Learn how to get your calendar tool ready for action so that you can be productive. In this video, Dave Crenshaw makes the case for using a digital calendar and he explores one popular cloud option: Google Calendar. He also covers the importance of setting up a "task reminder" calendar to collect your assignments.
- [Instructor] Let's begin by helping you get your calendar tool ready for action, and when I use the word tool, I mean exactly that. Just as a carpenter uses a hammer to build a house, your calendar is your tool to help you stay productive. So we have to make a clear selection about what we're going to use. I recommend that you use a digital calendar rather than paper. The biggest reason for that is, even if you're comfortable with paper, you're going to have to constantly be refilling every single week, if you have a recurring appointment.
Whereas on a digital calendar, it will do it for you automatically. Now, any digital calendar can work for your tool. When in doubt, choose the one that you have a little bit of familiarity with. In this case, I'm going to start with Google Calendar. Now, since Google is a cloud-based calendar, you'll be using it most of the time in your browser. One tip I recommend to get your calendar setup is once you go to it, go to the tab at the top of your favorite browser, and pin it, so that it's always there in your browser.
That allows you to quickly switch back and forth, for instance between email and calendar. Now, what we want to do is just play around with things and get a little familiar with the territory. I like to just hover over buttons and click on them, and see what they do. This gives you an idea of how to get to the different settings and see different things within the calendar. Don't be afraid to play around with it. You're not going to mess anything up.
Then, one place I really recommend you go into is Settings, in whatever your favorite calendar is. In there you're going to see a variety of options that you can change. Everything from the date format to how long you want meetings to be, to the work hours, that's a very helpful thing to change that, for instance if you work typically from eight to five, then you can change that and it will give people a warning. You can also change the settings for things like a custom view.
For instance, I prefer to have a five-day custom view. Now of course I want to save my settings after I do this, and it will take me back to the calendar, and then I can show that custom view right there. One other thing that we'll want to setup is an additional calendar called Task Reminders. This is something that I talk about in Time Management Fundamentals. Now here in Google Calendar, they have something called Reminders, and that's not what we're talking about. What we want to do instead is to create a new calendar, and call it Task Reminders.
The entire purpose of this calendar is just to create quick reminders of tasks that are between five and 15 minutes within your day. They're not officially a part of your schedule, they're just going to pop up and remind you of things when they occur. So, I create this calendar, and now it will show up in my list of calendars. And this way, if I have a quick reminder for something, I can create a note.
And select Task Reminders. You'll notice that it will show up as a different color, and if I don't want to have my calendar cluttered with lots of different appointments, I can always uncheck or remove that and look at my official schedule. Should I have more calendars than this? Well I can always create more, but I recommend that you do this sparingly. What we want to avoid is having so many different calendars that you're not clear on which is reality and which is just planning.
One calendar that may be useful though, especially in a work environment, is a resource calendar, such as a conference room. After creating this I can share this calendar with other people, and give them the opportunity to change things. I can enter their email addresses and give them the option to schedule themselves into the calendar. Again, make sure that when you create additional calendars like this, you try to keep your screen as clean as possible.
In other words, if I'm not actively scheduling something into conference room A, I want to uncheck it. There is only one timeline, and there's only one you, so in general only look at one calendar. Take a moment now and decide what calendar you will use, if you haven't decided previously. Take a few minutes to get it ready for action, and then you're ready to move on.
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- Recognize the pitfall of having too many calendars.
- Recall the benefits of leaving 15 minutes of cushion for each task during a busy week.
- Name the best ratio for meetings to actual work for the average person.
- Relate “time abhors a vacuum” to scheduling meetings.
- List what you should schedule during your maximum productivity hours.
- Explain how you should manage your calendar during the busiest time of the year.