You may not be fully aware of this but your calendar habits can potentially make or break your success and productivity. Considering the fact that over 25 million people schedule meetings every day in the United States alone, it’s no wonder what poor time management could do to one’s professional life and that effective time management is vital.
If you are a manager, consultant, or business owner, you know that your work to time ratio is crucial for your success.
The recent transition to virtual meetings from offline meetings or conferences does not reduce the number of meetings people used to have. Nonetheless, due to the fact that such meetings were possible from literally any part of the world, their number after the pandemic has only substantially increased.
How can you manage and streamline your job without damaging your productivity and health?
The answer is simple Effective Calendar Management.
Table of contents
- What is the Importance of Calendar Management?
- 7 Of The Best Calendar Management Practices: Own Your Time
What is the Importance of Calendar Management?
Calendar management is a systematic process for planning meetings, activities, and chores to maximize your productivity to time ratio.
The process includes demanding but essential tasks such as addressing requests and planning meetings and also providing longer-term strategic work. For instance, setting management priorities on a daily basis and adopting best practices in time management.
To express the importance of time management skills Chip and Dan, author of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, asked a question:
“If forensic analysts confiscated your calendar and e-mail records and Web browsing history for the past six months, what would they conclude are your core priorities?”
A well-managed calendar should reflect key priorities and focus on them. It has the potential to influence your performance as well as the success of your company. This is why calendar management is one of the most critical skills you can master as a modern professional.
7 Of The Best Calendar Management Practices: Own Your Time
Here are the top 7 schedule or calendar management tips to help you organize and have complete control of your calendar.
1. Pick the Right Calendar Management Tools 🧰
Choosing the right calendar organizer for yourself is key.
Digital or online calendar app like Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar is de facto now. People use a digital calendar to organize everything from stand-up meetings and important conferences to planning their lunch breaks.
To take your time tracking on Google Calendar or in any digital calendars, you need to integrate it with any time tracking apps or software through a browser extension. There are several apps that will help you integrate your google calendar events for calendar time tracking and analysis. However, with more than 100,000+ users, the calendar app we recommend is TimeTackle.
TimeTackle is a time tracker which allows you to measure your time spent on tasks in real-time and analyze whether you’ve achieved goals or not. It provides an easy way for managing multiple calendars from one calendar directly so that you will be able to track hours and time spent in a meeting in new and inventive ways. You can see everything at a glance and at the same time
What makes TimeTackle special is that it caters to all types of users’ time management needs. You can use TimeTackle’s automated Google Calendar to Ms Excel, Google Sheets, or CVS exporter and automate your time tracking and exporting process. TimeTackle streamlines your exporting process and uses Google API to open your Google Calendar ICS file in MS Excel, Google Sheets, CSV, or even PDF. This saves loads of time and allows you to format and filter calendar data in different intuitive ways to streamline your event organizing process.
2. Use Timeboxing ⌛
Timeboxing is a time management technique that involves dividing your day into time blocks or boxes. Each box is solely committed to the fulfillment of a given activity or combination of activities. Rather than keeping open-ended to-do lists of tasks, you will do as time permits, you will begin each day with a concrete schedule outlining what you will need to accomplish and when.
For example, you have reserved a time box or a time slot to attend meetings, you must treat it like you would to an offline meeting — no last-minute rescheduling, no distractions while working on the timeboxed task, and so forth. Timeboxing block time on your calendar for doing uninterrupted work with short breaks so that you complete your tasks effectively within the time allotted.
To know more about TimeBoxing and its benefits check out our other blog: TimeBoxing 101: Powerful Tool for Amplifying Your Productivity
3. Get into the Habit of Preplanning 📝
One of the most fundamental but frequently overlooked time management tactics is taking the time to plan your schedule. Whether it’s at the end of the day to plan for the following day’s events or on a Sunday evening to map out the full week ahead, it’s a guaranteed method to keep you on top of a hectic schedule.
“The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.”- Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
In other words, the only way to take control over time is to manage how you allocate it. For example, You can schedule time for email. By scheduling meetings or phone calls beforehand for the following day or week provides a high-level picture of key chores and provides an indication of how much free time remains for extra commitments.
Tip 5: Include Attachments with Events When you set up events, attach related documents and information (meeting agendas, background documents, contracts, etc.), even if you think it might not be relevant. When questions come up, you can refer straight to the calendar event to get the info you need instead of scouring an inbox filled with messages about all your calendar.
