Calendar Tactics That Amp Productivity

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Calendars come in many different forms, mainly paper, digital and mental. If you’re holding your events in your head, that’s a whole other post about productivity drag. I boost my performance with five key tactics for an uncluttered calendar.

  • Post A Calendar Guard – I follow David Allen’s advice and guard my calendar like the sentry at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier. Any entry that doesn’t pass these checks does not get on my calendar. Period.
    • Is it date or time specific? Appointments and things that only happen on a certain day, like major holidays, fit into this category.
    • Is it attached to a mental trip wire? My wife’s birthday is an all-day event in my calendar as a reminder to start planning. I preview my calendar four weeks out during my weekly review to have enough lead-time to order gifts and make a dinner reservation. I make a separate, all-day calendar event if I need more than four weeks lead-time. Many calendar apps max-out at a four-week event notification option. I add a new project in my Evernote Project notebook when I hit the lead time mark in my calendar.
    • Does it prod a big decision? Sometimes you need more time to make a major decision. Fire, hire, move, quit, resign and big purchases are all examples of choices that are better made with a little bumper time. I’ll make an all-day calendar event to prod me to decide what I’ve been stewing over. Many times this has been an active project in my Evernote Project notebook. The next step has been tagged with Waiting as I percolate on the decision. As Tony Robbins said, “If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” When I get to the day to make a choice about a big issue, I decide, commit to my decision and improve my chances of success.
  • I preview today’s calendar events as one of two things that I do at the beginning of each day.
  • My calendar is always with me. I use Google Apps for Work for desktop and mobile access to my calendar. My events are synced across all my devices.
  • I preview tomorrow’s calendar events at the end of each day.
  • I keep enough open-space in my calendar for unexpected events during the day. Sometimes appointments run long or fires get started that must be put out. Be careful to see the difference between what’s seemingly urgent and truly important.

Get more out of your calendar with strict controls on what gets in and regular reviews of what’s coming up. You’ll amp your productivity and reduce clutter in your calendar.

How do you manage your calendar?

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