Making full use of your calendar can’t generate extra hours in the day but it can certainly save you time by raising your efficiency and productivity.
Millions of people every day use a program to manage their emails and calendar at work. Unfortunately, few of us really know how to make full use of all the features and benefits in these programs! Moreover, we can often become reactive, allowing others to schedule and plan our time, rather than taking control of our calendar to ensure we are spending our time on the things that matter most to our strategic objectives. Used effectively, your calendar can empower you to plan your time more effectively and maximise productivity.
Outlined below are 6 tips for using your calendar to maximise productivity:
Tip 1 – Map out your week in advance. Planning your week in advance on the previous Friday is a great habit to get into.
Prioritise tasks for the week and add them to your calendar first. Select 1-3 of the most important tasks per day, then block out time for those tasks. Then, fit the less important tasks around your schedule. Scheduling your most critical tasks at the most productive time of the day is also a good idea.
Tip 2 – Start each day with your calendar.
Once your calendar is set up for the week, start each day reviewing it, so you know what’s coming up. Be ruthless with your time to consider what meetings you can delegate, which you can shorten (could it be done in 15 mins), which could be shared via a more agile communication method, and which can be cancelled. Beware particularly of recurring meetings and meetings without an agenda. If there is not a clear goal for the meeting, it is likely not worth having. Pre-reading is also a useful time saver. Having a chance to review a pack ahead of the call, can help you focus the call on decisions to be made, rather than background context and slides. Finally, consider the invitees, who is a must have versus a nice to have? How can we make more time for attendees to do proactive work, through having less people in meetings.
Tip 3 – Use time-blocking. Dividing your day into blocks and then assigning tasks to each block, is an efficient strategy towards improving productivity.
Any task that takes more than 15 minutes should be allocated its own time block. Time-blocking helps you to proactively prioritise your tasks and focus on one task at a time. Having deadlines, through time-blocking will also make it more likely that you will finish tasks.
Tip 4 – Leave a buffer between meetings.
A productive strategy can be to set aside 15 minutes after each meeting for review. While the meeting is still fresh in your mind, you can quickly make notes or schedule work that came out of it. It also allows a buffer for unforeseen events or a miscalculation of required time for that task.
Tip 5 – Try colour coding.
Colour coding is an effective way to manage your calendar. By grouping similar tasks by colour, you can quickly view your calendar and make sure that it aligns with your goals.
Tip 6 – Time for rest.
Be proactive and schedule rest time in your calendar. Including a buffer between work provides time to rest and recharge which has been proven to improve productivity.
A calendar is more than a tool to schedule your time-based commitments. It is a productivity roadmap. It helps you create a routine so every day can be a productive day.
Collagis is committed to helping businesses like yours to optimise workforce and organisational effectiveness. We'd love to share with you how we can help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
The Personal Efficiency Program (PEP) helps individuals and teams to improve personal productivity and gain back on average 2 hours per person per day for meaningful work. Ask us for more information about how this could help your organisation to thrive.
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