When it comes to the calendar vs. to-do list debate, which do you think is better? The most common of the two is probably a to-do list. Most people have a to-do list of some sort.
Maybe you list out what you have to do each day at work or create a weekend to-do list of all your responsibilities and the errands you will run. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a sense of accomplishment when crossing things off my to-do list.
However, I challenge you to think about using a calendar. It took me a while to start using a calendar but I found it much more effective than a to-do list. Calendars are not just for top-level CEOs or insanely busy people. We all can benefit from using them. Here are a few key reasons why you may want to start using a calendar more than your current to-do list method
Calendar vs. To-Do List – Why You May Want to Start Using Your Calendar More
The Power of Scheduling
The one thing I love about having a calendar is being able to schedule things out and officially set aside time to focus on one task. When planning your weekly or daily schedule, putting it on the calendar just makes it official. You may put things like doctor’s appointments on the calendar because they are non-negotiable or you just want to get it out of the way.
What if you started putting your day-to-day activities on the calendar too? Would this increase the chances of these things actually being completed? The odds say yes.
Using a calendar can help you spread out your workload, meet more deadlines and have a clear idea of your obligations for the day so you can be more productive.
Setting Reminders and Alerts
Modern-day calendar technology is convenient because you can personalize your calendar however you like and even set up reminders and alerts. If you misplace your to-do list or get distracted, there are unfortunately hardly any tools to help with this.
Use your digital calendar to remind you when you have certain bills that are due or an important meeting that’s coming up. If you want to make sure you don’t miss an important event or task, you can even set up multiple reminders. Consider doing this to help deter you from distractions throughout the day as well.
Managing Time Efficiently
The one thing that I love about using a calendar is that it motivates you to base your daily schedule on real factors and time constraints. If you’ve ever set a mile-long to-do list that you knew you couldn’t complete in a single day or a certain time frame, you’re not alone. I used to beat myself up at the end of the day for not completing every single thing on my to-do list.
With a calendar, you are essentially filling in time slots instead of just creating a blind list. You’re being honest about how much time you have, then scheduling out tasks according to your availability. When you commit to adding everything to your calendar, it makes it harder for you to double book yourself or bite off more than you can chew.
Get flexible and creative with how you use your calendar to assist with proper time management. Try batching tasks like sending email reminders, doing research or outlining some content and add it to your calendar for an allotted time.
Use Your Calendar to Reduce Emails
If you schedule a lot of meetings during the week, you are probably sending a lot of emails on any given day. The people who use their calendar system wisely may not have this problem.
If someone needs to book time with you, you can send them a calendar invite link or include this in the signature of your email. I love using tools like Calendly to easily set up meetings with other people so I don’t have to go back and forth asking about their availability.
Think about it, would you rather save time with a calendar link, or write down ‘follow up with ______’ on your to-do list only to forget about it later?
Make Your Goals Visual
Finally, the thing that absolutely solves the calendar vs. to-do list debate in my book is the fact that your calendar can help you visualize your goals and priorities much better. We all have goals and many of us are super busy. Your long to-do list only supports this argument.
We often tend to waste so much time and energy trying to do everything when we should just prioritize our tasks and fit what’s important into our schedule. For example, let’s say you have a goal to get healthier this year and prioritize exercise.
Adding exercise to your to-do list may seem more like a burden than a help since it can represent just another thing to do. However, if you add 60 minutes of exercise to your calendar, it seems more doable. Setting aside time to exercise and literally adding it to your daily routine makes it much more likely that you’ll actually do it and reach your goals.
Summary – Calendar vs. To-Do List : Which One Will You Choose
I know I probably made to-do lists sound like the worst possible thing in this article but that wasn’t my intention. I feel like to-do lists can be appropriate under certain circumstances. However, if you always feel short on time and overwhelmed about everything on your plate, it’s probably not the best option.
You will likely benefit from being realistic about your schedule and filling things in on a calendar so each task has a dedicated time slot. For most busy and dedicated people, having a calendar just seems like a much better solution overall.
But I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What’s your opinion on the calendar vs. do-to list debate?