8 Essential Calendar Management Skills

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You may not realize it, but your calendar habits can make or break your success and productivity. Indeed, without good calendar management, you cannot be as focused and productive as you should be.

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With that in mind, here are eight ways to own your calendar like a boss.

1. Consolidate

When it comes to calendars, we all have our own preferences. Some people still rely on a paper diary. Others take advantage of giant wall calendars. And, there are those who cannot live without an online calendar app.

There’s no right or wrong calendar as long as it keeps you organized and productive. But you will usually be able to find one that does you good.

The problem is that with some calendars, you may feel like there are too many options. Perhaps you have an appointment noted in your calendar and another that was automatically added to your online calendar. As a result, you are easily confused and start double booking.

In order to manage your calendar like a pro, consolidate it into a single calendar. This way you have everything in one place.

The same goes for your entire productivity toolbox. Less is better.

I use a calendar (Google Calendar), a task manager (Wunderlist) and a Moleskine notebook. However, I started experimenting with bullet journaling to further limit my productivity tools. This way, I don’t alternate between my calendar, my to-do lists and my notes.

Related: Time Management Hacks Highly Successful People Practice Daily

2. Create a routine.

Before going to bed every night, I have a clear idea of ​​what my day tomorrow will be like. I have at least a general understanding of what next week, month, and even next year will look like. The reason? I use my online calendar to create and stick to a daily routine.

In my calendar, I have specific blocks of time reserved for specific activities so that I try to figure out how to spend my time. I already know well in advance. It keeps my calendar organized since I don’t overlap tasks or meetings. It is also the guarantee that I remain productive because if it is not planned I do not do it. Here are some time management books to help you.

3. Group similar activities into blocks.

How many times have you been working on a project only to stop because you had to attend a meeting or respond to an email? This definitely hurts your productivity. Indeed, when we are interrupted, it takes about 25 minutes to resume the task at hand.

To make sure you stay on track, stop multitasking and start single-tasking by:

  • Planning and grouping of similar activities, i.e. grouping. It helps you get into a state of flow, reduces stress, saves you time, and keeps you focused and energized since you’re not switching between tasks. For example, block off a specific time in your calendar for answering emails and another block for quiet work.
  • Schedule similar meetings on the same day to stay in that flow. Plus, the information is still fresh in your mind.
  • Schedule blocks of free time, as well as blocks for rest and lunch. It gives you a chance to rest, refocus, and recharge so you can get through the rest of the day.

4. Optimize time for different meetings.

Whenever you schedule a meeting, the default is always a time in your online calendar. The thing is, you don’t always need to spend so much time on every meeting.

For example, for an introductory meeting your schedule a ten minute phone call. This way you can get straight to the point. More importantly, if you feel the relationship isn’t beneficial, you’ve only used ten minutes of your day.

If you already know the person, set aside 45 minutes, plus a 15-minute ride, to catch up with them at a nearby cafe. If you’re sharing tips, limit that conversation to 10-15 minutes. Only hold weekly staff meetings that last between 20 and 30 minutes.

These are the times that suit me best.

The idea is that not only meetings require the same amount of time. Before setting a meeting in stone, determine what is the ideal time slot that should be reserved. This way you only schedule the appropriate amount of time into your schedule for the meeting. Here are some other time management tips to help you with your meetings.

Related: Entrepreneurs Need a Better Calendar App Than the 2 Everyone Uses

5. Eliminate back-to-back appointments.

Speaking of meetings, stop scheduling those back-to-back appointments. It’s a surefire way to guarantee that you’ll be late for your second date. Indeed, some meetings last longer than expected, you need several minutes to prepare or you are stuck in traffic.

I try to have at least 15 minutes of buffer time between meetings — 30 if I go to a different location. It allows me to catch my breath, refocus, and make sure I’m never late for a meeting.

6. Clear clutter.

Want to lose full control of your calendar? Let it get so full of bulk that it bursts at the seams.

This would mean that your calendar is filled with:

  • Permanent meetings, such as “check-ins”.
  • Meetings with no agenda or purpose.
  • Recurring events and commitments that no longer fit into your schedule.
  • Fill your calendar with small tasks.
  • Plan activities that are second nature, like walking your dog first thing in the morning.
  • Learn to delegate.

Take a few minutes and clear that clutter from your calendar. This will keep him lean, naughty, and much more manageable.

Related: 101 Time Management Tips to Boost Everyday Productivity

7. Just say “no”.

If you consistently say “yes” to every request and invitation, expect your calendar to be filled with tasks and events that don’t belong to you. In other words, instead of having blocks of time for your work, they are filled with helping other people complete their work. Instead of having your weekends open for hiking or taking a cooking class, you go party after party.

That doesn’t mean you can never say “yes.” This means setting limits so that your schedule stays in your control.

Related: I Started Saying “No” To These 6 Things. My life and my business have

8. Do a weekly review.

It’s a principle of David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done”, and the concept is as follows:

“From a practical point of view, this is the three-part exercise that [makes up the Weekly Review]: Be clear, be up to date and be creative. Clearing will ensure that all of your collected items are processed. Updating will ensure that all of your orientation “maps” or lists are reviewed and up to date. The creative part happens to some extent automatically, as you become clear and up to date. »

So before you fill your calendar with standing appointments, do your own weekly review where you:

  • Review the past. Look at last week’s schedule. You may have forgotten something like sending a follow-up email.
  • Review plans for the future. This will remind you of any upcoming appointments or meetings so you are prepared.
  • Start your week with a good mindset. Reviewing your calendar on a Sunday evening or Monday morning ensures that you’ll be proactive and prepared for the week ahead.
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