Mastering time is the key to success in any field, but it’s especially important for those who lead busy lives. For executives, calendar management is crucial in helping them reach their company's goals. Disorganization can lead to missed meetings, delayed projects, and decreased productivity. It can also result in strained relationships with colleagues, clients, and investors.
What’s more, calendar management is crucial when you’re a hybrid or distributed team. According to Gallup, remote workers are effective and engaged, but they can also be the most stressed. Most employees today recognize the dilemma of being in the ‘endless workday,’ the one where tasks don’t stop coming in when they clock out for the day. Don’t let chaos rule your schedule – here are some tips for taking control of your workday.
What is Calendar Management?
Calendar management is the systematic process of organizing and scheduling events, appointments, and tasks in a way that maximizes efficiency and productivity. It involves prioritizing tasks, delegating responsibilities, setting deadlines, and adjusting for any unforeseen changes or conflicts.
In short, it’s all about being able to effectively manage your time and stay on top of your commitments. And it’s worth the effort! By employing calendar management techniques, you can increase your effectiveness as an individual or team player while also reducing stress levels. When managing your calendar, the first thing to do is sort out your priorities.
The #1 Rule of Calendar Management: Set Priorities
First, make a list of all the tasks that need to be completed in a given day or week. From there, determine what is most important and urgent – these should take precedence over less pressing matters.
Evaluate each task based on its impact on your long-term goals, as well as whether it has a strict deadline or not. It’s helpful to prioritize tasks based on their level of importance (A, B, C) and urgency (1, 2, 3). This will ensure that you focus on the most crucial tasks first while also meeting any immediate deadlines.
Delegate Responsibilities as Well
Next, consider delegating some responsibilities to others on your team or outsourcing them altogether. Remember: delegating doesn’t mean shirking your duties – it’s about finding the most efficient and effective way to complete a task.
For example, if you have an important conference call but also need to work on a project report, see if someone else on your team can handle the call while you focus on the report. Or, if administrative tasks are taking up too much of your time, consider hiring an assistant or virtual assistant to manage them for you.
Remember to Put Deadlines on Tasks
In calendar management, deadlines are crucial. They help you in staying focused and they keep tasks moving forward. Without them, projects can easily get stuck in limbo or take longer than necessary to complete. When creating deadlines for yourself or your team, make sure they are realistic and achievable. And don’t forget to factor in any potential roadblocks or setbacks that may affect your timeline.
Remember to stay flexible and adjust as needed. Things come up, plans change – the key is to not let these disruptions throw you off course. Always have a backup plan in case of unexpected changes and be willing to modify your schedule accordingly.
Get Clear on Your Meeting Preferences
Another important aspect of calendar management is knowing your meeting preferences. This includes things like preferred times of day for meetings, any restricted or unavailable times, and buffer time between appointments.
For example, if you know that mornings are when you have the most energy and focus, schedule your important meetings for earlier in the day. And make sure to leave some space in between appointments to allow for travel time or unexpected delays. Communicate these preferences with colleagues and clients so they can plan accordingly.
Proper calendar management allows you to take control of your schedule and accomplish tasks more efficiently. It may require some initial effort, but it’s worth it in the long run – a well-managed calendar leads to increased productivity and less stress. So take some time to figure out your priorities, delegate responsibly, set realistic deadlines, and clarify your meeting preferences. Your future self will thank you!
Include Time for Personal Matters
Don’t forget to schedule time for self-care and personal commitments. This might include things like exercise, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or simply taking a break from work. Remember that having a balanced schedule is key to maintaining your health and overall well-being.
By incorporating your personal and business calendars, you’ll have a clearer picture of your schedule and can better prioritize tasks, delegate responsibilities, set deadlines, and make time for self-care. Having all your appointments in one place also prevents double bookings and scheduling conflicts.
Use a Color-Coding System for Calendar Management
Consider implementing a color-coding system for different types of appointments. This can help you quickly distinguish and prioritize tasks at a glance. For example, use red for important meetings or deadlines, green for personal commitments, and blue for miscellaneous tasks.
You could also use colors based on priority level, whether the meeting is internal or external to the company, whether it is onsite or off-site, or if it's a recurring meeting. Experiment with what works best for you and your schedule – the key is to make it visually striking and easy to understand.
Confirm & Send Reminders of Meetings
Sending RSVPs and reminders for upcoming meetings helps ensure that all necessary attendees are present, saves time on rescheduling, and prevents any confusion about the details of the meeting. It also shows respect for others’ time by giving them a heads-up and allowing them to prepare in advance.
It’s also a good idea to confirm meetings the day before or even the morning of, just to make sure everything is still on track and there haven’t been any last-minute changes or conflicts. And don’t forget to send out any important materials or information that attendees may need before the meeting. Taking these steps will help make your meetings run smoothly and efficiently, allowing everyone involved to make the most of their time and accomplish their goals.
Many calendar software and platforms allow you to automate these reminders. Typically, it is possible to send out reminders anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours in advance.
Conduct a Daily Calendar Audit
Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to review your calendar for the following day and week. This allows you to assess any changes or updates, prioritize tasks, and make sure everything is in order. It’s also a good opportunity to reschedule or delegate responsibilities if necessary, as well as plan ahead for any upcoming deadlines or events.
Regularly auditing and adjusting your calendar helps maintain organization and ensures that you are staying on top of your schedule. Don’t let it become a burden – just spend a few minutes each day to keep everything in check and make the most out of your time.
Attend to Urgent Requests with Buffer Hours
Even with careful planning and organization, unexpected tasks or urgent requests can come up. To accommodate these situations, it’s a good idea to schedule “buffer hours” throughout your day or week. This allows for some flexibility in case an emergency arises or something takes longer than expected.
Think about when you are typically the most productive and schedule buffer hours during those times. This way, you can handle any unexpected tasks or last-minute requests while still being able to stay on top of your primary responsibilities and goals.
Overall, scheduling time for new requests helps to ensure that they are not neglected or overlooked amid a busy schedule. It also allows for some flexibility and prevents the stress of feeling overwhelmed or constantly playing catch-up. So don’t forget to add some buffer hours into your calendar – it will ultimately save time and make you a more effective and efficient leader.
Hire a General Virtual Assistant
If you find that managing your calendar is consistently taking up too much of your time and energy, consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle it for you. This allows you to focus on the more important tasks at hand and delegate the more administrative tasks to someone else.
Outsourcing these tasks can greatly improve your efficiency and productivity – it’s worth considering if you find that managing your calendar is consistently causing stress and taking up too much time. Here are some things that a VA can help you with:
Work-related Calendar Management
- Scheduling appointments
- Organizing daily to-do lists
- Prioritizing deadlines by urgency
- Keeping your digital calendars synced
- Keeping a record of your meetings, tasks, deadlines, etc.
- Following up on appointments and deadlines
- Organizing your inbox
- Booking flights and hotels
- Coordinating travel plans
- Managing meeting expenses
- Submitting meeting expense reports
Other Calendar Management Tasks
- Managing bill payments, invoices, and payroll
- Helping prepare presentation materials
- Updating CRMs with meeting notes/client data
- Sending notifications to clients, employees, vendors, etc.
- Scheduling social engagements
Get a Wing Assistant for Calendar Management
When you have a Wing Assistant, you don’t need to worry about organizing your calendar or making sure nothing’s slipping through the cracks. You’ll get a vetted and dedicated assistant, so you’re sure that they’ll be prioritizing your tasks. Book a call today to learn more about Wing’s virtual assistants!