If you want to accomplish your tasks and goals, organize your time using a calendar system. It can be an electronic calendar on your phone, tablet, or laptop. A shareable calendar (e.g., Google Calendar) can be beneficial if you are trying to coordinate your schedule with family members. You can also choose old-fashioned paper, such as a wall calendar with lots of room for writing or a personal planner book.
I am willing to guess that most of you are busy people. You have a million balls in the air, but occasionally, you may drop one or more of them. The solution is to keep track of all those balls in an organizing system. I love a good list, so by all means, make one. However, list-making does not lead to success if you don’t schedule a time to accomplish the things on that list. Make sense?
The goal is to block off time in your busy life to do the things you need to do. Make an appointment with yourself and do yourself this huge favour. When you block off time for important things on your list, add 50 percent more time to your estimate. For example, if you think cooking a meal will take 30 minutes, block off 45 minutes. Add travel time to and from appointments to reflect when you are unavailable.
Here are seven ways to use your calendar to get things done.
This one is pretty obvious, but it still amazes me that some people try to keep track of these in their heads. There are appointments with the dentist or chiropractor, school meetings, kids’ sports practices and games, and more. The trick is, as soon as you get the school notice or the email about the next event – STOP – and enter those dates in your calendar.
Date-specific tasks include paying a bill on a specific date or renewing your passport before it expires. Use your calendar to help you save money too. Note the date to cancel your free (software or subscription) trial before they start charging you.
Personal and professional events include deadlines for work projects, birthdays, or upcoming trips, no matter how far off in the future they may be. If you know the date, enter it into your calendar. If you’re using an electronic calendar, put it as an all-day appointment, so it shows at the top of the day. Additionally, set up repeating events so you don’t have to think about them again until the next occurrence (e.g., renewing your driver’s license, cleaning the chimney, etc.) Besides daily, weekly, monthly, and annual reminders, most calendar apps will allow you to set custom recurring schedules like every other day, once every two months, or the third Friday.
I don’t know about you, but if I don’t put exercise in my calendar, it doesn’t happen. Blocking off time to go to a yoga class or lift weights at home means it has a much higher chance of happening. If you don’t do this, trust me, you will fill your schedule full of other things and then tell yourself you don’t have time to exercise. Did you promise to go for a bike ride with someone on the weekend? Put it on your calendar. If something happens and your day goes off the rails, move the exercise appointment to another time and stick to your commitment.
Ugh. I’m quite sure you don’t need an appointment with yourself to clean up the dishes, but you probably need to make time to go grocery shopping, clean the gutters, or organize your front hall closet.
With everyone’s busy schedules, it helps to plan meals. On Sunday, decide on your main meals for the week and note those in your calendar. Plan your grocery shopping accordingly. If you’re one of those people like me who forgets to eat lunch during the day, plan what you will eat the night before and block off a short lunch break in your calendar.
Do Nothing Time
I am always amazed at how much work it takes to leave open, unscheduled time in your calendar. Schedule everything else but remember to block off some free time. Then force yourself to do something relaxing or even nothing at all!
Choose a calendar and use it every single day to manage your time. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. If you want some advice on the best tool for your lifestyle, feel free to contact me.