If you’re the type that’s always running late for the next meeting, missing important deadlines, forgetting dentist or doctor’s appointments and sending your friends belated birthday wishes, then perhaps you need to give some serious thought to the way you manage your calendar. The good news is that sorting your schedule is easier than ever before thanks to a wealth of great tools found within calendar management apps. However, making your calendar work for you involves a little more than just slotting in a few important meetings and keeping an eye on the next national holiday. Here, we take a look at how you can get your schedule back on track with a few simple calendar management tips.
Consolidate Multiple Calendars
You’re a CEO, an angel investor, a respected keynote speaker, a bad tennis partner, a good friend, and an even better parent! You wear many hats, and your calendar should make it easy to manage all of your different responsibilities. The key is to consolidate everything into a single app that can be accessed and updated on all of your devices—so you can manage calendars on your iPhone as easily as you do on your laptop. You’ll also avoid the dreaded double-booking by keeping multiple calendars on a single screen. For instance, if you use one email for work and another for personal communication, you can link the calendars associated with each email and keep an overview of all of your commitments. Spike’s powerful Calendar features allow you to do exactly that—bringing together multiple schedules in one easy to manage app.
Share Your Calendar
The beauty of cloud-based calendars is that they can be shared with colleagues, friends, and even the kids! This not only gives you the chance to keep everyone in the loop as far as your busy schedule is concerned but also allows others to block time and add appointments themselves. Need to manage a project schedule? Ask members of your team to plan meetings directly in your calendar. Want to grab lunch with a busy friend? Get them to find a space in your schedule that works for them. Calendly is one such app that helps you manage your work schedule by letting you input your availability and share links to your calendar through email so recipients can access and update your schedule. Once the recipients have chosen a suitable time, the meeting is automatically added to your calendar. Sharing is caring, after all!
Block Your Time
Blocking off your time for everyday tasks is a great way to manage your schedule more effectively. Whether for managing email, sorting through invoices, or simply setting aside time to catch up with the latest industry news, effectively chopping up your day into manageable chunks will help you concentrate and allow you to focus on the task at hand. If you’re sharing your calendar, it also means you’re less likely to be bothered by colleagues if they can see you’re already busy.
Color Code Your Appointments
Most schedule manager apps will give you the chance to color code your entries, making it easier to keep an overview of your day. You can do this by email address or by type of appointment, giving you an at-a-glance visualization of your schedule across the week or month. Color coding appointments gives you the ability to prioritize your workload. Try red for the most important meetings and yellow for those which could probably be rearranged.
Add Notes for Meetings
It’s all very well adding meetings to your calendar as you go, but unless you provide a little context, there’s a good chance that you’ll arrive unprepared. Add notes to your calendar entries and you’ll have an instant refresher for when the meeting rolls around. Additionally, you’ll have a ready-made agenda that can easily be shared with the people you invite to your meetings—putting everyone on the same page from the start. Once the meeting is complete, update your notes with key points covered and you’ll have also have a concise reference of everything discussed.
Setting reminders helps you to stay on track and manage your work schedule without having to constantly refer back to it. Set reminders 15 mins before a meeting so you can gather any information you might need and plan your approach. Reminders can also serve as a way to alert you to certain time-critical tasks. For instance, if you need to fill out your taxes before a certain date or change your health insurance provider at the end of your current coverage, simply set a reminder to manage your schedule more efficiently and never miss a deadline again.
Protect Your Leisure Time
However much you love your job, it’s still important to take a break and recharge your batteries. It’s all too easy to get caught up chasing deadlines when managing your work schedule, leaving you completely burnt out by the end of the week. Protect your leisure time jealously and schedule it just as you would a meeting or work-related activity. Not only will it help you to avoid overworking but seeing your leisure hours stacked up on the same screen as your work calendar will also give you a tangible goal to work towards.