Calendars, whether virtual or printed, have been an important part of how I organise my time and my life in general. I have calendars and lists for my personal goals and aspirations and another one for my work. Tell me if this is a bad idea, but I also integrated my work calendar into my personal one so I can have a holistic look of how my time is being spent.
If you are consistently thinking that “I always have a lot of work”, or “I’m always too busy, I don’t have time for anything else”, then this article is for you. By reading this, you will understand how to design your perfect work week that’s personalised to your needs whether you are that gym junkie who wakes up at 4 in the morning or someone who prepares the whole family for the day.
Build a routine in your work calendar
To organise your personal and even work life, you need to start with building a routine. The reason? Over time it just makes everything automatic and more efficient, so you are not expending much time and effort in debating whether you have to do something at a specific time.
What you can do is to set similar activities into chunks of time and then organising these blocks throughout the day based on your energy and attention levels. You can also color code your calendar based on their importance or task category. After you are done, you should see a colorful calendar. Motivating!
Remember to be flexible as routines can change throughout the year. Make sure that you can adapt to these changes, and adjust your calendar accordingly. If you want to do something, plan it. If it’s not in your calendar, it should also be out of your mind.
Listen to your body rhythms and schedule accordingly
By now, you should have an understanding of how your body works and changes throughout the day. The key is to utilise your “peak” levels and schedule important tasks there. Allot these peak levels for tasks requiring problem-solving, action planning, taking action and collaborating with people. Schedule menial and non-urgent tasks in your down-time.
This helps you be more effective in accomplishing tasks. Also make sure that you are allotting realistic time slots for each activity. Movement breaks help you refocus and re-energise yourself so you can keep on going to crush that next activity.
Do similar tasks in chunks
I find this tip very helpful for admin tasks such as replying to emails, managing my client list, and my calendar. Before, I just reply to emails when I have the time or “breaks” in my calendar, but we have to be honest, sometimes other tasks can take longer, and other times we’ve been exhausted from our previous tasks.
Chunking your activities help regulate and maintain your energy, attention and motivation levels as you are using your brain efficiently by not switching the “thinking” demands. This way, you get to accomplish more in less time. That’s efficiency.
Integrate your work calendar into your personal one
We work to live, and not live for work. That is the main premise for the work-life balance. This is very important especially for people who feel like “work” is outside of their control. Identify your priorities and include it in your calendar. You can also use your personal time to create habits that will improve both your personal and work life.
I love doing my workouts in the evenings as it helps me calm down and block out work-related thoughts in my head. I also find that it gives me more energy to do the things I love even after a long day at work. Remember, if it’s not in your calendar then most likely it will not be done.
This also applies to your relationships- family and partner. If you don’t allot a specific time for them, you’ll find out that most of your time was just spent on work. Is that even a life worth living?
Being able to manage my calendar ensures that I am growing not only in my work or career, but also ensures that I am growing in my personal goals, learnings, relationships and even health. I hope you get to manage your work calendar well, so you can live your best life possible.