Manage Your Calendar and Time Like a Pro

Ever wonder where all the time in a day goes? Every wonder why some days it seems like you’re running in hamster wheel and not being productive? If you have these thoughts more often than you like, it is probably due to poor calendar management. The last post focused on email automation. Today we tackle five simple steps to effective calendar and time management.

1. Create a routine

Create a routine by blocking times for specific activities, and stick with the plan. For your critical activities, identify a specific day and time and slot those activities on a weekly basis – for example, Sales every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 – 12:00. Routines may change throughout the year, but it’s better to have a plan. Whatever is not planned, you don’t do (even free time).

2. Group meetings and calls into blocks

For example, only conduct introductory meetings on a designated day. Or schedule lunch meetings on the same day every week.

3. Optimize time for different meeting types

I am now a big fan of 30-minute meetings and 15-minute calls. I think 10-minute calls are a great way to initially connect with someone or give someone quick advice. I prefer to do intro calls on Fridays, when I have the most office time. Cut out the coffee discussions. When you factor in travel time, a coffee discussion can cost you 1.5 hours of your day (possibly longer).

Here are the types of meetings you might want to book:

  • 30-minute meeting in the office to get to know someone or catch up
  • 45-minute meeting outside of the office. Allow 15 minutes for travel.
  • 10-minute call to help someone who needs advice

Whatever meetings you hold, group them into blocks depending on your particular schedule. If you feel like a particular type of meeting needs more or less time, adjust the block accordingly.

4. Block time for email

Email will own you unless you own it. To own your email you must avoid doing it all the time. Scheduling time to do your email is absolutely a must. In fact it is so important that I wrote a whole entire post about managing email. I check my emails three times a day. The first 30 minutes in the office, the initial 15 minutes after lunch, and the last 30 minutes of my day.

5. Plan your exercise and family time

As I said earlier, unless you put it on the calendar, it won’t get done. This also applies to your health and time with your family. No matter when you go, morning, afternoon or evening, put it on your calendar and just do it. I work out a minimum of three times a week. Every Monday and Friday I’m at Title Boxing (6:00 AM) and on Wednesday I get in an early morning run (5:00 AM). And guess what? It is time blocked on my calendar.  

The same applies to planning time with your family and significant others. At 5:30 at least three days a week, I stop work at 5:30 switch over to family time. Every 2nd Saturday and 4th Wednesday of the month is time away from the kids with my wife. It’s not only on our calendars, but we also negotiated with our sitter to time block her calendar for those days/times.

Never let anyone dictate your time or own your calendar!

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