4 Tips to Take Control of Your Calendar

4 Tips to Take Control of Your Calendar

Clutter is not motivating. Disorganization isn't compatible with professional.

How do people stay organized in a world where things change so fast and where we're pulled in so many directions?

If you've got people asking for your time, these tips are for you. Don’t miss out on hitting your goals or living your dreams. Here is how you can take control of your calendar and make it work for you.

Making your calendar your first employee

If you're like me, you are always working to be organized. I have so much I want to do and accomplish that I have to step up my organization and get things back on track.

Being disorganized can keep you from doing the things you want to do. Being only marginally organized will slow you down from achieving your dreams and possibly prevent you from achieving your goals.

But I don't want you to miss out on hitting your goals or living your dreams. I doubt you want that either. To help us both stay organized, on track, and headed toward success, I've created…

4 Tips to Take Control of Your Calendar

1: Give yourself some room

Add buffers to your calendar both before, and after, each of your meetings.

This will allow you to get there early and run over by a few minutes if necessary. Take ownership of your time. Don't let someone else steal it from you by scheduling meetings for you back to back. If you have a buffer on your calendar, people will know not to schedule anything right before or at least thirty minutes afterward.

2: Information at a glance

Color code each of your meetings, conferences, team events, etc. so that each color gives you an idea of what they're about.

As I mentioned in this article, it is easy to get overwhelmed at work. If you've got meetings and conference calls piling up, color code each one so you can quickly see what is on your day's agenda.

On my calendar, I know purple meetings are with customers, green meetings are for personal development, and yellow ones are reserved for time with my team. Another thing I'd recommend – mark some meetings as “optional”, or as “it'd be nice to attend.” Let your calendar prioritize things for you at a glance.

3: Don't be the guy who forgot

Set reminders for everything. Here are some of the reminders I set.

  • 5 minutes before phone calls
  • 10 minutes before in-building meetings
  • 15 minutes for meetings in other buildings, 30 minutes if you'll have to park

When a reminder alarm goes off, think of it as a “hard stop.” Reminders are your last chance to leave before you'll be late. You don't want to be thought of as “the girl who is always late,” and have that as part of your personal brand.

Additionally, put relevant information, like names, phone numbers, Skype names, etc., in the details of the meeting. If you do that, you won't have to go searching through emails to find what you need when the time comes.

4: Cloud calendar to the rescue!

With the ability to sync your calendar to the cloud, you no longer have any excuse to be late. Google Calendar is free and available to everyone with a smartphone. If you insist on being like my friend who only uses a “Go Phone,” you'd better be really good at time management. Once you sync your calendar to the cloud, you should be able to pull it, and your reminders, up on your phone.

Don't know how?

Let me help you.

In Microsoft Outlook, go to the Calendar view. Under File, select “save as.” When the window pops up, click “options”. Chose “full details” and then select a date range. I sync back a week and forward three weeks from today.

Click “ok” and save your file.

Once that is done, open up your Google calendar in your internet browser, click “settings” in the top right-hand corner. Go to the “calendars” tab in the top left, and then click the “import calendar” link. Choose the file wherever you saved it and click “import.” You're all done! As long as you're signed in to the same account as you have on your phone, meetings will automagically show up!

If you're worried about your meeting details being stored in the cloud, instead of clicking “full details,” simply choose a different setting. Cloud calendars allow you to stay on top of what you're supposed to do and help keep everyone on the same page. It's too easy to make your calendar your first employee for you to miss your important meetings.

A few final thoughts. Never confuse activity with execution. Have a purpose for every meeting. Every day, come to work with a plan and execute it.

If you like these productivity tips, I recommend that you check out my Personal Productivity Guidebook filled with over 30 pages to help you be more productive!

Question: What other organizational or time management tips could you share? Leave a tip for me in the comments section below by clicking here!

 

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  • Ellory, really, really great tips here – I wish I had these 10 years ago. The booking time before and after meetings makes so much sense, but so few (including Executives!!) actually do this.

    Excellent tips!

    • Thanks Jon! I try to do this for my most important meetings but not all of them. I don’t want someone waiting for me, or a great conversation cut short because I didn’t think ahead.

  • Ellory, really, really great tips here – I wish I had these 10 years ago. The booking time before and after meetings makes so much sense, but so few (including Executives!!) actually do this.

    Excellent tips!

    • Thanks Jon! I try to do this for my most important meetings but not all of them. I don’t want someone waiting for me, or a great conversation cut short because I didn’t think ahead.

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