4. Use the Pomodoro Technique 🍅
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique invented in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The strategy uses a timer to divide tasks into intervals of approximately 25 minutes each, followed by short breaks. Each interval is referred to as a Pomodoro, after the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used as a university student.
The Pomodoro Technique:
- Use a to-do list and a timer.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes, and focus on the single task until the timer rings.
- When the timer ends and put one Pomodoro and record what you completed.
- Enjoy a five-minute break.
- After every four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15–30 minutes and reset your Pomodoro count to zero, and start from step 1 again.
5. Set up A Priority Matrix 📌
Have you ever faced a situation where you had a lot of work to do, but do you not know where to start? And so you make a quick decision, only to realize later that while doing that task something that needed immediate attention was ignored?
You’ve got to prioritize.
The first step in selecting a priority is to break down and examine the importance of every task and meeting.
Prioritizing is vital for completing everything in the right order, consider using The Eisenhower box or priority matrix. The Eisenhower Matrix is a technique for prioritizing your calendar tasks based on their urgency. It helps to determine the activities that are vital and that are not worthy of your attention.
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”- US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Father of the Eisenhower Principle
The Eisenhower Box:
Eisenhower’s approach to managing tasks was very straightforward. Use the decision matrix below, to categorize your actions into four possible outcomes.
- Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
- Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
- Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
- Neither urgent nor important ( that you will eliminate).
After that, color-code your calendar to indicate which tasks are of most importance and require your immediate attention. Each morning, review your calendar and adjust the priority colour of all your task to match your day’s schedule. This habit will significantly improve your time management abilities and assist you in getting the most out of your scheduling tools.
💡 Pro Tip:
While setting priority, ask yourself about the tasks and the consequences of not doing them and use colour-coding to set priority levels. For instance, is task X critical and should be completed immediately? Or is task Y vital but does not require immediate attention, and you have a few days before it becomes crucial and urgent?
6. Eat the Frog! 🐸
There are important but disagreeable duties, such as arranging your events, replying back to customer complaints, that you do not want to spend too much time on. You will either take too much time before you do these things, or you will spend too much time while you do these things. Set strict deadlines for such a job beforehand, so you virtually limit the time you spend on a task from the very beginning.
Productivity & Time Management Technique Guru Brain Tracy said:
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
He suggests that we start our day by tackling the most critical, urgent, or simply the most unpleasant task that we lack the motivation to complete first thing in the morning.
Follow these 3 easy steps to finish even the most demanding task you have :
Step 1: Identify your frog 🔍- Identify the most difficult assignment you have for the day. If you have more than one, prioritize using the priority matrix and pay attention accordingly.
Step 2: Eat the frog 🐸 – Complete the most heartbreaking task. Allow one hour to prepare before the start of your workday calendar. You may need more time with that task, but once you get the momentum, things will only get easier.
Step 3: Repetition 🔁 – Keep repeating this so it becomes a habit for you. This technique keeps you tension-free for the remainder of the day and you’d also complete your main assignment while others merely started to figure out what to do.
7. Follow the 4 D’s of Time Management ☑️
Office time is limited-efficiency depends on employees’ capacity to prioritize and drop out unnecessary tasks.
The 4D’s of time management— delete, delegate, defer and do — streamlines the decision-making process to increase productivity by allocating resources strategically.
1. Delete: Learning to say ‘no’ can make your to-do list much more efficient. You will be able to remove the job clutter, such as garbage e-mails, non-important meetings, etc. Tasks that at the beginning of the week might seem vital may end up being redundant only because of these extra chores. It is therefore vital to get rid of these chores in order to make your schedule look concise and straightforward.
2. Delegate: Reassigning work is a skill that one must develop as they move up the corporate ladder. This is one of the most strategic strategies for working when the individual with the required abilities is reassigned.
3. Defer: Scheduled tasks may not appear as urgent in real-time. There may be a sudden change of events and some time-sensitive tasks may require your immediate attention. It is incredibly easy to delay chores in online calendars like TimeTackle. You can reschedule any work, meeting, and other events simply by dragging and dropping.
4. Do: It’s as simple as it gets. These are jobs that are in hand and must be finished within a specified time. Focus time on these activities and finish them as quickly as possible.
Our lives continue to get busier, with increasing pressures to be on time at work and at home. Calendar management is critical for preserving individual well-being and optimizing the collective workforce’s productivity. Although it requires intention and some practice, the advantages are absolutely worth the effort.