In our fast-paced world of technology, innovation, and productivity, using a robust Calendar to organize your work and personal life is more important now than ever.
We have constant demands on our time. Meeting requests, urgent work notifications, and a plethora of tasks on our plate; There is a steady amount of stress to have all work completed, finished, and “buttoned-up” before the deadline.
How do some of the world’s most successful and wealthy individuals, who likely have far more on their plate compared to your typical day, get everything done with such finesse and efficiency?
The answer is that they take the time to plan out their days, weeks, months, and even years in advance, using calendars to guarantee their focus and productivity. We will walk through several ways to increase your productivity and success by using online calendars such as Office 365 Calendar, Google Calendar, and Microsoft Calendar. Let’s get started.
Six ways to increase your productivity and success with online calendars
Using an online calendar to plan out your day, increase your productivity, and allow you to stay focused on your most important tasks and priorities is absolutely essential if you want to make the most of every day. You’ve likely heard the phrase,” “what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done” Thiscan’tt ring more true.
By scheduling your most important tasks, events, deadlines, and critical work activities, you’ll set a blueprint for each day, week, and month of your life and block out chunks of time that’ll be used exclusively for your most important tasks.
1. Set check-in reminders for critical deadlines
When you have a critical work deadline or personal event coming up on the horizon, these are the types of events you never want to miss. Life gets hectic, and sometimes it feels as though you’re moving forward at a hundred miles per hour. In times like those, do you have a plan in place and added to your Calendar? This action will guarantee your most critical deadlines will be seen on your Calendar, and the event won’t be forgotten?
By using the “reminder” feature in your online Calendar, you can schedule a reminder that takes effect a week in advance, a few days in advance, and the day before your important event or deadline. But, of course, how you distribute your reminders depends on how far out the task is — and how much work the job requires to complete and prepare for.
When you first learn about a critical deadline or event, take a few seconds to think about the scope of work you’ll be responsible for.
If the scope is immense and involves tens or even hundreds of hours of effort to complete, you’ll want to deliberately schedule a “time block” far in advance of the deadline. Then, use these blocks of time to focus and work on the task at hand without any distractions.
This will force you to work on that task in advance and keep you from procrastinating until the final days or weeks before it’s due. Can you imagine working on a project requiring hundreds of hours of effort a week before the deadline?
Start using your online Calendar reminders to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed in the future, and to keep yourself accountable for where you spend your time.
2. Schedule time blocks with no meetings
Meetings can always come up unexpectedly — and often take up the most valuable parts of your day where you tend to be the most focused and productive.
A day packed with meetings back-to-back will prevent you from completing your core work activities, especially since most meetings we attend don’t actually require us to be present.
This is unfortunate in today’s business world, where meetings often “over-invite” participants and don’t deliberately think about who really needs to be present. This one change alone can drastically improve the productivity and efficiency of an organization.
Fortunately, you can begin blocking out “no-meeting” times on your online Calendar today.
All you have to do is determine what time you’re most productive and use that time to focus on your most important work tasks. And, don’t forget to block out that time so nobody can schedule over it.
Of course, you’ll inevitably be “double-booking” over one of your time blocks. But, unless the meeting is essential for you to attend, there is likely flexibility. For example, you might be able to notify the organizer about your time block and ask to reschedule at a later time.
3. Set deliberate “out of office” time
Setting deliberate “out of the office” (or “OO”) time can be a great way to enjoy time off. This encourages your coworkers, colleagues, and team members to “front-load” any remaining work or questions they may have for you.
You can achieve this in your online Calendar by scheduling the dates and times you’ll be out and then notifying your team and coworkers. Ask them to reach out in advance and ask you questions while you’re still available.
What will this method accomplish? First, it’ll let you actually enjoy your time off without any work notifications or distractions. It’s great knowing no pressing questions are awaiting your return. Additionally, knowing there are no urgent “fires” that must be put out as soon as you get back will help you enjoy your time off in peace.
4. Schedule breaks to stay refreshed
Open up your online Calendar and schedule a few short breaks throughout the day. By scheduling these breaks, your coworkers will see you’re unavailable during those times. Therefore, they will be much less likely to bother you or schedule meetings during those specific periods. It’s essential to take some time during the day to take a periodic break and allow yourself to recuperate, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
When you take breaks between focused work sessions, your mind can relax. Consequently, you can come back refreshed, letting you tackle the following task with full force.
5. Connect your online Calendar to your mobile device
Connecting your online Calendar to your mobile device or smartphone allows you to receive notifications while you’re on the go. Features like this will enable you to keep up on things like new meetings or events.
This is especially true for anyone whose job requires them to constantly move around or travel. Essentially, this is because you’ll always be connected to your Calendar. And it enables you to stay in the loop on what’s happening within your organization.
Connecting your online Calendar to your mobile device can help you be more efficient, especially in planning your day around essential meetings or events.
6. Batch similar tasks together and schedule them
Combining similar tasks and working on them in one “focused burs” of effort is one of the best ways to maintain efficiency. As a result, you can complete your work quicker than you’d have ever thought possible.
Take the time to think through which of your-do’s or tasks are most closely related to each other. These would be ones with similar actions or effort required to complete them.
When you’re scheduling these tasks on your Calendar, batch them together in the same time block. Or group them with time blocks adjacent to each other.
Doing similar tasks sequentially keeps your brain from switching back and forth between completely different tasks. Ultimately, this makes you more efficient over time. If you want to complete as many to-do’s as possible, you really can’t go wrong when using the “batching method.”
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!