I have followed a 2 part Calendar Review process for many years now. In a recent blog I shared the first part of this process: my Calendar Gut-Checklist. The Calendar Gut-Checklist is a great way to review and reflect on how I spend my time.
Part 2 of the process is Calendar Re-Visioning. Here is the process I follow when I re-vision my calendar:
1. I take the insights gained when I Gut-Checked my calendar, and brainstorm changes I could make to better align my calendar with my Desired Outcomes.
2. The changes I can implement easily I make immediately.
3. I look ahead for 6 weeks and determine the other changes I could implement with some planning. I outline the steps I need to take to implement these changes and begin the process of making these larger changes.
4. I commit to reviewing my progress in 30 days.
Why do I look ahead? Because when my calendar is overloaded it takes a while to bring it back into alignment. When I work with executives who are bringing alignment back into their calendars I set the expectation that, with 6 months of intentional effort, they can be delivered to a life and workflow they love. It takes time and consistent effort, but it can be done. Progress is even faster when I work with the entire team to bring the team into Time Alignment. (Check out my upcoming article for more on the Team Time Alignment Process.)
To help you get started with your Calendar Revisioning process, here are some key questions you can ask as you brainstorm how to revise your own calendar. With these questions you will have better alignment between your Desired Outcomes and your calendar.
Get Analytical: Calendar Brainstorming Questions
o Do you have adequate time to effectively execute your scope of work?
o What changes can you make to spend your time more effectively?
o Do you have time protected in your calendar for focused work each week?
o What are your top 3 priorities right now? Does your calendar reflect this?
o Based on your priorities, what do you need to start doing and stop doing?
o Do you have more commitments than your calendar will allow?
o Which commitments do you need to end in order to effectively execute your top priorities?
**Note: If you are double scheduled you have more commitments than you can handle.
You can never be in two places at once.**
The goal is to do more of the “right” things.
With this goal in mind, here are some Calendar Hacks to get you going.
Get Going: Calendar Hacks
· When are you most focused? Look ahead in your calendar for a 2-3 hour block of focused time each week. This will be the time slot you assign your complex tasks and projects to in the future.
· Make a recurring appointment twice daily for processing email and checking phone messages.
· Make a decision about when you will check and return your text messages.
· At the end of the week look ahead to the coming week and assign your upcoming tasks a time.
Everything gets done at a particular moment in time. I hope these tips and tricks help you develop the habit of regularly refining and redesigning your calendar so that your time is well spent, and your life and work are satisfying.
What step will you take today to ensure your time is well spent?