Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Using your calendar effectively, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- The calendar is the primary tool for time management success. But are you using it effectively? Over the years of coaching people to improve their productivity, I've found there are six fundamentals to help you get the most out of your calendar. First, think of your calendar as your time budget. What does that mean? Well, time isn't money, not always, but it does behave like money. It must be budgeted because when it's gone, it's gone.
When you schedule things into your calendar, think of it the same way you would think about withdrawing money from a bank account. Everyone has a weekly limit of 168 hours. That's your maximum time budget. You should live within that budget and never overdraw. If you overdraw, you'll go into time debt, and you'll end up paying interest on time. Interest on time means switching cost, and switching cost means things take longer, you'll make more mistakes, and you'll increase your stress levels.
So, use the calendar to keep track of your time withdrawals. Schedule almost everything. This will help you automatically track your time budget and help you avoid overspending. This leads to the second principle: avoid double-booking yourself. There's only one of you, so don't try to schedule two things at once. Double-booking is a bit like spending time on a credit card: lots of overspending, lots of switching cost.
When you double-book yourself, even if you think one of the appointments might fall through, you're creating a situation where you're going to be tempted to multi-task. You'll have to often reschedule and retrace your steps. The third principle will help you avoid double scheduling, which is: never commit to an appointment without putting it into your calendar. Sometimes people will make an appointment and say, Let's do lunch next week, or I'll call you next Tuesday, but they don't put it into their calendar.
Avoid this mistake. It puts pressure on your mind to keep track of your commitments. Also, getting appointments in the calendar keeps you within budget, so always have your calendar on hand and use it consistently. Fourth, schedule buffer and travel time for appointments. In other words, avoid having appointments that are back-to-back-to-back: 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, with no room to breathe between them. This isn't practical or realistic, especially in today's information-overloaded world.
Leave space between your appointments for unexpected interruptions, to take a moment to relax, to prepare for the next meeting. And certainly, if you have to travel from one meeting to the next, make sure to give yourself even more buffer time for travel. Fifth, think of your calendar as a commitment. It's a commitment to others and to yourself. When you budget time in a calendar, stick to it. The calendar is not the place for maybe or perhaps.
It's the place for deadlines and follow-through. Anything that has a deadline and anything that is longer than fifteen minutes has to go to your calendar so that you've properly budgeted time to complete those items and complete them in a timely manner. And the sixth principle: think long term. Most people feel like they don't have enough time to get everything done simply because they're only thinking in terms of what can be done this week or the next.
The truth is, you have an abundance of time as long as you open your perspective weeks and months into the future. Begin cultivating the habit of scheduling deeper into the future and you'll experience less stress and less pressure to do everything today. The more you use these six mindsets with your calendar, the more control you'll begin to experience over your own time.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: This course was updated on 07/09/2018. What changed?
A: New videos were added that cover understanding the focus-chaos scale, as well as the Microsoft Office option. In addition, the following topic was updated: maintaining your productivity gains.