity drop as well.
Of course, it’s not possible to plan every single day perfectly when you can’t control the unexpected interruptions with your work. But you can put some extra effort into your daily planning so that you organize your work, projects, and clients based on their similarity. If you have to work in a similar flow for the entire day, the unexpected interruptions won’t be as damaging to your productivity as they would be if every single task you have planned for the day had a completely different concept.
Different Meetings Require Different Times
It’s a common practice to take an hour from your schedule when it comes to a meeting booking. However, not every single meeting has to be that long.
Namely, depending on the nature of the meeting, you can free up your calendar considerably. For instance, introductory meetings don’t need to last longer than 10 minutes, while weekly staff meetings can be done and over with within half an hour.
Leave a Small Time Frame in Between Meetings
Continuing with the topic of meetings, while it’s highly beneficial for your productivity to use different times for a different kind of meeting, you should also avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings.
If you can’t get away from having one meeting after another, then make sure to leave at least a 15-minute frame between them. This practice will help you prepare better as well as avoid the stress and anxiety of potentially being late from the previous meeting, which is a serious trigger for a productivity drop.
Get Rid of Clutter
As we explained in an earlier article, digital clutter can affect your productivity in more ways than one, and the same goes for the clutter in your calendar.
That said, make sure to get rid of automatic entries that are no longer part of your routine. Also, stop yourself from noting down minute tasks that can be easily attributed to an entire project. Recurring events that are no longer a thing should also be cleared out from your calendar.
It’s Perfectly Acceptable to Say “No”
If you’re a people pleaser, there’s a chance that you tend to accept every single invite and request from others. Not only will this mess up your calendar, but it will also leave you with less time for your work, thus lowering your productivity.
You can say “yes” to things that you feel up to or that fit in your schedule. But if it happens that your calendar is already fully booked and you have plans, don’t hesitate to say “no.” This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to participate some other time, though.
Review Your Calendar Regularly
Improving your calendar management is a skill that takes time to be mastered. In that respect, choose a day in the week when you’ll take the time to review your calendar carefully and see how productive and effective it was for you during the previous week. In general, Friday, or one day during the weekend, would be ideal for this. That way, you can make adequate changes as you go.
In case you need some additional help managing a productive day when working from home, check out these tools.