The calendar the 1st fundamental of a great organization system. In our last blog we mentioned that every great organization system had 6 fundamentals. This week we explore the 1st of those fundamentals.
What is a calendar really? Well if you utilize the tool the way it was intended, it is like Google Earth for your life. What do I mean by that? Have you ever typed in a location and then Google Earth took you from the 10,000-foot level view right down to the city level? It is kinda cool. A calendar should be that way as well. You start at the Year Day level and then click on a day and you go down to see the hour level. If you do that on your calendar what do you see? Do you have big blank spaces on your calendar? Do you have things double and triple booked? Or do you have several calendars including hard copy ones you have to consult in order to even see where you are booked?
Let’s dig in as to how to effectively utilize your calendar. Our time is the most precious non-replenishable resource we have in our lives so we should be zealous for where we spend our time,and we should especially be organized with it. Otherwise you are taking your most precious resource in this life and throwing it away. So, the first tip on calendar is to have one calendar for everything: work, personal life, fun, family, etc. all on one calendar. There are many tools you can utilize to accomplish this: Outlook, Google calendar, day planner, etc. The electronic tools are superior because it is easier to have one view with multiple calendars overlaid including your entire family’s calendar if you teach them these principles which by the way is a great idea.
2nd tip when booking meetings be discerning about whether the meeting is a priority for you to attend. This requires several other tools we teach like cause and purpose, your role description, and understanding your Big Rocks. You might ask what is a “Big Rock” well Stephen Covey illustrated it years ago in his seminars where he would bring a person up front where there would be two buckets one full of big rocks and the other full of sand. He would then ask them to figure out how to get them all into one bucket. It was usually somewhat comical because the person would try to push the big rocks in the sand but the way it works is you get the Big Rocks in 1st and then you can pour in the sand. It is a great demonstration that you can fit a whole lot more in your life if you identify and then choose to get the Big Rocks done first. What your Big Rocks should be is another lesson for another day but suffice to say if you identified them in your life it is not a slam dunk that they will happen. Hence why having an organization system to aid you is critical. So, once you have identified your Big Rocks be sure to use them as a litmus test for what goes on your calendar.
3rd tip is to learn to block time on your calendar to work on projects, check email, and work on those Big Rocks. These are like appointments with yourself because if they don’t go on your calendar then when will they get done?
Last tip is a weekly review. Once a week I review my calendar usually with my Executive Assistant, but you don’t need one to perform this ritual. Figure out your sweet spot based on your position. For me it is 6 weeks out and I am looking for things that might be conflicts, travel logistical issues, am I putting things on my calendar that are truly big rocks. Lastly, I am asking what my big rocks are going to be for the next week? This ensures that my calendar is kept clean. It is like when you are driving, and you are looking ahead anticipating issues and obstacles that can be avoided.
Next blog we will explore the 2nd fundamental of every great organization system, the task list.
Chris Comeaux, President / CEO of Teleios Collaborative Network
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