Anyone who wants to be more productive has to have some form of organization. Each person has their own unique style and practice. Too many people have broken systems and are unable to keep themselves on track, on time, or even remember their task. Calendars are an old tool with new purpose. Here are some simple ways to optimize your calendar that will pay dividends in time saved and productivity added.
Optimize Your Calendar
Create Calendar Windows
It's hard to find time to put things down in a calendar. unlike in high school or college, there is no "syllabus day" to take you time putting everything into a planner or figuring it all out. What you can do instead is to block out a window of time (usually an hour or so) each month, quarter, or whatever makes sense for your own environment. Set this time intentionally and use it to look through any notes, meeting announcements, or anything else you have come across. Use your calendar window to organize upcoming events and project, to write down and block out time to work on your assignments and tasks, even to have a moment to rest and clear your brain.
Now Is Better Than Later
Whenever you get a new note or announcement about an upcoming meeting, due date, or presentation (or anything else) be sure to put it into your calendar immediately. These notes can be lost easily if we don't do it in the moment.
If you don't have access to your calendar at the time, write it down on a note or in your handy pocket notebook. Make a habit of ending each day with clearing through these notes and putting them into your calendar.
No matter how organized you are, there seems to always be a random task or two that pops up and has no where to go. One of the most simple ways to keep track of random tasks is by keeping notes on these items right next to your main calendar.
If you are using an electronic calendar (which I would recommend for all things work), you can flag emails and reference that list next to your calendar. You can also set little notes on your calendar to remind you of upcoming requirements and needs.
Some people go a little too far with color coding. We want to be organized and productive, not own a paint shop. Color coding should only be used for things you need to draw special attention to. If you have important meetings or deadlines, color code them or highlight them to draw your attention.
If you have routine meetings, mark them in a color that you notice but can just use as a friendly reminder. Random activities and updates can go in as just a base color. The point to all of this is to only do what you can keep up with. I personally color code most of my calendar, but I have simplified it into meetings, special events, coaching calls, and personal reminders. That keeps my attention where it needs to be without adding too much work or craziness to my schedule.
No matter what you do to organize your calendar, make it a sustainable practice. With that said, give it some time to become a habit. You'll be happy to see your organization improving and your ability to keep on task always moving forward.