When it comes to productivity, it’s about more than simply prioritizing tasks and effective delegation. Calendar management and realistic scheduling is vital to a productive workplace, and a productive person overall.
It’s so easy to get caught up with a task that you don’t realize how much time it is taking you, or you allow time to roll over, which was scheduled for another tasks or meeting. This isn’t the sign of someone who is either organized or professional! To help you out, there are 7 calendar and scheduling tips to save time and keep you organized.
1 – Be meeting savvy
You do not need to go to every single meeting that comes your way. Some meetings are a waste of time, some go on for far too long. If you’re chairing a meeting, keep it on topic and don’t allow it to overrun. If you’re scheduling meetings, look carefully at whether you really need to go, or whether you can send apologies and ask for notes.
2 – Update your calendar in real time
It’s easy to have a million things on your mind to add to your calendar when you get back into the office, but how many of them slip through your memory? Probably more than a few. Keep your calendar updated in real time, to avoid forgetting anything important. If need be, jot things down in the notes section of your phone and update your calendar when you get back to the office. It’s far too easy to double book yourself!
3 – Be realistic when scheduling
It’s easy to think you can do four jobs in one day, but how can you account for possible interruptions or long-winded telephone calls? You can’t. For that reason, be realistic whenever you are scheduling in work or events, and don’t try and cram too much in, simply to tick items off your to do list. It’s about doing more in a quality way, not simply doing more any old how. Also, be realistic with how long a job is going to take.
4 – Save time every day for urgent admin/tasks
Whether or not you consider it urgent, there are bound to be odd tasks which are nagging at the back of your mind every day. It is easy to forget them or allow them to affect your productivity levels. For that reason, have an hour or so set aside every single day for any urgent tasks which come in unexpectedly, or for general admin. Those admin tasks have a habit of getting out of control and becoming a huge issue otherwise.
5 – Set aside contingency time
Whenever you are scheduling an event or a meeting, think about the things that could go wrong. This isn’t about being negative, it’s about having a contingency plan. For instance, if you have to travel across town, what if there is a traffic jam? If you’ve not counted in possible time for this, you’re going to be late for your next appointment. Having a slight amount of buffer time will avoid any issues.
6 – Use one calendar only
It’s easy to have several calendars on the go, and possibly even a paper diary, but this is just increasing the chances of double-booking and confusion. Stick to one calendar and sync it with all your devices, so you can easily update it wherever you are. If you have an assistant, give them access to this calendar and make sure they know to use only that one particular package.
7 – Make use of reminders
If you’re busy working on a task, it can be easy to become absorbed in it and forget that you’re supposed to be down the corridor in the meeting room or making an important call. Set up reminders and alerts on your calendar to let you know when a new scheduled appointment or task is about to start. This will give you enough time to wrap up what you’re doing, reschedule if need be, and get to where you’re supposed to go.
These are seven easy tasks to help you schedule your working life much more effectively.