Do you ever have those mornings when you wake-up and dread looking at your calendar? It’s not because you’re being lazy. It’s because you know it’s jam-packed and bursting at the seams, which is never good for your productivity. Clearing the clutter from your calendar can seem impossible at times.
If you’re tired of those mornings, here’s how you can clear that clutter from your calendar.
Declutter your entire day.
“Each day (preferably the night before), look at your calendar and plan which three items are top priority. If possible, set your calendar to email you a daily agenda. Put reminders before each task,” suggests Maggie Beiswanger, a business coach and mentor.
“In the morning, choose the first task to get done — doing the highest priority item first is often a good strategy. Think about it this way: why, if it’s such a high priority, would you continue to let other things ‘bump’ it to the back burner? It doesn’t make sense.”
“So commit to yourself and your business success by doing your high priority (and often the most difficult) tasks first. Also remember that revenue generating activities should always receive high priority.”
After that, start working on your first task. “Set a time limit to get it done and set your timer. If the task will take longer than an hour, take a five minute break each hour to walk around, stretch and drink a glass of water,” says Beiswanger.
“You’ll be amazed at how quickly you get things done when you have a deadline!”
If you’re still struggling to complete a task, put your phone on silent or airplane mode. You’ll want to close any programs that you’re not using, such as your social media channels. And, stop multitasking. Just focus on one task at a time.
Question all recurring events and commitments.
“Just because you’ve always done something or you’ve been a part of it for x amount of time doesn’t mean it’s right for you in this season,” says Allie Casazza, a mom who helps other moms find clarity.
In other words, certain recurring events and commitments may no longer fit into your busy schedule. For instance Allie started a MeetUp group when her family moved from California to the Ozark Mountains to meet new friends. However, once her freelance business took off, the group became a burden.
Allie eventually handed the role of “leader” to another member. For me, when my business with Due started to take-off, I had to realize that I couldn’t still keep up with the group.
Allie’s final words of advice, “Look at your calendar and ask yourself what isn’t working for me anymore?”
Clearing the clutter requires you to stop filling up your calendar with minute activities.
“While it’s a good idea to keep track of your activities during the day, you don’t have to write out every single activity into your calendar,” writes Rashelle Isip, aka The Order Expert.
“This advice may come as a surprise, but there’s a few good reasons for this. The first is that writing down every single activity during your day makes your calendar look more cluttered than it actually is.”
“Secondly, having every single minute of your day planned out might make you feel a bit overstressed or pressured to get things done.”
“And thirdly, since you probably have a few daily activities that are like second nature to you, that’s there’s no real reason to spend your time writing everything down.”
For example, “if you always walk the dog first thing the morning, take your coffee break at 10:15 AM or go for a run in the park at 4:30 PM, all without fail, there’s no reason to include these minute details into your calendar.”
Share your calendar.
Whether if it’s sharing your calendar with your family or employees, this is one of the most overlooked ways in clearing your calendar. The reason? It keeps everyone on the same page so that you’re not duplicating tasks or booking too many events since everyone has access to your availability.
Keep a separate calendar for business.
It’s not uncommon for most people to have two calendars. One is used strictly for personal stuff and the other is devoted to my business. It may not seem like it, but it’s actually an effective way to make your calendars never appear like they’re cluttered with back-to-activities.
Say “yes” to less.
As Leo Babauta, founder of the blog Zen Habits, perfectly explains;
“Saying Yes to everything means you really have time for nothing. You can’t possibly say Yes to everything, because where will you fit it all? Want to go to every meeting, every event, every coffee? Want to do every project that comes along? Your days will be crazy, and you’ll have no rest, and what’s more, you’ll likely not meet all your obligations.”
“Saying ‘yes’ to everything means you’re not really saying ‘yes,’ it means you’re not setting priorities. You’re not making a serious commitment. You’re not being conscious about your life.”
In the immortal words of Derek Sivers, If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say “no.”
If you’re stuck, ask the following three questions:
- Is this activity essential to live the life I want?
- Is THIS the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?
- Does this get me closer to my goal/priority?
If you’re answering “no” to those questions, then just say “no.” It will be tough at first, but just be honest, polite, and sincere. If so, the other person will understand.
Use a scheduling assistant.
There is no shortage of scheduling assistants that eliminate those back-and-forth communications when scheduling a meeting or event. They can also keep your calendar from getting disorganized.
For example, Calendar lets you share your availability with other via an email or embeddable link. When others see your schedule, they can pick a time that works best for them. This way you’re not overstuffing your calendar.
Calendar also allows you to buffer times between meetings and prevent any last-minute meetings so your calendar is never cluttered.
How do you keep your calendar from getting cluttered?