Do you find yourself missing appointments? Have you ever ended up being double or triple booked? Does your plan for the workday get away from you? Let us help you organize your calendar.
Staying organized is crucial to your productivity and mental health. There are lots of great reasons to use a calendar in your day to day work. 1 2 Keeping everything that you have planned for the day in one spot, takes the pressure off of your brain, as you can easily access just the information that you require at any given time. 3
Probably everyone uses a calendar to some extent. But let’s consider some ways to make your online calendar work more effectively for you with calendar optimization. Here is how you can organize your calendar
Many online calendars have interfaces to other applications. This is especially true in a corporate environment. Your calendar may interface with your phone system, allowing you to schedule and initiate calls directly from your calendar. One common example of this is Outlook and Skype, which are commonly used in workplaces.
Booking of rooms and other shared resources can often be booked directly from your calendar. If this feature is not available in your office, perhaps you could ask your IT group if they could make that available to you.
You can also make use of the interactivity that is available with most software these days. Your computer, phone, and tablet can all be linked to the same data, so that you have the same information available at your fingertips, regardless of which device you are using.
Use the status within your calendar client to set yourself to Available or Busy. You may need to train other folks in your workplace, but once everyone pays attention to this feature, you are much less likely to be double-booked, or booked for a meeting when you had planned to be out of the office.
This requires that everyone is vigilant in their use of the status. You will need to include time out of the office (vacation, holidays, etc.) in your calendar, to ensure that the time is booked as Busy or Out of the Office.
We all have tasks throughout the day where we simply need a reminder, but they don’t take up a lot of time. Perhaps you need to make a quick call. Or you need to remind yourself to do a task at a specific day/time each week. You can set these up as calendar entries with zero time duration. That is, they have the same start and end time. All you need is a description of the reminder and ensure that the reminder notification is set on. Then you will get a pop-up notification when the time arrives.
I find that using recurrence on these reminders are a great way to set up recurring tasks. For example, that monthly report that you need to prepare on the first of each month. I usually set up a recurring year-end reminder, that contains the details of all the year-end functions that I need to perform. This is helpful, as it is often difficult to remember everything you did last year.
If your meetings or appointments are in locations away from your main office, then you will want to build travel time into your calendar. A 15-minute reminder of a meeting, that is at a location 20 minutes away, is not that helpful. However, if you build in the 20 minutes travel time, then you will get a notification before you actually have to leave. And it ensures that no one will book back to back meetings, that leaves you with no time to get from one to the other.
These can be built right into the appointment entry, by simply starting the meeting earlier and ending it later. Or you can add additional calendar entries before and after the meeting, just for travel time.
This method can also be used for preparation time. If you are running the meeting, you may want to have 10 minutes before the meeting to be sure all the technology in the meeting room is up and running. (Nothing worse than getting to a meeting and finding out that the projector is not working!)
You may want to consider building a macro that will automatically add these buffer entries on your calendar under certain conditions.
You have the ability to give other people access to your calendar. You can specify how much authority they get, from Reading through to Full Editor. This can be very helpful in certain cases.
If you have an assistant or a second in command, consider giving them some level of editing to your calendar. This allows them to create and change meetings on your calendar. And no need to worry about privacy; if you have personal items on your calendar, you can mark them as Personal, and your delegate will not be able to see the details.
Even giving someone Read access to your calendar may be useful for some people, in that they can see what type of meetings you have booked if they are trying to build additional appointments around them.
We all work globally these days, so many of us are dealing with people in other time zones. If you have some folks who you meet with regularly (via phone or video chat), consider adding their time zone to your calendar. This makes it quick and easy to be sure you are booking meetings that fall within both of your workdays.
Outlook offers a feature called Summary Cards that work based on inbound emails from certain types of vendors, including Air Lines, Hotels, Rental Car Agencies, Shipping Companies, and Financial Institutions. This allows you to create reminders on your calendar, based on information in the emails that you receive, with a single click or automatically.
Be sure to check out KWTs Outlook courses for more details about how you can introduce some of these features into your workday.
1 Calendar Beta. ” The Important Role Calendars Play in Our Daily Work.” 8 December, 2017. <https://www.calendar.com/blog/calendars-daily-work/>
2 Rocha, Andrew. ” Benefits of Using a Calendar Every Day.” 19 November, 2017. <https://successfulstepsblog.com/2017/11/19/5-benefits-of-using-a-calendar-every-day/>
3 Psychology Today. ” Organize for Better Thinking and Memory.” 16 April, 2016. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/memory-medic/201604/organize-better-thinking-and-memory>