Boost Your Routine With Calendar Optimization If you feel your routine is suffering, it's time to shake things up. Everyone needs a little, or a lot, of routine change every once in a while. A more...
This story originally appeared on Calendar
If you feel your routine is suffering, it's time to shake things up. Everyone needs a little, or a lot, of routine change every once in a while. A more flexible approach to life and work can feel amazing for some. For others, a tight, rigorous schedule is ideal.
It is also important to note that as life and work change, so must your routine. Your home and career will change, often dramatically, throughout the course of your life. What to do when these shifts happen? One helpful approach to boosting your routine is to practice calendar optimization.
Why You Should Have a Routine
You're not alone if you struggle to understand why you need a routine. Plenty of people feel constrained by a schedule they feel is too rigid. It can feel like you're not being allowed freedom and creativity. Especially for creative personality types, schedules, and routines can feel like prison sentences. The truth is some routines can be restrictive and do actually inhibit creativity. In this instance, it is not routines themselves that are the problem; it is the specific routine. It's up to you to craft it to suit you.
A well-crafted routine allows you to be yourself and encourages you to be your best self. When you plan around your interests and your goals, you lay the foundation for a successful life. Don't think of a routine as restricting your freedom. Think of it as an opportunity to build in all the freedom you want, with your full permission. One of the best ways to live the life of your dreams while meeting all your goals is with a routine. And one of the best ways to give that routine a proper boost is to optimize your calendar.
What Is Calendar Optimization?
So, what is calendar optimization? Optimization of anything is maximizing its potential. You take a tool designed to help you and utilize every aspect of that tool to your benefit; calendar optimization means using all the scheduling and planning options your calendar offers. You can also link your calendars if you happen to be working with more than one.
Calendar optimization also means being honest with how you want to spend your time. Then, review your calendar regularly so you don't just schedule and forget. You can also get creative with how you use your calendar, moving pieces "around the board" to make them work for you. Ultimately, you make your calendar your own by making it work for you. That's calendar optimization.
How to Boost Your Routine with Calendar Optimization
Explore All of Your Calendar's Tools
The first step to optimize your calendar is to explore all of the tools offered by your calendar. Different calendars have different features. You might find slots for prioritizing goals or appointments for each day. You may see time slots as well as to-do slots, and you can work with both according to your style. In many calendars, you'll have the options for stickers, color blocks, and pins to work with.
Your calendar might also have a page specially written to help you navigate it to your benefit. Read through all the resources you have on hand so you can be sure to take advantage of all your options. Once you understand your calendar, start playing around with the tools. Start scheduling your next several days and mark down significant events or important dates you have coming up. Finally, take the opportunity to write down any big-picture goals you have for the following year.
Block Time for Professional and Personal Time
One of the first elements of scheduling time in your calendar you'll want to focus on is time blocking. Time blocking allows you to block out chunks of time in your day. An example would be to schedule the time you plan to spend on a meeting. Most people put the meeting down for a specific time. Instead, you'll block out time to prepare for the meeting and time to have the meeting. You can even block out time to create a meeting agenda. Also, consider blocking out time on your calendar to decompress and reflect afterward.
Another essential element of time blocking is making time for "deep work" and personal time. Deep work occurs when you close your doors, turn off your alerts and notifications, and focus. This focus could be on creative pursuits or professional tasks. Then, you'll want to carve out space on your calendar for your personal time. Remember, self-care is not selfish. You need to schedule time to relax, rest, and spend time with your family. Then, you'll be more prepared for your meetings and deep work.
Review Your Schedule Beforehand and Adjust
Once you have your schedule set, be sure to review it regularly. The Sunday before your week starts, look at your calendar and make any necessary adjustments. In this step, you will realize you need to leave time on your schedule for last-minute changes. You might want to fit in a meeting or make extra time for yourself. Yes, you need to schedule a "blank" space in your calendar that allows for flexibility. You don't want a schedule so rigid that it does start feeling like a prison.
Then, the night before each scheduled day, review your calendar for that day. Check-in with yourself to see if the day you scheduled still works. Your feelings and your gut matter here. Do you need more personal time? Plan a 20-minute walk or nap.
Conversely, do you feel energized and able to take on an additional meeting or more deep work? Expand your deep work block or make a note to set up a meeting in the morning. Adjust the day ahead according to an honest overview.
Review Your Time Blocks and Make Necessary Changes
Finally, reflect on the schedule you've created to see if it is realistically working. The most critical factor in calendaring is this — making it work for you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, the calendar you have created is not working for you. Make necessary adjustments. It is a sad reality that each day only has 24 hours. Fortunately, this reality is actually for everyone, so you can make the best of it with calendar optimization.
To best optimize your calendar, continue to revisit it each week, each month, and over the course of your year. When something does not work, change it. Many people don't realize that scheduling more time for yourself makes you more productive. Try it. Figure out what meetings could be emails. Get better at blocking out time for deep work. It will all come together if you just keep at it and remain open to adjusting as needed.
Create a Life You Love
Ultimately, calendar optimization to boost your routine is all about creating a life you love. The goal, always, should be to feel good about your day, your week, your year, and your life. Work does not have to be a grueling experience; it can be enjoyable and fulfilling. Fun time does not have to be limited to weekends or the occasional weeknight out. You can build fun into your day. Remember, you only have this one short life, so make the most of it. And let your calendar help.
Featured Image Credit: