15 Sep 2014 Manage time effectively. One life, one calendar for results
Manage time effectively. One life, one calendar for results
We would all like to manage time more effectively, but often we don’t do as well as we would like.
For instance, Have you ever been so busy at work that you have completely forgotten about your child’s important after school activity?
Or have you ever taken a phone call from your family member whilst you were at work asking you to pick up something from the shop on the way home. In the busyness of the day, you completely forgot about it until you walked in the door at home……
If you have ever been caught out like this, then read on for a simpler approach to ensuring that you manage your time more effectively in future.
Work Calendar and Home Calendar
How many Calendars or Diaries do you use to plan and manage your time at work and at home?
Many people tend to resist combining their home life with their work life in the same diary or calendar due to the fear of allowing work to creep into their home life and affecting their work-life balance. However, in point of fact, I think it is quite difficult to “compartmentalise” life in this way.
For instance most, if not all, will readily admit to being at work and then then start thinking of things they need to do at home.
And of course, similarly, when we are at home, very few people are able to completely ignore things they need to do at work the next day. Most of us begin mentally preparing for the next day at work in some way.
In fact, I often challenge the groups I work with in my productivity training to consider whether they think of things they need to do at home whilst they are at work. (and vice/versa) And of course, almost all admit to doing so.
One Life – One Calendar
I have a saying I have been using for years. One Life – One Calendar. In other words, put all your appointments into ONE diary or calendar to make it far easier to plan and manage your time more effectively.
Many years ago I realised that having appointments in more than one dairy or calendar was extremely counter-productive for me. It was in fact quite confusing!
I found it too easy to miss important appointments or reminders especially in my personal life if I did not include them in my work calendar. This was the calendar I tended to use most in order to manage time at work. I tended to plan more at work than at home.
So to me it seemed to make sense to start including everything I have to do in my work calendar.
Here is a typical scenario that happened to me many times. I would receive a call from a family member (usually my wife) asking me to pick up something on the way home from work, or perhaps reminding me to be home on time because people were coming around for dinner. At the time she would ring, this did not seem too important. There were many “important” things happening at work and picking up something on the way home or getting home a little earlier was easily lost in the mayhem that was “work”…
However, that “something” took on a completely different level of importance the moment I walked in the door after my hectic work day. I’m sure you know what I mean….. 🙂
So I quickly learned the value of putting ALL my personal appointments and reminders in my work calendar so I knew exactly what I was doing that evening or even sometimes over a weekend.
Personal Appointments in Work Calendar
I found having an increased awareness of what was happening in my personal life whilst at work as well as my work life whilst at home completely empowering.
That increased awareness allowed me to be more organised both at work and at home.
It actually became easier for me to plan and manage time effectively when I knew ALL of my commitments.
Of course, with the advent of Smart Phones and Tablets, this has become so much easier than when I first started doing this many years ago.
For sure, one reason people resist doing this is the concern around privacy. What will people think if they see personal appointments in my work calendar? (Especially when sharing your calendar with others at work)
But it is very easy to mark appointments as private in your work calendar. That way, others will only see you have a private appointment. They won’t see the details of your appointment. This is easy to do in your Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes or Groupwise Calendar.
BYOD – Bring Your Own Device.
These days, many people are able to sync their personal devices with their work calendar. Check to see if your workplace allows you to bring your own device and sync your work calendar to your personal smart device. It’s called BYOD, and many organisations have developed policies that now allow this. You are responsible for the data you download of course, but if you stick to using it to sync your calendar and maybe your tasks, you will not use much data at all. Just don’t enable the download of emails, especially attachments, and you should be OK. (Of course, if you have a smart phone supplied to you from your workplace, then the process is a whole lot easier.)
Naturally, putting your personal details into your work calendar may not suit everyone, but in my experience, many people have found it a useful idea and have taken this suggestion on board in order to simplify the way they plan and manage their time more effectively with great results.
If you try this, let me know whether it works for you or not?
For more tips like this, why not check out our Personal Productivity Training
Geoff Prior – Lingford Consulting, September 2014
Workload & Email Management Training/Coaching. MBTI Consultant