Saturday, September 27, 2014

How to Be Organized - Use a Calendar!

I confess - I've missed a deadline or two.  Forgotten an appointment.  Paid a late fee.  You too?  If so, your calendar – or lack of it – is likely to blame.

I always resisted using a calendar, thinking it would be too difficult to manage, wouldn't be available when and where I needed it, or that it would make me inflexible. The truth is, setting up a calendar and using it can be almost completely automated, and when you take the time to schedule your work, you’ll actually find more freedom in your day, not less.

How many emails does it take to schedule an interview or coaching session?  I found the average to be three or four.  One to propose a time, another to say why that won’t work and to suggest others, sometimes a third with still more time options, and a final confirming email.
What a waste!

Instead, by using a shared calendar or appointment system such as TimeTrade, you can schedule meetings and appointments in one click.  Your client will see exactly what times are available, and be able to pick the one that works for her schedule as well.

You can achieve a similar system within your family by sharing a Google calendar.  Need to schedule a dentist appointment?   One quick check of the calendar lets you know your grandson has a soccer game that day – better choose a different day for that cleaning.
David Allen of Getting Things Done recommends using your calendar only for those things that must be done on a specific day.  Your calendar is not your to-do list, it’s a schedule of appointments. By only scheduling that which must be completed, such as doctor appointments and travel, you leave the rest of your days open for a more fluid lifestyle, while still completing tasks on time.

Day-to-day appointments and managing deadlines is great, but I also use my calendar for long-term planning.  Product launches, marketing schedules, blog posts and more are all written on my calendar.  That allows me to easily see what’s coming up,  I can even match my own products and promotions with those of others, for even greater reach.
Your marketing calendar can include everything from keywords to target for PPC campaigns to blog post ideas to products you’d like to create.  Your calendar doesn’t have to be carved in stone, though.  Be sure you leave room for on-the-fly promotions and last-minute opportunities as well.

If you still find yourself resisting using a calendar, outsource it!  My VA handles my calendar much more efficiently than I do!   She isn't distracted by other things going on in my life.  Not only that, but with someone else managing my calendar, I have more time for actually getting stuff done!


Brian McDaniel said...

I love Google calendar and use it often. Great advice... and yes... I put if off for a long time too!

Debra Jason said...

I have to admit, I still use paper & pen. Have had my datebook for years and it still works for me.