Continuing with the theme of planning from yesterday’s post (read it here), I want to share some observations about my calendar.
1. I have one calendar.
You might walk into my office and see a calendar hanging on the wall, but that’s not my calendar. The calendar that shows me the date on my desktop isn’t my calendar either. I am surrounded by gadgets and paper – all of them provide calendar information. But none of them are my calendar. My CALENDAR is Google Calendar (or Gcal). It’s the only one I use to keep track of my schedule and to note deadlines and timelines. One Calendar. If you have more than one…consolidate into one.
2. I can access my calendar easily.
I can get to my calendar on my iPhone, on my computer, on your computer, even print it out. It’s close by and convenient. If you use a paper calendar, you’ll need to find a way to keep it close (dayplanner or Franklin-type system). When your calendar is accessible it’s easy to check availability and add dates to it.
3. I look at my calendar from different vantage points.
I view my calendar from a daily view, a weekly view, and a monthly view. I try not to be surprised. Before I go to bed, I’ll take a look at what’s happening the next day. At the end of a week, I’ll look to see what’s coming up in the next week. Some people have the tendency to live from event to event, especially when life gets busy. But then we’re pressed to only do what’s urgent instead of allowing time to focus on what’s important.
4. I keep the appointments I put on my calendar.
This is the key to managing a good calendar. If there’s something important you need to accomplish, make an appointment with yourself. I put my P90X workouts ON THE CALENDAR. Like most of my other appointments, I didn’t want to miss them and I didn’t want to show up late. Some may call this a technique, I call it intentional discipline and commitment. Plus, if you’ve made an appointment, if someone asks for that time, you can simply respond that you have a conflict in your schedule.
5. I control my calendar.
If you only do what’s urgent, then you’ll live under the control of your calendar. You’ll feel like you don’t have enough time. I’ve discovered if I don’t manage my own calendar, others will find ways to fill it up for me. If you struggle with identifying your priorities, you’ll probably struggle with managing your own calendar. If you know the important things that need to get done, you’ll find (make!) the time to accomplish them.
6. I build flexibility into my calendar.
There will be emergencies, but there won’t ALWAYS be emergencies. Things will come up that must be attended to immediately, but that’s not the NORM. I try not to fill my calendar so full that I feel like I’m rushing around. The key is to find the pace or rhythm that you work best at throughout the day. I like to keep patches of open time so I can just hang out with students. It’s up to you to figure out the balance between a productive schedule and a psychotic one.
I would love to hear what you do with your calendar. What type do you use? How do you use it? What’s your best scheduling trick or technique?