I come into work each day and the first thing I do is read a passage from the most impactful book I ever read: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”, by Dr. Richard Carlson. Why? In addition to doing it as an inspiration boost each day, I do it because my calendar tells me to do it. It’s been on my calendar for over ten years, and it pops up every morning at seven a.m. Naturally after all these years, I barely see it, because it’s so ingrained to do it—but it gets done. I’m not curing the world of its ills with this task, but it shows that building the right habits will lead to stronger time management. More importantly, it’s a great lesson: You don’t have to think about what has to be done next if your calendar can do it for you. My calendar is filled with what many would consider silly reminders—but I also have far less stress because I know what’s coming. Without even thinking, I get gently reminded to
transition work and tasks.
Create your own recurring appointments. Invest time today to study your schedule and start to add basic appointments immediately. You can start with the ones that should be on everyone’s calendar, regardless of position or role in an organization; the tasks that have nothing to do with your actual job responsibilities. First, add a five-minute
appointment at the end of each work day to review and organize tomorrow. Actually schedule this event at the end of the day on the calendar. I promise you that you will sleep better knowing exactly what’s on your plate for the next day. Five invested minutes will save you hours later!
Next, add an appointment to organize the following week each Friday—project out a week at a time and actually schedule this event on your calendar. Do the same thing at the end of each month
based on regular monthly tasks, such as budgeting, for example. It’s important to also be smart about when you do this. When I say end of the month, I’m not talking about the thirtieth. I’m actually thinking sometime around the twenty-sixth, so day one isn’t sprung on you. This allows you to better spread out the tasks over the course of a month versus cramming everything into marathon sessions. Many of us like to procrastinate until the actual need to do something. Therefore, if you have multiple tasks that are due at the end of the month, you may not worry about them until the end of the month. Suddenly, a flood of pressure is on you to beat the impending deadline. Be someone who does not procrastinate until the end of the month—spread your tasks
out during the month. The amount of time to complete these tasks throughout the month is the same time it will take to finish at the end of a month. The only difference is the amount of pressure you feel—and, most likely, the quality of work performed!
By creating recurring appointments, you’re shifting much of the self-created pressures away from you to the calendar, and investing time to save time. You’re now using your calendar as a tool to benefit you.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Down the Chute: A Toboggan Tale (children’s book)
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood