I was speaking with a friend the other day about calendaring.
She admitted that she needed to use hers more and was curious that I said I “lived in mine”. So I thought I’d tease that out here. My calendar is a living document. As well as guiding me on future movements, it’s pretty much a diary of what’s been happening day to day. So much so that I retrospectively update how long something took me, which over time has built up quite a lot of data. This data helps me contextualise how I spend my days and how long regular tasks and projects take.
I use Google Calendar and I like it set to the week view on my phone. I will also switch to the 3-day view to focus on certain days – often on a Friday to see the weekend only which helps me switch off of work. I look at the phone app every morning to remind myself what is coming up for the day. And I will use the app while on lunch breaks, running errands, and commuting to events to capture my thoughts and to-dos as they come up. If I haven’t been able to slot them in at a time to do them, that’s something I do later when I’m reviewing my week.
Once I’m ready for work, I open my calendar in a tab on my Desktop. I refer to my calendar before I begin my day (to make sure I know what’s ahead) and then every hour, if not more. I also look at it during transition times.. Say when I’ve completed a task or when a client session or meeting has concluded and it’s time to move on to something else. At the end of the day, I preview the next day and take the opportunity to shuffle tasks around depending on what new things have come up (sometimes even moving tasks to another week if priorities have majorly changed).
In the evening, if I have ideas, events and plans made with friends, or I remember something else entirely, I’ll open the calendar app on my phone and capture it there. Before I head to bed I like to look at my calendar again to make sure that I know what’s happening first thing in the morning.
It may sound like a lot of effort or a lot of time spent but I do this all without much conscious thought now. I find that the support my calendar offers me helps me feel grounded, in control, and aware of my life and priorities.
This isn’t THE way to use a calendar either. This is just what works for me. Everyone’s way will be different. So if you need help with your calendar, let me know. I can teach you all the tricks and tips of the software (whatever your calendar choice is) and help you develop the habit of remembering to look at your calendar.