We all have 24 hours in a day. Optimizing it is the only way we can improve our productivity. Many times we brush off our failure citing reason – lack of time.
This isn’t true. Our priorities are different. If we can analyze and change the things we give importance to then we will have time for other things.
For example, you maybe watching television shows for 1 hour daily. Stop doing that and instead use that time to work on your passion – say learning a guitar. So slowly you have learnt the guitar just by putting your priorities in place.
Watching television isn’t bad. You need to recognize what is best for you and then move on. If you are stuck – unable to do something because you are busy all day then you need to stop doing something to make up some time.
Once you have made up your mind that you need to do get work done in a designated time then you need to move on to make sure it actually happens. Often times we think about doing “X” and then don’t do it. Instead we do something unproductive.
It happens with the best of us. You get distracted by a new cat video or a distant relative comes by or sometimes you party for too long and then don’t wake up the next day.
Significance Of Calendar
Using calendar is the simplest thing to make up time for the work that matters to you. There are 2 things that determine how much serious are you about something.
For example, if you say – you want to lose weight then you need to spend money on things which will help you achieve that goal. It can be fruits, healthy mix of vegetables or exercise equipment. Second thing which matter is – are you making up time for that goal.
And the most successful way to measure that is – do you have time blocked on your calendar. If yes then you are half way through and probably will do it. If you don’t then chances are you will miss it. Not because you don’t want to, the reason is we are wired to forget about the time which we have mentally remembered.
Especially when it is something which we resists like eating healthy food. The only way to overcome that temptation is to use calendar. You don’t have to go crazy and block every minute of it.
You can start small and then when you find yourself successful in small tasks – move on to bigger tasks and bigger rewards.
We live in a digital world where we own a laptop, smart phone and some sort of email service provider like Gmail. Use calendar service from Gmail.
It will sync with your smart phone and laptop and thus you can easily check whats in it for you. The physical calendar is good. However you need to carry it with all the time or hire an assistant to do that for you. Either way that is not worth it.
Having a digital calendar gives you the flexibility to add, modify or delete any event without any scribbling. The accessibility of digital version is the number 1 reason you should rely on a calendar from google or something online.
I personally use the Evernote for writing down ideas as they come in. Later on I polish them – link them to an activity and then block my time in Calendar.
You can use any note taking app for your ideas. Just make sure you work on the idea and ultimately put it on your Calendar. Like the good old saying goes, “If it’s not on your calendar then it doesn’t exists.”
If you aren’t a calendar user then you won’t magically become a pro user immediately. Like all habits it has to start small.
The best time to schedule tasks in your calendar is the day before. Sometimes weeks before or as and when new tasks comes you way.
To start with – go ahead and block tomorrows time 2000 hours to 2100 hours to take a walk. Just that. Now go to sleep and tomorrow when it is 2000 hours, your calendar will show a pop up depending upon your smart phone. Whatever you are doing at that moment, stop that and go for a walk.
Come back after 1 hour. Do this for at least a 7 days. Now you have built a habit of going to a walk everyday at 2000 hours.
Now if someone comes and asks you whether you are free tonight – you will check your calendar and say – “I am free after 2100 hours”.
You don’t have to put on complicated things. Start with something like – watering the plants. Add a note in calendar to water plants at 0600 hours. Once you wake up – do it.
The idea is to build a habit. The psychology of adding a task in a calendar and actually doing it.
Get It Done
Let’s say you want to write a book of about 100 pages. How do you start writing it? You need a dedicated time everyday to reach your goals.
Go ahead and mark your calendar for say – 1800 hours to write 1/2 a page. Now everyday write that half page when your calendar pops up the reminder.
Don’t make any appointments or deviate yourself from anything else.
The use of calendar is to sort your timings and put labels for every time you have. When that time arrives – it is you who has to give the final push. Calendar isn’t a magical thing in itself.
It helps to burst the myth that you don’t have time – you have the time just remember you need to put some things to off. Cut down the time you chat with friends or watch television or something similar. Add that time to your thing which needs to be done.
And then do it. It might feel like resistance at first but do it. Once you do it for few days you will feel the groove and things will flow naturally. The end goal is to have your week planned in advanced so you know exactly how you are using the time.
The key to successful Calendar use is to stick to it. No matter what comes your way don’t modify it on that day. You can change it a day before, a week before. Try to avoid it modifying on that day.
When you wake up, check your calendar and prepare yourself to accomplish those goals for the day.
If you let yourself do the changes often then this habit will yield okay results. On the other hand, go by the events which you have blocked on calendar and just do it. You will be surprised how much is it possible to accomplish within 24 hours.
There are few exceptions though. If something urgent comes up in real sense then it is okay to modify your calendar. For example, someone you know gets hospitalized. You need to understand the gravity of situation and accordingly make the decisions.
Barring few occasions, you won’t find situations where you need to modify anything in your to-do-list. Be strict upon yourself. Control your temptation to watch cat videos.
Why It Works?
We know that we need to use our time effectively and make most out of it. However our basic instinct is to entertain ourselves. In this age where smartphones, smart television and computers are easily accessible, we get distracted often.
Sometimes out friends send us something funny or we log into our social media accounts and get lost in it. Hours pass by and then we are back to square one.
Having your task to do on calendar ensures you know consciously that you have given some time to it. Plus as the time approaches you tend to shut down other work you are doing to accomplish your desired goal.
Do you have any tips to use Calendar more effectively?