Three Mistakes We Make with Our Calendar

Do you find yourself doing these?

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“I live by my calendar.”

A friend whose life is full with her own business, a husband who travels a lot, music and grandchildren uses her calendar to keep herself from going crazy. I bet a lot of you do, too, or you wouldn’t be reading a post about calendar management.

But even the most efficient among us can make mistakes with our calendar. Here are three to avoid:

We don’t look at it at the right times.

There are three important times to look at our calendar:

  • In the evening as we wind up our day
  • In the morning as the day starts
  • Any time someone asks us to make a commitment

Even if we have made the first two a habit, we can be lacking on the third. Have you ever agreed to an invitation (i.e. I’m pretty sure that will work”) without taking your physical calendar out to check? Then later, you realize you shouldn’t have said yes. It’s better to always say, “Let me check my calendar” and be sure you really can add that event or outing.

We neglect to plan for down time.

White space in a calendar is very important. But a blank space doesn’t necessarily mean “I’m free to fill this.”  For example…maybe you have a wide-open Saturday morning and afternoon, but you have dinner plans. Just because the early part of the day looks “free,” do you want to fill it up if you are also going to be out all evening? A wise calendar planner allows for down time without apology.

We don’t mark out the non-negotiables ahead of time.

If something is important to you, such as exercise time, or a monthly friends night out, or quarterly getaways, get it marked ahead of time on your calendar.* Some of the best calendar planners are always thinking six to 18 months ahead to block off trips, special celebrations, etc. Then, as other opportunities come to you, you can fill them in around these very important commitments.

How about you? What mistakes have you made with YOUR calendar? Let me know!



*A caveat…it is great to lock in your priorities, but not to the point of being too rigid.  Here’s an example, based on a true story.

Let’s say you have a colleague that you would really like to get together with regularly (i.e. a monthly lunch) and they seem eager to do so as well. But every time you invite them, they always have a personal excuse not to make it happen (i.e. “Sorry, I always workout at lunch time.”) I know someone who basically gave up trying to connect with another person because although they showed interest, they never were willing to flex on a personal activity to accommodate an occasional time together.  Don’t let your non-negotiables be so rigid that you miss out on other rich experiences.

My thanks to Greenville Office Supply for supporting this theme month on calendars.

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Beth Beutler is the Executive Director of H.O.P.E. Unlimited, a small business offering collaborative virtual assistance and business soft skill education to Help Overwhelmed Professionals Excel. She has over 25 years experience in administrative assistance and office management, soft skills training, and writing.