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Managing your calendar - Smarter Everyday


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If you don’t have a well laid-out plan for your week, you need to start using your calendar to schedule your work and life. If you’re already using a calendar but never seem to stick to your plans, this tool will help you to put your calendar to good use.

Published in: Business, Technology

Managing your calendar - Smarter Everyday

  1. 1. MANAGING YOUR CALENDAR A WELL-STRUCTURED CALENDAR IS THE BEATING HEART OF ANY PRODUCTIVE PERSON’S WORKFLOW. IS YOURS HEALTHY? AVOID THE CARDIAC ARREST OF BEING OVERWHELMED AND DESIGN YOUR WEEK IN A WAY THAT ALLOWS YOUR WORK TO FLOW FREELY. WHO THIS TOOL IS FOR If you don’t have a well laid-out plan for your week, you need to start using your calendar to schedule your work and life. If you’re already using a calendar but never seem to stick to your plans, this tool will help you to put your calendar to good use. WHAT YOU WILL GET OUT OF IT A calendar with a schedule you can follow and a clear mind that you can use to focus on your work. By scheduling your activities and tasks, you can make sure your work will get done. When you’re overwhelmed and can’t decide what to do next, your calendar will point you in the right direction. WHAT YOU’LL NEED • 60 minutes free of interruptions • A pen • Access to your calendar and to-do lists • For best results use after Project Focus Tool and Managing Your Email. Tools created by Click here to learn how to work smarter.
  2. 2. THE TOOL BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR CALENDAR If you already have a to-do list and a pretty good idea of what you should be tackling this week, you can skip this section and go straight to the section ‘Filling in your calendar’. (And no, a mental list is not suitable: get it down on paper or on a screen.) Think about your current projects, make a list of them. Now ask yourself: what steps do you need to take to advance them? Write them down as specifc, actionable tasks. Think a little bit more into the future: what projects would you like to tackle over the next two months? Is there anything you should be doing now to start them? List everything you need to do over the next week – don’t forget to include those things taking place in your personal life. If you don’t schedule them in, they might take up headspace as you try to fgure out when you will be able to fnally get them done. (If you’re having difculty fnding your focus, try our Project Focus Tool.) Once you’ve got your list, open your calendar so that you can see the whole week. FILLING IN YOUR CALENDAR 1. SCHEDULE SHORT, ACTIONABLE TASKS Write down tasks so that they don’t feel daunting. When you’re flling in your calendar, make the action required clear, so that you can get on with it straight way. For example, instead of writing down ‘Start Marketing Plan’ break it down into ‘Create outline for plan’, ‘Ask team members for data’, ‘Create 1st draft of budget’ etc. Try not to schedule any single task over more than 90 minutes. If you need to work on something all day, reduce the task to discrete steps and schedule in some breaks. Be aware of the diferent energy levels you have throughout your day, they can make a big diference to the type of work you plan to do. Not all hours are equally productive. TO DO TASKS Z Z Z Z Z
  3. 3. 2. SCHEDULE IN REGULAR MEETINGS AND APPOINTMENTS Include preparation time before meetings and time afterwards to make notes or plan new actions. (Remember to include travel time.) If you’re going to attend an important or difcult meeting, schedule time for refection afterwards, rather than trying to continue with your work while you’re still going over the meeting in your head. 3. SCHEDULE TIME TO CHECK YOUR EMAILS Set certain times of the day to check, process and reply to emails. Don’t let this be an ongoing activity, it will interfere with your work. (If email is taking over your life, check out our ‘Managing Your Email’ tool) 4. ADD BUFFER TIME Don’t underestimate the need to plan for the unexpected. Schedule 30 minutes between tasks and meetings – tasks might take longer than expected, meetings overrun, people will interrupt. (Don’t forget to include rest breaks and lunch during busy periods. They’re important: treat them as such.) 5. SCHEDULE STRATEGIC THINKING AND PLAY TIME You are paid to think, plan and innovate. So make sure you schedule time to work on strategy and treat it just like any other appointment. Be mindful of when and where you do this best, there’s no point in planning thinking time when you are likely to be easily distracted, close to a deadline or lacking energy for example. 6. SCHEDULE TIME TO PLAN YOUR CALENDAR Put 30 minutes aside every week to plan your days. 7. LOOK OVER YOUR PREVIOUS WEEKS Is there anything you didn’t fnish? Any follow-up actions you need to take? How about next week, what’s happening then? Anything you need to do this week in preparation? This could form part of your weekly review. (See our Weekly Review tool.) Which of these steps has turned your world around? Tell us on Twitter @NokiaAtWork #smartereveryday