The Best Organizing Tool (December 15, 2014)
Last Friday I gave my fourth presentation to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in suburban Philadelphia on ways to maximize productivity, profit and fulfillment in 2015. My audience was a lively group of successful business women. I showed them organizing productivity tools and other ways to improve their bottom-line results.
Because 2015 is almost upon us and calendars are essential to organizing our lives at work and/or home, I’m sharing the part on calendars with you.
Running a successful business (or home) requires effective organizing skills, habits and tools. Time-management experts know the right calendar is the most important tool to keep them organized. Think about it. Without a central place to put dates, times and locations of meetings, appointments and events, along with everything else we need to track, could you function?
Used correctly, your calendar stores the information you need to run your life. Here are 10 tips to get you started.
First decide the type
- It’s essential to find the one that works well for you. If yours doesn’t, now is a great time to experiment with the start of 2015 just around the corner. Invest a few dollars if you need to try different ones.
- Whether you use an electronic device, paper, online, dry erase board or other type is a personal, not right or wrong, choice so first decide which type you prefer.
- Next, narrow your other preferences (e.g., for paper, do you want a daily, weekly or monthly view, whether to have printed time slots and their frequency, sections for notes, calendar or planner, desk or wall type).
In addition to recording appointments and meetings, there are many ways a calendar can keep you organized. Here are a few other things to note.
- Phone calls to make (or receive)
- Items to mail or ship
- When to change your furnace and ice-maker filters
- Backup information to bring with you (and note where it’s kept)
- Use only one calendar so things aren’t in one and not in the other
- School-age kids can note things like class trips and deadlines for homework and projects
Read my published article, Work Smarter, Make Your Calendar Work Harder, for even more tips.
Bonus tip: Make notes the moment you think of something so you won’t forget. If your calendar isn’t handy, make notes on a piece of paper or your device’s voice recorder and transfer them later to your calendar. Unless you have extremely rare hyperthymesia (or superior autobiographical memory, the ability to recall just about everything from one’s past), relying on our memories doesn’t work.
Over time, you’ll think of more ways you can use your calendar. When you find the right one, I promise it’ll make your life at work and/or home much easier to manage and you’ll never want to live without it!
Product of the Month
1-31 Desktop Paper Sorter
This desktop paper sorter with slots labeled 1-31 gives you a place to put backup papers that relate to events noted in your calendar. Have a meeting and need to bring a report with you? After noting the meeting in your calendar, put the report in the slot with the corresponding date in the desktop sorter. As an extra precaution, put an asterisk or other notation next to your calendar entry to indicate there is corresponding paperwork in the desktop sorter. Although there are only 31 slots, the sorter can be used to keep papers for any day of any month of any year — just put the date you need it in the upper corner. Develop the habit of checking the sorter the day before to see if there’s something you’ll need the next day. It’s available at Office Depot for $24.99.
That which we persist in doing becomes easier — not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased. ~Emerson