Are you starting to let people down because of your calendar habits?
Double booking appointments?
Turning up to things late?
Forgetting you have something to get to or need to do?
Thinking of others
A client of mine had this breakthrough recently: “Other people’s lack of scheduling really affects others. I’m realising now how much my lack of scheduling affected other people. And I think my partner is picking up on that now too. My own changes in scheduling and taking responsibility for my own stuff, is helping him. It’s really cool.”
Unpicking a mess of a calendar or starting a fresh calendar can feel daunting. But here are a few tips to help you through the process.
Unpick your calendar
1. Go to the following week and make sure you’ve got all your major commitments accounted for.
Make sure all your big commitments, everything that you do regularly have been captured as a recurring event. If you go to an online or offline networking event weekly or fortnightly, make sure that’s captured in your calendar. By capturing everything like that event you get a visual of what time you have left and where your time is actually being spent.
You can choose to go to the next level of capturing everything as well. Capture when you have family dinners, when you’re going walking, when you’re doing exercise, when you’re shopping, when you’re cleaning. Having captured what your life looks like in your calendar, you’re given a really useful visual representation of how much time you have to play with and actually makes the time more tangible to organise.
2. The next thing to do is to look at what you want to achieve that week. Do you want to do Facebook lives three times a week? If so, get that into your calendar. Make it a commitment.
It’s a personal preference as to whether you keep your tasks in your calendar or in a separate system (such as Asana). I keep my tasks in my calendar just because that’s what works best for me to be able to see what I have coming up. In Google Calendar you can set an event to an all day event so it appears up the top banner of the calendar. That’s where I keep to-dos that don’t have a specific deadline but may happen today. The all day event feature is also where I save my to-dos when I’m on the go and have a good idea. So I’ll jump into my Google Calendar and I add it as an all day event and then at the end of the day, I review those to-dos and schedule them into an appropriate spot.
3. You can also use the colours to coordinate different things that you’re working on.
Colour blocking allows you to scan your calendar quickly and register that you’ve got a client meeting (because it’s orange) and you have a project to work on (because it’s blue). This is helpful because you keep track of what’s on for the day. It’s also helpful for your brain when switching gears, “Okay, this time is for a marketing task, then I’m moving into family time.”
A useful thing to do is to make note of your colour legend on a Post-it note and keep it near your screen so you can refer back to it while it’s becoming a habit as to which colour represents what area of your life.
Colour blocking is an incredible tool that makes scheduling and managing all that you have to do so much easier. The beauty of colour blocking is that you won’t have to constantly make choices about what to focus on at any given time. So rather than sitting down at your desk and wondering what you’ll do next, by having these times already blocked out you’ll find that you’ll be able to be more focussed. For example, maybe Tuesday afternoon is your marketing time and Thursday you do invoicing.