If you want to increase your productivity, own your schedule. Planning and following a routine makes all the difference. If you don’t schedule your time well, your mind will be scattered all over. A schedule keeps you focused, productive, and organized. The surest way to do that is by having a calendar that has all your important dates, tasks, and events.
Not so complicated, is it? You can create your personal master calendar using the tips below. Learn more here if you want to get started. You can also see a sample of a master calendar template.
1- Note Down Your Recurring Activities and Dates
The first step in creating a master calendar is having all your recurring activities and tasks written down. Remember, this is your focus and prioritize business-related activities and dates. The activities can include client consultations, team meetings, marketing, product development, replying to emails and phone calls, networking, and general administration.
For a calendar of your personal time, you can have things like meals, family time, reading, and exercise. After listing the activities and dates, start the process of inputting them into the calendar to create your schedule. For instance, if you have team meetings at 3 pm every Tuesday, put it under recurring activity.
2- Establish Clear Boundaries
After writing down recurring activities and dates, you need to set a specific time block. This can be straightforward depending on the time-lapse. For instance, if the team meeting only lasts 30 minutes you can block out 3 pm to 3.30 pm every Tuesday on your calendar.
You can block out those times when you are most productive, for undisturbed work. The schedule guarantees you that everything gets done and allows you to create a structured calendar. For example, don’t schedule meetings at your peak productive time. Instead, schedule them during your less productive time. The aim is to keep your work hours contained and ensure you don’t spend too much time at work. You can schedule soft tasks towards the last hour of your working time to ensure you finish on time.
3- Make Your Deadlines and Important Dates Stand-Out
For instance, if you have a client consultation meeting on Wednesday at 1 pm. Ensure the date stands out from the rest of the activities. You can use a different color, all caps, or boldface.
Color code various appointments and tasks to make it easy to differentiate. For example, internal team meetings can be blue, client consultation meetings can be orange, etc. Highlight events to ensure you don’t waste time.
4- Include Your Time Buffers on the Schedule
Don’t set back-to-back meetings as it sets you up to fail. Have time to recharge, the time between meetings and travel, meals, preparation, or unwinding. Half an hour should be sufficient for buffer time. However, if you are traveling, you may need an hour. During this buffer time, don’t have anything else on your schedule. Ensure time flows flawlessly until the next activity.
5- Be Flexible
Flexibility is vital if you work with a team. Expect your plans to be altered sometimes like one of the team members has an appointment with a doctor a few minutes before your team meeting on Tuesday. Basically, they can’t make the meeting and you can push it to 3.30 pm instead of the original 3 pm time. This ensures your meeting is not canceled and allows everyone to attend.
6- Use a Combination of Tools
There is never a single approach to use when creating a master calendar. You can use different tools to create your own. You can rely on an easily shared calendar. You can also use project management tools. Get one that works for you.
7- Capture Information
What happens when you have a new idea, event, or task? Simply capture it immediately and write it down then add it to the calendar. Adding it ensures you don’t forget and frees your brain from not having to retain it in your memory.
8- Designate Someone to Keep Your Calendar
Unless you run the business solely, you can have one person managing your calendar. The person is responsible for updating it, resolving schedule conflicts, and ensuring the information inputted is correct. Having more people managing your calendar creates a mess. For instance, if they want to add a new event, they have to go through several people which creates a mess. One person managing the calendar ensures that the event is added to the open slot and you are not double booked.
9- Share the Calendar with Your Team
Unless you run a one-person business, you should share the calendar to improve communication, productivity, and efficiency within the organization. Besides, it keeps all team members on the same page. Sharing the calendar balances out your assignments and saves time.
Moreover, it makes the process inclusive and collaborative. Scheduling events and appointments become easier as team members select the most convenient dates and time.
10- Keep Your Master Calendar in a Central Location
Nowadays there is a cloud, which means you can store your calendar online for easy access. Give your team members access to the calendar. If you prefer old school, you can print out a copy and pin it at a central location like on the bulletin board.
Proper scheduling of your time, events, and dates boosts your productivity as it accounts for every working time. Use time blocking if you want specific hours to do specific tasks. Leave buffer time to ensure your schedule is not too packed and flawless. Flexibility is vital as it accounts for emergencies and unexpected events. Start creating your ideal calendar schedule to boost your productivity.