My 16 Calendar Management Hacks

My 16 Calendar Management Hacks

If you can master your calendar, you can master your time. That’s because if you fully utilize your calendar it becomes a playbook, detailing every action you should take, with the bonus of saying when and for how long. Once you schedule an item on your calendar, whether a meeting, appointment, task, or event, all you must do is follow the playbook.

Design your calendar well and muster up the willpower to abide by it instead of negotiating with yourself, you should have no problem executing and securing your win. As a result, you’ll be in control of your time, using it to work for you instead of allowing other people and non-priority tasks to dictate how you spend your day. Here are the perfect hacks to get you started mastering your time today…

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My Top 16 Calendar Management Hacks

1. Use A Digital Calendar

The greatest benefit of a digital calendar is you can consult it and make changes on the go with a few clicks. No paper and pen needed. No crossing off and rewriting. No losing random pieces of paper with notes on it. Just drag and drop in many cases. I’m a huge fan of Outlook but most digital calendars have these important benefits: centralized, always backed up, calendar integration, email integration, access on all mobile devices, reoccurring tasks, categories, date assignment, and automatic rollover.

2. Before You Say Yes To Anything, Consult Your Calendar

Bye bye double booking, overbooking, and having to waste your time rescheduling. Whenever someone proposes an activity, meeting, appointment, event, or otherwise, or whenever you consider taking part in something, refrain from saying yes immediately. Don’t just assume you have nothing else going on. Consult your calendar and if you have something else planned for that slot, reevaluate your priorities.

Maybe you should reschedule lunch with Carol so you can say yes to this speaking opportunity. But, if you say yes without consulting your calendar, you could be putting yourself in a sticky situation. Perhaps you’ll be out of the state for work that day. Always consult your calendar before saying yes to anything.

3. Put Anything You Say Yes To Immediately On Your Calendar

It's human nature to forget information that is kept only in your head. Sometimes you may forget to circle back and put something on your calendar. Maybe you were invited by text or during a phone conversation. Fail to keep track of your scheduled activities in an organized manner, and you’ll surely fail to show up at some of them. Get in the habit of putting everything you say yes to immediately on your calendar.

4. Schedule White Space On Your Calendar

You may take pride in booking out your entire days and admire how much work it looks like you’re doing, but it can only hurt you in the long run. Why? Because meetings run long. You get stuck in traffic. Your assistant’s calls out sick. Your computer crashes. Life happens.

If you’re fully booked out, you’re not allowing yourself time to deal with the hurdles that inevitably pop up in business. Then, you’re forced to compensate in ways that negatively affect your business and throw your whole schedule out of whack. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, actually schedule white space on your calendar and don’t make appointments or meetings during that time. Honor your scheduled white space so you can meet your own needs as new issues and opportunities show up.

5. Strategically Plan Travel

Every minute you’re riding in your car is a minute you’re not engaging in your highest value activities, making every minute of travel a costly minute. And 30 minutes there plus 30 minutes back adds up fast! Cut down on travel time as much as possible by planning ahead. I’m not suggesting you speed. I’m suggesting you bulk-schedule appointments by location if they’re non-urgent.

Could you schedule your three meetings in the Southwest for this Friday so you don’t have to drive across town three times over the next two weeks? Could you meet your girlfriend who lives in the Southwest for happy hour right after your last meeting? After all, you’re already dressed, made up, out of the house, and on her side of town. Might as well make the most of your gas and hit four birds with one fill-up! Plus, you’ll be opening up your time for important matters on other days. Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it traveling more than you have to.

6. Add Buffer Time Around All Meetings And Appointments

When you don’t schedule buffer time around meetings and appointments, you’re asking for trouble. That’s because you could look at your calendar, see it’s blank from 4 to 5pm, and say yes to a 4pm event, only to later realize you’ll be traveling back from a previously scheduled appointment across town during that time. Actually schedule “Travel” on your calendar, otherwise you could accidentally schedule appointments too close together. As a rule, schedule lunch meetings on your calendar for 90 minutes, then add 30 minutes of buffer “Travel” time on the front end and back end.

7. Schedule Theme Days

Theme days are magic because they enable you to get into a flow and stay in it which maximizes efficiency. You can create theme days for client appointments, interviews, projects, recording, content writing, time blocking, marketing, client relationships, projects, content creation, podcast interviews, and any other activity that can be batched. Considering the energy and mental capacity it requires to carry out certain activities will give you guidelines as to what types of activities should go on which days.

