I find things fall through the cracks when I don’t use my calendar well. I use an electronic calendar because there are more events for me that I can copy and paste from email and online. Plus, I am able to have reminders go off so I will do things and not forget. And finally, it gives me more room to enter things. But, you can use whichever type of calendar works best for you. Here are some ideas for using a calendar:
- When you finish an action that requires a response, write “Follow up with H” or whomever, into the date you expect a response. So if I send a newsletter test to someone and know it needs to go out Friday, I put in my calendar to follow up Thursday to make sure I have approval.
- If there is a speaking engagement, training or some event that needs preparation, put in the calendar preparation time as you put the event in your calendar. So 3 weeks before book club I have, “Put book on hold at library”. 2 weeks before I have, “Start reading book club book”.
- For birthdays, weddings and other events, enter buy presents/make cards 2 weeks before. It pops up annually just like the actual date if you do a recurring event.
- When you get something you need to do by a certain date through email, put the email text into the calendar description. Whenever you get something that you are going to put in the calendar, ask, “What information I will need to do the task.” If you get an email saying call J with the phone number, add the phone number to the calendar so you won’t have to search later. If you have a webinar to attend, put the call in information right in the calendar post.
- To help in creating new habits put them in your calendar. Put decluttering into your calendar at 7pm or your best time so your “I forgot to do it” excuse flies out the window. Google Calendar has a goals addition to help schedule your goals. Learn more here.
- Add to your calendar recurring tasks you want to do like vacuuming the stairs, calling Grandma and paying bills. Come up with regular get-togethers with your friends.
- Make your next appointment (hair, doctor, massage) while you are at the office so you don’t have to remember to call later. Plus you get the premium spots versus calling last minute.
- With most digital calendars you can add multiple calendars so you can see your spouse’s, kids schedule, clients or co-workers to make it easier to keep track and create meetings.
- Only use one calendar – not one paper and one digital or one personal and one work or you may double book.
- At the beginning of the year, block out days you want to take off – like vacations, or hard anniversaries or a day after that big event or project is complete.
- For meetings put the notes or agenda into the calendar event.
- Block off a monthly catch up day where you have no appointments and meetings so you can catch up on tasks.
- Check your calendar often, but at least at the end of the day and in the morning. At the end of day, see what you can prepare for the next day.
If you are looking for a digital calendar, here are some options:
- The one I use, Google Calendar
- Any.do combines calendar and tasks
- Kin connects with other things like Trello, Facebook and Wunderlist.
- CloudCal is for Android
- Fantastical is for Macs
- Busy Cal also for Macs incorporates travel time, etc.
- Accompany includes cheat sheets for the people you are meeting with.
For more time ideas, join my Change Your Relationship to Time class