Time management is a very significant issue in this modern age: missed deadlines, double-booking appointments, and the general feeling of not having enough time every day are common issues for so many people all over the world.
The thing is, without putting effort into efficient calendar management and improving your scheduling skills, you simply won’t achieve success. This is especially true if you are in a service-based business or are a business owner where time, literally, is money.
Here are some scheduling skills and calendar management tips that work (and not necessarily hard to implement) to help you get the most out of your day, every day.
Learn How To Prioritize
The first thing to do if you really want to improve your scheduling skills is to embrace the fact that your time is limited and you cannot do everything in this limited time.
Thus, the secret is priority management.
There are various approaches you can use to manage your priority, one of them is to use the Eisenhower matrix to prioritize activities in your calendar based on urgency and importance:
Important and urgent activities
Activities that will contribute to your primary goals/objectives, and need to be done within a specific amount of time (have a set deadline).
Important but not urgent activities
Activities that are important, but have a more relaxed deadline. This type of activity tends to have long-term benefits and not immediate effects, and this is where most people have the most tendency of falling behind.
Urgent but not important activities
These are activities that are urgent but might not directly contribute to your primary goals. You should delegate these tasks to others whenever possible.
Not important and not urgent activities
Pretty self-explanatory. We should identify these activities and try to remove these activities from the day as much as possible.
Create and Commit To a Routine
The secret to successful calendar management is to establish a routine and to commit to this routine until it becomes a habit. Here are some tips:
- Based on the Eisenhower matrix above, make a list of all of our daily tasks and identify their priorities
- Divide your calendar into “time blocks” and block similar activities for a specific time. Pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day/week when assigning activities. For example, tasks that are important and urgent might go to the beginning of the day where your energy levels are high, and less urgent tasks can go to the middle of the day/week.
- Leave in blank spaces here and there for flexibility. You can use these blank spaces to rest or for “me time” activities like reading, binging your favorite shows, or meditating.
Try out your routine for a month or two, and don’t be afraid to make some changes. After all, establishing a routine that works best for you may take some trial and error.
Color Coding Your Calendar
Based on the priorities and time blocks above, you can color-code your calendar so it’s easier to check what you’ve planned for the day. Also, studies have suggested that using the right colors can help manage your stress. You can color-code your calendar in various different ways, but here are some tips you can use:
- Red for important and urgent tasks. Red is considered the most effective color at enhancing our attention to detail.
- Use bland color for meetings, like grey or light blue/light green to help maintain balance
- Purple is great for creative-oriented tasks since purple represents creativity and imagination
- Use blue or pink for leisure activities, since these colors can help calm your brain
- Green represents health and calmness, so you can use it for a lunch break or meditation time
Leveraging Technology To Help You
In this day and age, there are various tools and technologies that can help you improve your scheduling and calendar management. Even free and affordable tools like Google Calendar can help you easily organize and share your calendar with others through email or instant messaging and you can easily integrate a meeting or event into other parties’ calendars.
Also, if you are running a service-based business where you’ll frequently meet your clients, an online scheduling and booking software like Bookeo can significantly streamline the booking process for your clients while the appointment will also be automatically added to your schedule, minimizing administrative work.
Learn To Delegate
The basic principle here is to only do the things only you can do. For important and urgent activities, and to a lesser extent important but nonurgent activities, you may need to do everything yourself, but for the rest, learn to delegate.
Delegating nowadays doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to hire a new full-time employee. There are various virtual assistant services that can help execute some activities and even manage your calendar and schedule for you. Also, automating some of your activities with various automation technologies can also work.
Delegation allows you to focus on more important and urgent activities that can contribute to your primary goals, like growing your business.
Last but not least, a huge part of time and calendar management is learning when to say “no”. If you say yes to every appointment, meeting, and hangouts with friends, you simply won’t be able to commit to your schedule and you won’t have time to focus on achieving your goals.
So, before saying yes to anything, check your calendar and see what your availability is like. Only say yes if you do have an empty schedule, and don’t compromise. Once you’ve compromised to break your routine, you’ll simply do it again and again later, rendering your calendar and schedule useless.