If you know me, you know I love a good calendar and productivity conversation, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in this episode! I’m sharing how to organize your calendar with strategies to help you protect your time, schedule meetings with more efficiency, and think strategically about your calendar and meetings. Whether it’s an in-person meeting, a zoom video call or a phone call, they all take time, energy, and effort. AND, meetings take away from the much-needed deep work we do in our businesses. Meetings are a necessary part of running our businesses though, so let’s make it WORK for us instead of being something that slows us down.
I’ve had weeks in my business where I’ve let meetings slow me down and ruin my productivity because there are too many of them or they are poorly spaced out simply because I wasn’t protecting my calendar. So, these are my favorite meeting and calendar management tips from my calendar to yours!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
1. Decide the days and times where you do not take any work meetings. Period.
One of my first tips on how to organize your calendar is to have no meeting days. You need entire days of the week, every week where you take zero meetings so you can dive into projects with more focus. If you don’t do this, you end up letting everyone else take over your time. If you are always available and reacting to any requests, you don’t end up putting yourself and your business first.
You probably already do this in some ways. For example, most people are not taking work meetings after 5 pm or on the weekends, unless it is necessary. Great! Really, you can slim this down even more.
Pick out a few days and time slots (they can change week to week), that you won’t take any meetings!
2. Try batching meetings.
If you really want to get more specific, try batch meeting days. This would mean that there are maybe 1-3 days per week where you can take meetings and that’s it. The other days do not have any meetings unless absolutely necessary.
This allows really great freedoms like:
- Time for deep, focused work
- You only have to “get ready” a few days per week
- If you are an introvert, you only have to go “extrovert” a few times
Yes, things will come up! It is just going to happen. My best tip for getting started with organizing your calendar is to just try this for the next week or so and see what happens!
Tune in to the full episode to hear what this looks like for me week to week!
3. Use scheduling software to let people schedule meetings with you when you’re available.
One of my big tips for how to organize your calendar strategically and efficiently is to use a scheduling software tool to allow people to only schedule meetings when you are available.
Whether you are talking about a podcast interview, a 1:1 meeting with a team member, a potential client discovery call, or anything else, this is a great system! I recommend using the gift technology has given to us in scheduling tools to eliminate the back and forth of choosing a date and time.
I personally love Calendly for this. You can create different calendars and make specific availability for yourself on different days. You can have people fill out questions when they schedule meetings and sync it to Zoom; all kinds of things! This also helps defeat time zone issues because people can view your available times in their timezone.
Your CRM might have a scheduling tool incorporated as well. I use Dubsado as my CRM and they have a similar system to Calendly! You can try Dubsado and get 30% off of your subscription with the code “ELIZABETH30”!
Use your calendar as much as needed! If you are scheduling a podcast interview or meeting with someone who doesn’t have a scheduling system like this, instead of doing the back and forth, ask them if they would be willing to pick a time on your calendar and save you both some time!
4. Always add every single event to your calendar
Another calendar management tip is to download the calendar invitation for Apple, Google, or whatever calendar you use and add each event to your calendar.
If you use Calendly, you can sync it to your calendar and those events will automatically show up there and remind you to join your meeting 10 minutes before the start time. That is awesome!
When scheduling meetings on other people’s calendars, I recommend still downloading the calendar invitation and syncing it to your calendar!
If you have been listening to the podcast for a while, you know I love digital calendars specifically. I use Apple calendar, which I have for years and I love it! Google calendar is another great one that people love as well. When you are thinking about how to organize your calendar, pick a digital calendar and put all of your meetings on it, even if you aren’t using it to schedule other parts of your day.
This takes some of the headache and guesswork out of meetings, and will also make it easier to schedule your deep, focused workdays because you will be able to clearly see when you do and do not have meetings.
5. You don’t have to say yes to every meeting request or opportunity.
This is harder than it seems and everyone knows this tip. BUT in the moment, it is sometimes hard to say no!
Remember that protecting your calendar is also sometimes:
- Protecting time with your family.
- Protecting the growth of your own business.
- Protecting your mental health.
And that is okay! It is always acceptable to say no, and people will respect you for saying no, especially if you say no well.
Here is a great example of saying no well:
“Hi there! Thank you so much for reaching out and for the opportunity to [fill in the blank]. I, unfortunately, don’t have time for this in my business right now. But thank you so much for thinking of me!”
As your business grows, you have to protect your time. Early on, it can be easier to say yes to more opportunities because there are fewer things to say yes or no to. I would encourage you to think about protecting your calendar even early on.
You have to decide what to say yes and no to. Your yes is going to be different than mine and than your other business friends. It will also be different in different seasons of your business. You have to know what you need in your current season especially when it comes to managing your calendar.
6. Do not overbook yourself.
Know your own limits on how many meetings you can handle per day and per week from an output perspective. Typically, the longer you work during the day, it is natural for you to become less productive. So when you are considering how to organize your calendar and how much of certain things you can handle, think about where you cap out and at what point you are no longer able to show up as your best self.
Some personalities are able to far beyond what others are able to do and that is okay! It is important to know what those limits are for you and your business in your current season.
7. Respect your own calendar and other people’s calendars.
Be a good person to have meetings with. Not overbooking yourself is a great way to respect your own calendar. Being on time for meetings you scheduled or meetings someone else has scheduled with you is a great way to respect other people’s calendars as well!
When you schedule something do your best to hold to it. Sometimes life happens and things get in the way of the meetings you have planned. But as best as you can, try to stick to the commitments you have made.
Avoiding unnecessary meetings is another great way to be respectful of everyone’s calendars.
I hope these tips on how to organize your calendar like a pro help you feel less overwhelmed with meetings and more in charge of your daily schedule! If you are wondering where to start with all of these tips, I recommend stopping taking meetings on everyone else’s schedule and making your own schedule that you control to take meetings on!
Say no to more things and give yourself deep work days where you do not meet with anyone. Wear your hair in a high pony and a sweatshirt and leggings all day! This is the beauty of entrepreneurship.
Do you like calendar and productivity-related episodes?
You may also enjoy episode #46, How To Plan Your Entire Week On A Digital Calendar. This episode is all about how to plan your work week hour by hour to be the most productive with your time and energy.
May 24, 2022