The Calendar in and of itself is a very simple device. However, when reading about time management practices and techniques, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all of the options you have. There’s no need to panic; you just need to take time management one step at a time.
To start, you’ll need an online calendar. A physical calendar is fine, but you can get a lot more extensive value out of an online calendar in addition. Next, you’ll need a basic game plan centered around what you hope to accomplish with your Calendar.
Smart scheduling is a process. This guide will help you understand how your online Calendar works and how it can work for you. Over time, you’ll feel totally comfortable creating and molding schedules that maximize how you use your time. Let’s get to it:
Compare Calendars With Others
If you don’t know where to start with your own Calendar and scheduling, ask someone if you can take a look at theirs. A colleague who is already familiar with calendar management can teach you how they use their own Calendar to be more productive.
Have a quick glance at their Calendar to get an idea of how they organize their schedule, what time management techniques they use, and how far out they plan. This will give you a better idea of what you should start doing to replicate their success.
Learn How to Navigate Different Views
When using an online calendar, you’ll have multiple different views that you can use to your advantage. Learning how to navigate these different views and how each one can benefit you will help you understand and use your Calendar more effectively.
The different calendar views are broken down into time increments. Different lengths of time will provide additional benefits to your time management. Let’s break them down quickly:
The default view you probably have on your online Calendar is the monthly view. This gives you an excellent overview of your entire schedule without overwhelming you with events too far into the future. Scheduling based on your monthly view is a great way to build a framework for all of your upcoming events and responsibilities.
Your weekly view will be a little more focused. By switching to this view, you can concentrate on the workweek and everything that must be done before the weekend. This is a great view to use if you’re planning upcoming calls with clients or work meetings that need to be done before the upcoming Friday.
For the most detail possible, take a look at the daily view. This is the view you’ll need if you want to concentrate just on the events of the day. Then, once you clock out of work, you can expand to the more extensive views for more comprehensive planning and scheduling.
If you feel comfortable relying on only one of these views at a time, that’s fine. Just know that there are multiple ways you can leverage your Calendar to help you schedule your time.
Check Out Your Analytics
If Calendar is your time management app of choice, you’ll have access to time analytics that are specific to you and the events you schedule. These analytics will paint a detailed picture of how you are currently scheduling your time. Using this as a guide, you can plan adjustments to lead to better time management practices.
For example, many managers might worry about a time management metric is total meeting time. Of course, meetings are essential, but there are diminishing returns that come with excess meetings or unnecessarily long meetings. Time analytics will show you exactly how much time you spent in meetings so you can determine precisely how much you need to cut back, or even if you need to start planning more meetings.
Think About Separating Calendars
Have you ever thought about having more than one Calendar? No rule says you can only have one. However, having separate calendars can be of great benefit to you.
You can create a calendar specifically for work and another one that’s full of all of your personal events. However, having both of these calendars together at all times can be confusing, especially if you’re more productive by focusing on only one thing at a time.
If you’re worried about your two calendars conflicting with each other, all you need to do is sync them together. This way, you’ll have a single view of both calendars if you’d like, but you can also focus on them individually.
Get Familiar With Your Features
Another important thing to note when using an online calendar is that it comes with many features that you’ll never get from a paper calendar. One example is the previously mentioned dual-calendar feature, where you can easily separate calendars and compare them. Other features include organizational tools such as tagging and color-coordinating, which will help you schedule precisely.
Your online Calendar will also come with some integrations that will make your scheduling even more in-depth. For example, your Calendar of choice might sync with video conferencing apps that you frequently use with work. This will make planning and executing work meetings easier than ever.
That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? You can get a lot of mileage out of that simple Calendar just by knowing what buttons to press. Be sure to keep an eye on those time analytics so you can see how your time management starts to improve from here on out.
Image Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya; Pexels; Thank you!