Effective calendar maintenance is key to achieving your goals and avoiding stress along the way. Successful people know how to be proactive and schedule their plans in advance. Doing so can help you visualize your schedule and prepare for what’s to come. Consistently maintaining your calendar, even during the busiest seasons, ensures that things will go off without a hitch.
If you feel like there’s something currently hindering your success, try improving your calendar maintenance skills. Here are five tips for effective calendar maintenance.
1. Clean Up Your Current Calendar
Clean up your current schedule before you find a calendar to use or work on improving your calendar skills. If it’s already a mess, even the best calendar tool in the world won’t fix that. Clean up the clutter on your schedule, for example, unused recurring events. If you notice that an event can occur bi-weekly, monthly, or not occur at all, make this adjustment.
When you free up space on your calendar, you’ll have a clear view of what’s important. A calendar that isn’t overly cluttered is much easier on the eyes and much easier to maintain. It’s also a good idea to create naming conventions and common themes so your calendar looks and feels cohesive. If you’re having difficulty deleting events but want to clean up your calendar more, reach out about meetings in advance. See if you can move things around or cancel unnecessary events to make your schedule more manageable.
2. Find a Calendar That You Like to Use
In today’s fast-paced digital world, there are countless ways to maintain your busy schedule. Digital calendars make it easy to carry your plans wherever you go. Gone are the days of carrying around planners to keep your schedule (unless that’s what you prefer). The point is that you have to find a calendar you like before you can start using it effectively.
If you’re currently using multiple calendars, consider merging them. Merging calendars can take a lot of time and effort, depending on how many you have. But it will be worth it in the end to condense them because everything will be in one centralized location. Multiple calendars can cause quite a headache, especially if you’re extremely busy and could benefit from some organization. If you want to know what’s going on during any given day, week, or month, one master calendar is the way to go.
3. Customize Your Calendar to Meet Your Needs
Any calendar, especially the latest and greatest digital ones, can be customized to fit your lifestyle and needs better. There are several ways you can customize your calendar to serve you better. Your schedule can look completely different; plus, you might have another way you like to plan. This is where customization comes in — make your calendar yours.
Use Color Coding
One great way to customize your calendar is to color-code different things. Calendars are usually filled with meetings, personal events, and reminders (to name a few). Color coding your calendar organizes it and makes it easier to maintain. When viewing your calendar, adding to it, or updating it, you shouldn’t feel stressed. In fact, it should make you feel the opposite. You should feel organized and on top of things. This is precisely what color coding has the power to do.
Any digital calendar will have a feature allowing you to set reminders for yourself. So, utilize those reminders (and don’t forget to customize them to your liking). You can choose which types of events have reminders, how far in advance you get the reminder and more. Maybe you want to set a reminder for work meetings to receive a notification 15 minutes before the start time. Or, perhaps you’d like to know about personal events with friends a week in advance. Whatever the case may be, you choose how the reminder works.
Every event in your calendar is different. Even recurring events can change from week-to-week. The problem is that one day on a calendar only has so much space. Too much information and it can become a cluttered mess quickly. Luckily, digital calendars will usually provide you with a notes section for each event in your calendar. For work meetings, enter notes saying what the meeting is about, your action items, etc. For a friend’s birthday, use it to jot down gift ideas. Your notes will help you so much on a week-by-week basis.
4. Explore Calendar Features and Settings
When using a digital calendar or scheduling app, explore all the features. Yes, customization is nice, but most digital calendars have even more capabilities to take advantage of. For example, some platforms allow you to create multiple calendars and then overlay them. If it makes more sense for you, create separate calendars for everything. Maybe you have one for work meetings, one for personal events, and one for holidays. You can merge all of them into one and save yourself the headache.
When using a digital calendar, make sure you also explore the power of automation. You can automate things like sending reminder emails to meeting attendees. This saves you time and makes your life a lot easier. It’s a way of being proactive and ensuring that you’ll be productive in the future.
It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the basic settings in your calendar. If you travel often, for example, you’ll want to make sure you know how to change your timezone. Do you want a sound to go off when notified of an event? Do you want others to be able to see your calendar? These settings are important to configure before you use your calendar effectively.
5. Set Aside Time to Update and Plan
Last but certainly not least, ensure you set aside time at least once a month for yourself. During this time, update your calendar accordingly to better work for you and plan for the upcoming month. Make sure to add things even if they’re far away. You won’t regret being proactive and planning ahead.
When you set aside time to look at your calendar in a monthly view, you’ll also learn which view you prefer. Monthly, weekly, and daily all have their advantages. Which one makes the most sense for your busy schedule? Looking at the monthly view gives you an idea of what you can expect in the coming month. The week view prepares you for the upcoming week so that there are no surprises. And a daily view is excellent for those hectic days when you need to focus on what’s happening right now. Dedicated planning time is a great way to ensure you’re prepared for things well in advance.
Proactive planning is essential to be organized and minimize stress in your life. This is where effective calendar maintenance comes into play. Learn how to use your calendar so that it helps you instead of hinders you. Only then will you be able to take control of your busy schedule and plan for the future with ease. Remember — the calendar is your friend, not something that should add additional stress.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Fox; Pexels; Thank you!