We love calendars here at Emma.ai as they can be the secret to getting the most out of your time. Here are our 5 top ways to use your calendar to get the more out of your working day.
1. Have a Zero-Based Calendar
Having a zero-based calendar means that you schedule everything. Any free time available that is not set aside for something specific could lead to wasted time. It’s an approach promoted by Cathryn Lavery and Allen Brouwer, co-founders of BestSelf Co, where the key principle is to account for every hour that happens during the day with each activity having a clear starting and finishing point. Protect your personal time as well as adding some unstructured time if you need to be creative and spend time working on a particular challenge using this method too.
Here’s an article you may find interesting about not using to-do lists all together and adding everything into your calendar.
2. Use the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, is one way to organising by blocking out time with timed tasks. There are six steps that you can use where you could plan these out and schedule them into your calendar to get your to-do list ticked off.
- Choose a task you’d like to get done.
- Put aside 25 minutes in your calendar to conduct this task and time it when you do it.
- Work on the task within the 25 minute period
- Tick your paper to show that you have completed a Pomodoro timed task
- Take a short break, which could be added into your calendar
- Every four Pomodoro tasks, take a longer break
3. Colour code your calendar
If you’ve assigned tasks and activities to specific projects or clients, it can be useful to colour code these. At Emma.ai, we conducted some user research about how people organise their schedules and this was a key takeaway from talking to personal assistants who managed executive diaries. One of our participants said:
“Diary is all colour coded so at a glance we can see anything that is red is executive meetings, yellow is an internal meeting. blue is where he can catch up on things like e-mails etc, and orange is his annual leave or a lunch break.” - PA
It’s very easy to get a snap-shot of the day ahead, especially for people with a very busy schedule ahead.
4. Use software apps
There are plenty of software apps available that can help you manage your time and get what you need to get done. There are many productivity tools such as Any.do to help you get your to-do list completed and it integrates with your calendar and time tracking software such as RescueTime.
5. Avoid back-to-back appointments
This may seem like a good way to power through and be productive, however back-to-back appointments don’t leave much room if one appointment overruns and then try to get back on track the rest of the day. Emma.ai’s feature lets you add buffer time in-between appointments to stop this from happening.