Managing your time effectively is one of the biggest responsibilities you have throughout your life. This applies to your personal life and work life. It’s also important to create a clear separation between the two. You don’t want to burn yourself out through overwork and have work intruding into what should be time with your family. Similarly, you don’t want to fail to get tasks completed due to being disorganized.
Calendar management involves planning out your tasks and activities over time so that you’re not overwhelmed all at once. There are a few tips and tools that can help you do this. We’ll go over a few of them below.
Be Comprehensive in Your Scheduling
There are many small tasks we do on a daily basis that don’t take up much time. However, when you add all of these tasks up, the time they take can add up. Scheduling time for these little tasks is especially important for entrepreneurs or professionals working from home.
Doing laundry, cooking meals, and driving the kids to their music lessons all take time. Put them all down on your calendar while also allowing for a little extra time for how long these tasks will take. This helps to ensure you will definitely have time available for all the tasks you have scheduled for the day.
When you are an owner or manager in a small to medium-sized business, you also need to schedule projects and tasks for subordinates. You want to be getting maximum productivity, which means having people getting as much work done as possible throughout the day.
You start by ensuring all employees are clear on what is expected of them in terms of priorities and goals. Occasionally, you should conduct a “time audit” to determine if your employees are spending their time wisely throughout the workday. It can also help to do this for yourself to make sure you’re not the weak link in your company when it comes to time management.
Schedule the Hardest Tasks First
Most of us will be at our best and most refreshed soon after we’ve gotten up from a good night’s sleep and been woken up by coffee and a shower. For this reason, you want to schedule the most demanding tasks, for yourself and any employees, first thing in the workday. If you have many important tasks that need to be completed for the day, prioritize them from most to least demanding.
When creating your calendar for any given day, these difficult tasks will be blocked in for the 9 a.m. to noon slot. There’s a big psychological benefit from going about your workday in this manner. You have the morale boost of knowing you’ve gotten the most difficult things completed early, so it will be comparatively smooth sailing from here on out.
Break Down Projects Into Doable Tasks
Some projects can seem overwhelming when looked at in their totality. This is where breaking them down into smaller and more manageable tasks comes in handy.
For example, you might have “do my taxes” as a personal project to complete. This can be separated into various steps such as:
- Finding all of my receipts and other tax documents.
- Deciding between itemizing deductions or taking the standard deduction.
- Making sure you have all the needed forms depending on your tax situation.
- Choosing a tax filing service or solution.
- Filling out the tax forms.
- Sending them in and making the payment if any tax is due.
You might also try time blocking as an alternative to specific tasks in a to-do list. Sometimes, it may be hard to break down a specific task into steps, but you still need to be working on a given project. In this event, you can set aside a block of time to work on things that may be comprised of varied sub-tasks.
Turn Getting and Staying Organized Into a Habit
Many of us have heard the story about the financial benefits of starting to save money early. Even at a low-interest rate, your earnings compound over time. This power of incremental progress also applies to organizing your life.
We can get quickly discouraged if we set lofty goals and don’t immediately attain them. Learn from the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare” when you try to become more organized. Set smaller, more realistic goals that you feel confident you can attain. The trick is to keep doing this in order to allow the benefits to compound over time. The more you do this, the more setting goals and laying out the tasks to complete them will become a new routine in your life.
Try Google Calendar
With calendar management, it helps to actually have a calendar. Google Calendar is a popular one, and Apple also has its own calendar app. Google Calendar has over 500 million users. It’s available in over 40 languages and has excellent cross-platform compatibility.
You can set up and save multiple calendars, so you can have, at a minimum, one for your personal life and one for work. It also lets you sync your calendars so that you can see the entries in all of them on a single screen. When you run a small to medium-sized business, this app lets you see the work calendars of your staff so that you can arrange meetings when everyone is available.
It makes it simple to change views between your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule of things to do. You can set automatic reminders and schedule remote meetings through it as well. A complete list of its features would take up this entire article. It comes in a basic free version or a business version. It’s available as a separate app in the Google Play store, and it also has a Chrome extension version, which takes us to our next tip.
Use Browser Extensions to Help You Get and Stay Organized
With an estimated 2.65 billion users, as of 2020, Chrome is the most popular internet browser by far. As long as you’re using it anyway to visit your favorite websites for work and play, you may as well put it to use in organizing your life. There are a number of excellent Chrome extensions for this purpose.
This handy little productivity tool will have you wondering how you ever lived without it. It lets you keep a much cleaner Google Calendar by giving you a place to put all of those little tasks. Its color-coded flags let you prioritize your tasks, and you can even add web links to its to-do lists so that you can be reminded of emails or websites you need to revisit. It has business-friendly capabilities, which enable you to assign tasks to others. Used by over 25 million people, the Chrome version is conveniently at your fingertips while browsing at work.
Keeping track of information and getting it to the right people is a critical part of organizing your life and workplace. Evernote is used by millions for this purpose. Whether it’s a screenshot, audio, video, photo, or PDF file, you can annotate it with information as needed before uploading it to Evernote. With cross-platform compatibility, your coworkers won’t have trouble accessing the information you need them to have when they need to have it.
We all face distractions every day. This can be annoying in our personal lives, but it can be downright debilitating to organizational efficiency at the workplace. The internet is a great tool for productivity, but it’s also the ultimate distraction. You know you need to be working but find yourself checking your personal email or Twitter account or watching cat videos on YouTube. This handy Chrome extension enables you to block time-wasting websites for a user-specified period of time.
If you’re one of those people who likes to keep previous tabs open so that you can quickly refer back to something, you’ll love this extension. At the click of your mouse, it will convert your open tabs into an easily accessible list. This way, you won’t have so many tabs across the top of your screen that you can’t see the names of any of the websites.
Organizing Your Life With Calendar Management
The above tips and tools are just a few ways you can get more organization into your life. Does it seem like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that needs doing? It might simply be a lack of organization on your part. Start scheduling all aspects of your workday, breaking things down into doable tasks, and availing yourself of tools to make doing all this easier. This will make your workday far more productive. This, in turn, will give you more time to do what you enjoy.