Manage Your Calendar Like a Pro
Ever wonder where all the time in a day goes? Ever wonder why some days it seems like you’re running in a hamster wheel and going nowhere? 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 5 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. Identify critical activities, identify a specific day and time, and slot those activities on a weekly basis, such as Sales every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 to 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, conduct introductory meetings only 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 or more.
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. If you feel like a particular type of meeting needs more or less time, then 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, which means sticking to an email schedule. It is absolutely a must. It is so important, in fact, 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 do an early morning run in (5:00 AM). And yes, 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 and 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 and times.
Never let anyone dictate your time or own your calendar!
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