07 Sep 6 Tips for Using Your Calendar to Maximise Productivity
Master your calendar to increase productivity
We’d all love to be more productive. Whether you’re working remotely or in the office, mastering your calendar is a great skill to help you maximise your productivity. Our Personal Efficiency Program includes practical strategies to help you build productive habits for calendar use.
Today we show you how to increase productivity by creating a well-organised calendar with these six useful tips.
Tip #1 – Map out your week in advance
A great habit to get into is to plan out your week in advance, on the previous Friday. Work out your priority tasks for the week ahead and add them to your calendar first. Choose 1-3 of the most important tasks per day that you will finish no matter what, then block out time for those tasks. Then, fit the less essential duties around your schedule.
It’s also a good idea to schedule your most productive time of day for the most critical work. Experiment to see what works best for you.
Mapping out your week helps you to have a clear plan, so you don’t get side-tracked by things that pop up. Planning ahead gives you the mental space to focus on what’s really important. And getting it done on Fridays means that you can fully unwind and recharge on the weekend.
Work out your priority tasks for the week ahead and add them to your calendar first.
Tip #2 – Start each day with your calendar
Once you’ve set up your calendar for the week, start each day looking over it, so you know what’s coming up.
A great way to make sure you start each day with your calendar is to set up your email client or other technology to show your calendar first. For example, you can set up Outlook to show your calendar when you open the program.
If you use Google calendar, you can have your agenda sent directly to your inbox.
Tip #3 – Use time-blocking
Whether you’re planning your week or reviewing your daily calendar, time-blocking is another way to increase productivity and manage your time better. Time-blocking is simply the act of dividing your day into blocks and assigning tasks for each block. Any task that takes more than 15 minutes should have its own time block in your calendar.
Time-blocking helps you to proactively prioritise your tasks and focus on one thing at a time. Just by having deadlines, you’re more likely to finish tasks. You can also schedule time-blocks to deal with urgent, reactive tasks that pop up during the day.
Any task that takes more than 15 minutes should have its own time block in your calendar.
Tip #4 – Try colour coding
Colours represent different things to our brains, and colour coding is a simple but effective way to manage your calendar better. By grouping or batching similar tasks by colour, you can quickly view your calendar and make sure that it aligns with your goals. You can also use colour coding along with time-blocking to visualise your calendar.
Tip #5 – Leave a buffer between meetings
In the new normal of remote working, it’s tempting to schedule back-to-back meetings since there is no longer a need to travel between meetings. However, it’s often more productive to set aside 15 minutes after a meeting to review. While the meeting is still fresh in your mind, you can quickly make notes or schedule work that came out of it.
Don’t forget to allow travel time for face to face meetings, or time to ensure that your technology is working for virtual meetings.
Allow travel time for face to face meetings, or time to ensure that your technology is working for virtual meetings.
Tip #6 – Time for rest
Research shows that we need breaks to recharge and refocus. Many people find the Pomodoro technique useful, where a 5-minute break follows 25 minutes of focused work. Others might be able to work for 90 minutes before having a break. Experiment to see what works for you and discover how to increase productivity with the Pomodoro method.
Proactively schedule rest time in your calendar if you find that you have back-to-back meetings. Including a buffer between work or meeting blocks means that you have time to rest and recharge before the next meeting.
Organising your calendar may seem like a tedious task, but a well-managed calendar can do wonders for your productivity. At PEPwoldwide, our programs are designed to help you build sustainable habits that make a big difference to your productivity. From how to organise your calendar to how to run effective meetings, we’re all about building productive workplace habits.
That’s why we’ve been the leading productivity consultant in Australia for over 30 years. Learn how PEP can help you make changes to increase your productivity.
By Simon Nicholls