When it comes to your current calendar system, I’ll ask a favorite Dr. Phil question, “How’s it working for you?” When I deliver training sessions on Time management, I receive questions regarding calendaring so I thought I’d address a few of them here.
Paper vs. Electronic – People often ask me what I think of paper calendars versus electronic ones such as Outlook or Lotus Notes. And I always give the same response: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Meaning, if your current system is working well, without things falling between the cracks, then continue using it. However, if you find yourself consistently missing appointments, it’s time to take a look at how you’re managing things.
Additional Calendars – If you use an electronic calendar such as Outlook or Lotus, you have the option of creating multiple calendars. And while I don’t recommend that you go overboard with this feature, there are times that a 2nd or 3rd calendar can be quite useful. For example, if your department is preparing for a big event such as a product launch, a 2nd calendar would be helpful to include the many details and deadlines related to it.
Color Coding – Using color on your calendar allows you to tell at-a-glance what types of appointments you’ve got coming up. My suggestion is you use color judiciously. Here are the four color categories I use on my calendar:
- Green – personal appointments
- Blue – Phone/coaching meetings
- Pink – Speaking Engagements
- Yellow – Writing assignments such as articles or newsletters
Family Calendars – I recently met several individuals who use Google’s Calendar at home to keep their family organized and on track. They do a one-way synch to their Outlook calendars at the office. This way they never miss a parent/teacher conference and know what night the band concert is on.
Finally, remember that you can drag an email to your calendar or insert an email into a specific appointment. For example, when I receive a travel confirmation for an upcoming trip, I insert the email in my calendar on my travel date. Now I’ve got it right where I need it. In Outlook, open your calendar appointment, click on the Insert Tab, then Outlook Item. You can then scroll through your Inbox and locate the email that needs inserting.