8. Be The First To Suggest When To Meet

When it comes to scheduling an activity with others, always strive to be the first person to suggest when and where to meet. Before doing so, consult your calendar so you know which times and locations work most conveniently with your schedule. You could make your suggestion based on your theme days, time blocks, or area of town. Your suggestion will likely be a yes for them, although possibly less convenient for them than for you. The person who knows their schedule best and makes the first move wins.

9. Use A Scheduling Link

There are few things less efficient than the back and forth of trying to find a time that mutually works for two very busy people. It can be a scheduling nightmare in terms of efficiency. It often requires a ton of questions, calendar searching, and replying. How about Monday at 5?... Can’t do. Tuesday at 7?... Sorry, busy. Wednesday at 11?... Oye. Wednesday at 3?... and so on. Using a scheduling link such as ScheduleOnce is efficient for all parties because they can see when you’re available and book a time that’s convenient for them as well.

10. Schedule Your Lunch Break

If you don’t schedule your lunch break, you could book yourself out an entire day, hour after hour, thinking you’re totally available. Then, at 2pm that day when you’re smack dab in the middle of back-to-back meetings, your stomach will start growling and you’ll realize your mistake. You are seriously hungry and have zero time to eat. You’re running out of energy during your jam-packed day but lack enough time to replenish it with a meal.

Lunch breaks are important! You need time to refresh and re-energize so you can refocus. Taking a break is much more productive than trying to work straight through because you wouldn’t be able to fully concentrate and will likely make more errors in your work.

11. Create A One-Click Quick Step

In task management programs such as Outlook, you can set up one-click quick steps that cut down the time it takes to do repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks. Any time an email comes in with important information such as a date and time, you can add that information directly onto your calendar as an event with a quick click instead of having to type all the info in. You can also send information from an email directly to a task and schedule it, making task creation a cinch.

12. Invite Other People To Any Meeting They’ll Be Attending

People tend to be overwhelmed, disorganized, and super busy. They also aren’t always on top of their calendars. Give them a helping hand by inviting them to any meeting they’ll be attending via your task management program. By helping them show up on time and prepared, you’ll be helping yourself as well because you won’t be the only one who shows up for the meeting, waste the time you allotted for it, and have to reschedule.

13. Color-Code Everything

Color-coding can do wonders for organization. On a digital calendar, you can color-code using different colored labels. Use different shades of green for your revenue-generating activities and tasks. When you perform your weekly review and look back at your week, the different colors will help you easily see where you invested your time. Most importantly, you’ll see how much green was on your calendar. Calendar empty of green? Your bank account’s likely heading for empty as well. Create your own color-coding system that fits your business. Once you get into your groove, it will only benefit you and help you batch like tasks.

14. Plan Out Your Day

Every night as part of planning your next day, drag, drop, and assign tasks on your calendar. You can even prioritize them. When you get to work the following day, you can then get right down to work because you have a clear plan of action. Then, all you must do is follow the plan.

Planning out your day also removes the action of having to rewrite tasks you didn’t get done today and shows you how much time you’ll be spending on certain activities at a glance. That gives you the opportunity to adjust your schedule as needed on a nightly basis to ensure it aligns with your ultimate goals.

15. Add Your Ideal Week Time Blocks

Your ideal week is made up of a series of time blocks you schedule that would make up your perfect week. It is the rule and not the exception, but it is important to create an ideal week because you need to have a target to aim for. Otherwise, it’s much easier to deviate from the path to achieving your goals.

Add your ideal week time blocks to your calendar. If something pops up that you deem is more important than what’s already on your calendar, shuffle things around accordingly. You can move your previously scheduled tasks such as content creation, lead generation, or lead follow-up to a white space on your calendar. Keeping your ideal week time blocks on your calendar is also beneficial because it prevents you from saying yes to something when you should be saying no because you already have a standing meeting with yourself during that time.

16. Set Up Recurring Events

Recurring events can be the bane of your existence if you don’t schedule them out on your calendar. Utilize this awesome feature on digital calendars so you never miss a publishing deadline or your mom’s birthday again! You also won’t have to waste hours on end manually inputting the same information week after week. Nor will you risk double booking yourself because you’ll have that recurring event on your schedule months, if not years out. Fair warning: Recurring events can get glitchy if you have cancellations or movement. To get around this, simply copy and paste the individual event to additional dates instead of linking them. You can then easily edit individual events without having to worry it might affect every event of that type.

You run a business. You have enough to worry about without having to fret you might miss an important meeting, a big deadline, or your son’s choir concert. Using simple calendar hacks like my favorite 16 above can help tremendously with not allowing important events, meetings, and projects to fall through the cracks. Master your calendar and you’ll master your time. The rest of your life will surely follow suit.

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