Adam Radly Bob Bates: interesting article-
The #1 Secret to Amazing Time and Calendar Management
If you’re like most of us your calendar is probably pretty detailed. I bet some of you have every hour from when you wake-up to going to be accounted for. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, when you have a daily schedule it ensures that you get the most of out if your day. I mean why would bother adding a task or event to your calendar if it wasn’t important?
What is important — and how to prioritize.
Unfortunately, it’s not always crystal clear on what’s important. As a result, we end-up wasting time on non-priorities. For example, if you work from home, those dishes in the sink may be irking you. But, do they have to be this minute when you have a tight deadline for the project you’ve been working on?
That may seem minimal. But, what if you constantly put non-priorities over what’s really important? You’re definitely not going to be successful in reaching your goals because you’re not effective at time and calendar management.
That’s why the most successful and productive people know that the secret to amazing time and calendar management is prioritization. In the words of Stephen Covey, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
It’s important to set priorities. As an adult, you’re going to be juggling various responsibilities. This could be picking the kids-up from school, meeting a deadline, having lunch with a client, and somewhere in-between attending to your own self-care in the course of one day.
Prioritize tasks for success.
If you don’t prioritize these tasks, you’re going to become disorganized, stressed, and fail to meet your obligations. How ticked-off would your client be if you ran late for the lunch meeting because you were still in your office working? Of, what if you were late picking-up your children from school? Your partner may never, which is deserved, never forgive you for that one!
A slip up here and there is bound to happen. If you got a flat tire on the way to a meeting, that’s an unexpected event that you didn’t plan for. But, if you aren’t organizing your time and calendar by priorities, your life will keep getting more and more chaotic. Because you missed a deadline, you have to work late and skip the gym or family time. Eventually, you always feel like you’re swamped, but have nothing to show for it.
When you do focus on your priorities, you’re better suited to manage your time. You’re organized, well-prepared, and never feel like you’re falling behind. And, most importantly, you’ll always have the time to focus on what matters most in your life.
Prioritization is all well and good. But, how can you determine what your priorities are? Here’s how to prioritize for better time and calendar management.
For starters, your priorities should kept simple and clear by determining the following:
- The things that are most important to you, aka your values.
- The goals that you’ve achieved — these should align with you values.
- What responsibilities that you have. If you work a traditional job, then from Monday through Friday during business hours, your responsibility is work.
- Knowing how activities impact your life. Playing a video game on your phone during a break at work may sound fun. But, how does this make you a better employee or individual?
- Knowing how to separate the urgent from the important. Just because something is urgent doesn’t mean it’s important. For instance, when you receive a new email, you don’t need to open and respond to it the second you receive it.
After you’ve taken the above into consideration, here’s some additional tips on how you can prioritize for better time and calendar management.
Create and order a task list.
“Having a big list of tasks isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it can make you feel stressed about your day,” writes Kayla Sloan in a previous Calendar article. “Rather than spending time worrying you can prioritize your list for better time management instead.”
Kayla suggests that you start with a task list. It should be kept it in a document that’s easily accessible by either phone or computer. “This way you can add to it either from work or home at any time.”
Next, you’ll need to order your list.
“Assign numbers to each item listed starting with the most pressing duties first,” recommends Kayla. “Conversely, the bottom of your list should include items that are less pressing or could be done another day.”
Choose the right things to work on.
Still struggling with separating the urgent and important? Use the simple 2×2 matrix named after US president Dwight Eisenhower to help you determine your priorities.
The Eisenhower matrix can help you distin
guish how and why you should distinguish between the two by creating four boxes. The horizontal axis represents “urgency,” while the vertical axis represents “importance.” In each quadrant you categorize each of your tasks by; important but not urgent, important and urgent, not important or urgent, and urgent but not important.
When you’re done, you’ll notice that you’ve been spending time on the wrong activities. As a result, you know now what you need to do right now, which tasks can wait, and which responsibilities you can delegate.
Block out chunks of time for “Deep Work.”
As explained in the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Cal Newport explains that this is the ability to focus on cognitively demanding tasks, without being distracted. Newport adds, “To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.”
In the book, Newport explains how Wharton professor Adam Grant is so productive. Grant teaches during the fall semester, but conducts research in the spring. On a daily basis, he alternate between being completely isolated and having an open door policy with his students.