A lot of people I know are constantly turning up late for meetings or find that somehow they missed that all important deadline or forgot to pay that mobile phone bill and the one thing that these people have in common is that they tend not to make use of a calendar.
The most common reason I hear for people not using calendars is that they have a good memory and can remember everything they need to!! Or that a calendar is difficult to manage and takes away their flexibility. In fact the opposite is true, setting up a calendar and using it can be almost completely automated, and taking the time to schedule your work, will actually help you to get organised, find more time in your day, and feel more in control of things.
Share Calendars and avoid email Conversations
If you have to arrange lots of meetings why not consider sharing calendars to arrange appropriate times, it usually takes a minimum of three emails to schedule a meeting, the first one to suggest a time, the second one to say the other party can’t do that date/time and suggest alternatives, the third email to at last finalises a date.
The sharing of calendars to help you get organised, can be particularly useful if you are a coach or mentor or work in another area where you work with lots of individual clients. By using a shared calendar or appointment system, meetings and appointments are arranged to suit both parties with one click. Your client see the times that you are available, and picks the one that works best for their schedule.
Help the family to get organised
A lot of the youngsters in your house are tech savvy these days so why not consider setting up a family shared calendar perhaps by using a Google calendar. When that dentist reminder comes through the door for your son; one check of the calendar lets you know that he has football practice that day – we know football comes first, better rearrange.
Your calendar is not a to do list
Use your calendar to keep a track of those things that must be done on a specific day. In other words, your calendar helps you to get organised by scheduling appointments, do not use it as your to-do list. If you only schedule those things that must be completed, such as hospital appointments and travel time, you give yourself flexibility for the rest of your day, whilst still completing tasks on time.
Consider using a specialised calendar
The day-to-day planning of appointments and deadlines is great, but smart entrepreneurs and business owners use their calendar for other things, that help them to get organised and stay organised, such as long-term planning, future product launches, marketing schedules, joint venture plans to name but a few, that are all written on their calendars. That allows them to easily see what’s coming up and to match your own products and promotions with those of others, giving themselves and their businesses far greater reach.
For example a marketing calendar would include everything from PPC campaign target keywords, blog post ideas to products you’d like to create. You do not have to carve your marketing calendar in stone, but remember to leave room for on-the-fly promotions and last-minute opportunities as well.
Let someone else manage your calendar
Finally, if you really feel that you can’t use a calendar to get organised, outsource it! Find a Virtual Assistant (VA) to manage your calendar for you. Getting someone else to manage your calendar for you will also free up time for you to get other things done.
“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”
Till next time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor