The calendar plays an important role in the productivity toolbox. It's primary purpose is to block out time for defined, reoccurring tasks that have clear start and end times. Taking it beyond just adding events randomly and actually breaking out all your allocated time is where the value of the calendar lies.
Categories of Life and Calendars
Putting all your events into one category in your calendar can cause a lot of confusion as you start to use it more. I would recommend creating separate calendar categories for each of the categories of life as discussed in this post The Categories of Life. If only one thing comes from implementing this, it will be how easy it is to see where you are focusing your time.
From the snapshot above you can see that I spend most of the time during the week at work (Blue), however, I am able to fit in fitness (Green) in the mornings. The empty blocks of white space are typically the time I don't have allocated for anything in particular and I will usually reference my to-do list for tasks to fill the time.
Why add sleep
Adding sleep to your calendar can help to set those start and end times of your day. This becomes especially useful when paired with strict deadline events such as work. Being able to clearly see the amount of time you have between waking up and leaving for work can really help in planning out the morning. Also if you find you need more time in the morning, moving your wake-up time earlier automatically moves forward your bedtime.
Sharing your calendars
You might be tempted to add your personal calendar events to your work account, however, this can become problematic if you decide to change companies. A better alternative is to share your work calendars with your personal ones. This becomes a great way to stay on top of work meetings that require you to come to work early or stay late.
Understanding what events you need to schedule in daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly and then creating these as reoccurring events can save time. When combined with “edit future events only” you can track how these events shift as there are changes in your own life. A personal example of this would be when I changed jobs and my new working hours shifted. The number of hours I was working could be clearly seen in the calendar and I could see I would need to rearrange some of the events to fit around these new hours.
Following the guidelines above you should be able to start to see how useful a calendar can be. In future posts, I plan to explain how the calendar and other tools work together to help you increase productivity.