4 Tips to Keep Your Calendar Simple and Efficient

Amber Clark

Jan 24, 2017

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4 Tips to Keep Your Calendar Simple and Efficient

Landing the dream job or the big promotion you’ve been hoping for does come with a certain amount of responsibilities. Perhaps the most significant price you’ll have to pay, under such circumstances, is time.

We’re not only talking about how early you’ll have to rise to get to work or how late you’ll be coming back home, but also about how packed your schedule is going to be between from the time you step into the office to the time you’re ready to shut all systems down.

As a matter of fact, a recent cover story featured in Harvard Business Review highlighted that the time spent by managers and employees in collective activities has increased by 50% in the past two decades.

However, 80% of the time is spent in meetings, responding to emails, and answering the phone. That goes to show that more than half of your average day at work is about responding to other people’s solicitations and only a small percentage is related to your own time for deep work.

So, if your calendar has recently ended up looking like a jigsaw puzzle full of appointments and live conferences, here are a few tricks to simplify your schedule and reclaim your time.

Become an early bird

People prefer booking an appointment on specific time slots that make up for standard business hours. Hardly anybody plans a meeting before 9 a.m. since that is the designated start of the workday. You can use that to your advantage. If your calendar is overloaded, and you can’t renounce any of your appointments, you might come into the office early to start working while your brain is fresh.

Learn to set limits

Collaborators – be it your boss, a colleague or a client – might insist on meeting you and talking face to face. That is why saying no to certain requests becomes a prerequisite from time to time. You might need to cancel and postpone a meeting or two, or refuse an appointment altogether, provided it’s not of absolute importance. Consult your calendar in the morning and make all necessary adjustments in due time, so you don’t get to be accused of standing anybody up.

Take breaks

No matter how busy your day looks like, make sure you don’t skip lunch. While getting a free hour time for taking yourself out of the office to eat might seem like an unimaginable luxury when you are on such a tight schedule, don’t minimize the significant effects of a time-out in the middle of the day. It will help you clear your thoughts, refuel your body and restart your brain. Plus, if you really must meet with a client that needs to see you right away, it’s an elegant gesture to propose a lunch discussion, so you gain both points at the same time.

Cut meetings in half

Economize on time spent on meetings by cutting them in half. While Outlook calendars and other such devices measure appointments by default by allowing them a minimum of one hour, you can reset the time slots and designate only 30 minutes for each meeting. That will force you to prioritize subjects and reach to a conclusion earlier. It’s the best training you can give yourself if you’re always short of time.

Learning to prioritize between everyday tasks may not be a piece of cake in the beginning, but it sure is a rewarding dessert at the end of the day.

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