Calendar Tricks To Improve Productivity and Time Management

Utilize your calendar app to improve life quality, planning, and time management.

May 8, 2021 4:58 PM

•  Published by

Cory McCabe

Your phone has a built-in calendar app, and you may or may not be already using it.

Today, let’s set up your calendar, and change the way you use it, to:

  • increase your focus
  • influence more productive time
  • improve your time management
  • inform your planning

Sound good?

I’ll show you my approach that’s been working well for me.

1. Increase Your Focus

“It’s time for dinner!”

This is undoubtedly something we’ve heard before, whether in our own lives, in a movie, or perhaps even a reminder on our phone.

It is time for [X].

When we give a slot of time in our day TO something, we give that activity priority in our lives.

Whether it’s food, or making sure the trash gets taken out in time, we give our focus to the event it is time for.

You can utilize this focus mentality by caring about what you put on your calendar.

If you care about what you allow in your calendar, you will respect what it is time for.

Every Monday, at 7pm, what is it time for?
Every day, at 7:15am, what is it time for?

It is time for [X].

Give a specific amount of time to something you want to have done. Make it a thing of the past by planning for it.

2. Influence More Productive Time

When we care about what we put on our calendar, we respect what we say we care about.

When we respect what we care about, we unlock a new kind of productivity.

We begin eliminating procrastination as we give attention over to focus.

When we’re truly focused, we aren’t distracted by thoughts of

3. Improve Your Time Management

When it comes to planning a project, or individual tasks, it’s helpful to know how much time we need in order to accomplish that project or task.

In order to know how long something takes, we need to have both done that thing before AND tracked how long it took us to do it.

Instead of using a stopwatch or timer, you can use your calendar to track your time.

Here’s what the order of events are for me when I’m working on something:

  1. Block out a time slot on my calendar with a detailed event title [click/hover to show definition]
  2. Work on the project or task
  3. Retroactively update the duration of the calendar event to reflect reality

The benefits of this approach are twofold; I can now look back to see what I did with my time, and I now have data for better planning identical or similar projects or tasks.

If I booked an hour event on my calendar to work on something that actually took me an hour and 15 minutes, I now know an hour is too optimistic and that I should book an hour and 15 minutes (or 1.5 hours, honestly) the next time I’m planning.

On one hand, I get a project diary, and on the other hand, I improve my time management and my ability to more accurately plan.

4. Inform Your Planning

To share the point from the previous section, by retroactively updating the duration of a calendar event to reflect how long it actually took you, you’re able to plan a more realistic duration next time you do that thing.

Whether that’s:

  • editing a podcast episode
  • recording a video for social media
  • writing a couple pages of a screenplay
  • going on a walk
  • taking a lunch break

If we step back fora second, it’s true that we could easily just make these tasks or reminders on our phone, like a grocery list.

But again, the reason we don’t want to treat certain tasks and projects that we care about like a grocery list is so that we can:

  • keep track of how long individual tasks take
  • allot a specific amount of time in our day to focus
  • obtain the ability to look back and make informed planning decisions

A grocery list is great... for getting groceries. Because you’ve already made the effort to arrive at the store, you just need to pick up each item until you can leave the store.

Unlike a grocery list, when we’re working on a project, arriving at and leaving the "store” is a whole lot easier than what it takes to get ready, leave our home, get in the car, drive to the store, get out of the store, and do our shopping.

For this reason, it’s more important that we protect our time and the projects we care about.

I couldn’t recommend more that you put into practice the follow steps for the projects and tasks you care about:

  1. Block out a time slot on a calendar with a detailed event title
  2. Work on the project or task
  3. Retroactively update the duration of the calendar event to reflect reality
  4. Repeat for next item