What do you, Beyonce, Bill Gates, the Dalai Lama and Tom Brady all have in common?
Bank accounts? Swagger? Elite athletic abilities? The spiritual leadership of Tibet? So close.
Answer: You all – we all – have 24 hours in each day.
What distinguishes us, however, is how we spend those 24 hours – and that’s all that distinguishes us, OK? No need to get in the weeds here.
So most of us mere mortals spend the majority of our day taking care of our own tasks and responsibilities – think: calendar management, emails et al, for better or worse, because if we didn’t, who would?
But when you do the math – don’t panic; it’s easy math and it’s already been done for us – the numbers are staggering.
According to an Adobe survey, ‘ … respondents reported spending an average of 209 minutes checking their work email and 143 minutes checking their personal email.’
In layman’s terms? The average person spends about five hours and 52 minutes every day on email.
And if you’re an executive, that may only be a drop in the bucket.
So what can you do to prioritize and guard your time, set boundaries and be more productive at work?
We’re so glad you asked – because here, BELAY Executive Assistant superstar Lauren talks about how she protects her leader's calendar and helps her prioritize her day with three calendar management tips.
1. The Ideal Work Week
Lauren recommends using the Ideal Work Week template – get it here for free (just make yourself a copy to start using it) – to help you with calendar-blocking. To effectively do this, you must first determine if you …
- … prefer tasks in the morning or afternoon.
- … prefer meetings in the morning or afternoon.
- … if you’re a morning person or an afternoon person.
And BONUS time-prioritizing points if you can have someone else take a meeting in your place to allow you to achieve better work-life balance.
Color-block your Ideal Work Week – and then mirror that color-coding on your calendar, too.
Be sure to include all events – including family events, personal appointments, and extracurricular activities – so that you can better prioritize your time and establish boundaries for better balance.
So if, for example, you have a busy family week coming, be a little more protective of your time by minimizing scheduled meetings that week so as not to bombard yourself.
As Lauren explains, ‘Set yourself up for success – not stress.’
3. Email Management
Granted, email management isn’t exactly calendar management – or at least not on the surface. But when you recall the mind-bending fact that we’re likely to spend nearly six hours on email every day, it stands to reason that email management is calendar management.
Lauren recommends color-coding email – she uses colored stars in Gmail – to prioritize and deprioritize emails and associated tasks as follows:
★ Red stars: Respond soon
★ Yellow star: Lay eyes on it that day
★ Green star: Delegate if possible
★ Purple star: For easy future reference
Let 2020 be the year you finally prioritize your time – both personally and professionally – by learning how to manage your calendar effectively with these calendar management tips.
And for even more help, check out this free – there’s that incredible word again – productivity guide, packed to the gills with helpful tips and ideas to help you take back control of your calendar – and life today!