If you don’t get a handle on your calendar, other people can take over your time and you can be left struggling to get everything done, The Daily Muse co-founder Alex Cavoulacos writes.
To take control of your calendar and get more done, she recommends you start by asking yourself five questions so you can build a vision of your ideal week:
- What are your work hours on an average day and week?
- What are your standing meetings—or things that must be done at a certain date and time?
- At which time of the day are you most productive?
- Are there days of the week that are more or less productive for you?
- Are different types of work better accomplished on different days or times?
Next, use your answers to sketch out an ideal week with blocks of time for activities such as meetings, answering email and focusing on getting work done. You may not be able to stick to this ideal schedule all of the time, but it will help you to guard your time.
Treat the blocks you’ve set aside for working and emailing as appointments. If someone asks you if you’re free then, say you aren’t. If there’s no other time you can meet then you should be sure to reschedule your time so you don’t lose out on any important work time.
Another way to protect your schedule is to take the lead when it comes time to schedule a meeting. Suggest some times that work for you and let the other people choose one of them instead of waiting for them to make the first suggestion.
— Adapted from “The Secret to Getting More Done in Less Time,” Alex Cavoulacos, The Daily Muse.