Sometimes I look at my calendar and quickly close my planner or exit out of the app. Between projects at work, different things for the blog, and oh! my personal life *duh* things tend to get double booked, forgotten or only receive half my attention.
I decided to take this time in quarantine and work on getting myself *more* organized. My calendar, no matter what, has always bothered me. I color code, I write daily (attainable) to-do lists. Yet, there are so many days where I catch myself saying “Well I guess I’ll skip that Zoom for Monat.” “I’ll write that post next Tuesday.”
So quarantine literally gave me time (and a new job helped) to really take a step back and see how I could improve my cluttered calendar and make my schedule feel way more attainable.
In taking this step back, I saw there were things on it that really weren’t adding value or better yet they were taking time away from things that DID added value. Everything in my life had a spot on my calendar… *type A over here*
It has taken me since January – yes I started playing with this idea as a new years resolution. But it’s taken me awhile to publish because I wanted to make it as simple as possible for you to try out.
Importance and Urgency
I used to lump everything together and give it all the same level of importance- until I had a manager show me a better way to manage my time, which ended up playing a role in organizing my calendar.
His idea stemmed from reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change *I totally recommend listening to this on your commute*
This piece is honestly the hardest, it’s a lot of trial and error…. But here is what you need to do:
Quad 1: Important, Urgent
~ Fire Drills @ the office
~ Last minute meetings for financial statements
*lol- this will never not be a thing in my life*
Quad 2: Important, Not Urgent
~ Middle of the month and you know you need to roll the FX Forward Recon
~ Engagement team staffing is due at the end of the month
~ Deadline for a brand partnership
Quad 3: Not Important, Urgent
*This is where I lol’d*
~ Phone calls with clients
~ Catch-up meeting with your boss that you keep putting off
Quad 4: Not Important, Not Urgent
~ Catching up on Billions
~ Applying the Monat Berry Scrub
~ Zoom Happy Hours with friends
Block Time Off Where You’re Not Available
This was great during my time in public accounting. We would be assigned our areas of the audit early on in busy season (for the most part) and as a newbie, it was hard to figure out how much time each work-paper/project should take.
If you’re anything like me *hello anxiety!*, you might initially have a hard time with managing your time. This is when I learned to block time off so I would show up busy if someone tried to schedule something. I did let my team know what I was doing, this way they would be like “hey! You have to attend”. Don’t be afraid to do this – more people do this than you realize, which mean they aren’t offended when you tell them it’s a tool you use.
This helped my calendar from getting cluttered with little meetings and co-workers from messaging me on the internal chat system.
I really love doing this because I’ll put what project I’m going to work on and will block off the amount of time I need to complete it. It also gives me an idea for what I have going on when I check my calendar before leaving the office or when I’m heading in.
Schedule *Coffee* Breaks
Okay so it doesn’t have to be just coffee breaks. But it doesn’t have to be strictly business on your calendar. You should try to schedule time for things that bring you joy *no one wants an employee to burnout*. I have friends who are really good at managing their time and don’t need to add something like this, but yah girl over here needs to. If I have girls night planned or there’s a movie I want to go see, I put a place holder in my calendar for it.
But do NOT schedule every little thing.
Pick three things a week and add time on your calendar for them. They can be 10 minutes, 30 minutes or the entire evening after you get out.
This concept does two things:
1. pick specific things that are important to you
2. Stops you from saying “oh yeah I’ll do that” when you really don’t have the time
Purge Purge Purge
So auditors *I like to tell myself other professionals do this too.. But at my new role, it’s not really a thing* love putting meetings on calendars:
~ catch-up with XYZ team member
~ weekly audit update call
~ 10 minutes to touch-base about meeting yesterday.
And a lot of these are recurring meetings with no end date. Like we all know that some projects don’t last all year *yes i know there are some that do*
This is where the PURGE comes in! It’s honestly my favorite thing to do.
Take a highl-evel look at your calendar and ask yourself:
~ am I still working on this?
~ have I accomplished my initial goals and can I update them?
~ do I or my team really need 20 minutes everyday to touch-base on this?
Asking yourself those questions will allow you to re-evaluate not only your calendar, but also projects or events that are going on (both in and out of the office).
We should constantly be looking for ways to be better- both at work and in our personal lives. One of those ways is to have space in our calendars for things that make will help us be the best versions of ourselves.
Practicing self-care does NOT make you selfish. It makes you the person who knows how to take care of themselves.
I would love to know how you keep your calendar organized, so be sure to share in the comments.