Leaders and non-leaders alike, I see too many people who don’t do a good job organizing and managing their calendars. They say yes to everything, or there’s no plan, and their calendar is all over the place. Then guess what happens? They lose control, and everyone else owns their time. Managing your calendar is a crucial part of leadership, especially if you’re in a growing organization with time constraints around your schedule.
Here are a few things I do to manage my calendar that work well for me:
- Review your calendar weekly.
Every week, I sit down with my Executive Assistant, and the first thing we do is review my calendar.
- Look 6-8 weeks ahead.
We look at the current week, the next week, the rest of the month and the following month. I’m always working 6-8 weeks ahead and communicating what meetings are my priorities.
- Leave white space.
I block out parts of days when I have something going on. I fight for white space on my calendar to have time to think and strategize. I also leave room for things that are going to come up unexpectedly.
- Give yourself breaks.
Everyone needs breaks! I give myself time between meetings to eat, walk around and get things done. No one wants to be back-to-back all day.
I’m very intentional and proactive about managing my calendar, and I look way out into the future. I do this with my home life as well. In the last week of every month, I send my wife my travel schedule for the upcoming 2 months. Of course, things may change, but I send it to her so she can add it to her calendar. That way, she knows when I will be traveling or when I have a dinner or event in Grand Rapids and won’t be home until later. Communicating my calendar to her in advance has been helpful and keeps us aligned.
I share this because I see too many leaders who don’t have control of their calendars, and they’re not intentional about it. That leads them to be at the whim of everybody piling onto their calendar. I avoid sharing my calendar entirely; just because I have open space doesn’t mean I want it filled.
These 4 tips have served me well and I’ve used them to help other leaders. I’d love to hear your best practices around managing your calendar and schedule. It’s such a vital part of creating that work-life harmony and being most productive!