Declutter you calendar. Now.

Is your calendar a mess? Is it a mix of events, appointments, notes to self, to dos, reminders, deadlines and follow-ups?

You might have fallen victom to an idea.

An idea that sounds reasonable on first sight: Using one tool for all your productivity and organizational needs.

One system does not mean one tool.

While building up one trusted system for all your productivity needs is a poven practice, using on single software tool for all your tasks and appointments is not neccessarily the right way to go. Having one system, is not the same as cramping everything into one single tool. In this case: Your calendar.

The negative effects of putting everything in your calendar are numerous:

  • Reminders are scattered in and are easily overlooked.
  • You must remember to move unfished tasks manually to the next day.
  • Scheduling meetings takes more time as it is more difficult to figure out when you are free.
  • You do not see on a first glance how busy your schedule is and if you still have free time.
  • Colleagues are encouraged to book into your time blockers as they have a hard time to find other times for meetings.
  • You yourself will take your own important time blockers less serious as there are just too many.

A calendar is for time-based appointments

That is why your calendar should be exclusively used for time based appointments. This includes appointments with yourself that can not be moved. That means: Calendar Blocking is ok. It is a practice well suited to make sure you find the time for important but non-urgent topics that need deep work. But use it with care.

Time blockers are appointments with yourself. Do not overdo it or you will lose flexibility. Calendar blocks should be taken serious by yourself and by other people seeing your calendar. If every day is blocked out for several weeks into the future, it is probably not realistic.

Thus, get everything which is not an appointment with another person or a serious time blocker out of your calendar. Put it into a more appropriate system. Reminders and follow-ups for example are well placed in a tickler file.

A tickler file is superior for follow-ups and reminders. It can get them out of sight and out of mind until they become actionable. Your tickler will take care of reminding you. But your calendar remains clean, clear and easy to use.

Schedule the right things

You only have time based appointments in your calendar and it’s still stuffed? I wrote a whole article about scheduling less. And another about how to prioritize task at work. Check them out.