What’s the secret to maximizing productivity and efficiency? There’s no single silver bullet, but one sure-fire way to make gains is with calendar tricks that will keep you organized and focused. From scheduling “no meeting” time blocks to integrating mobile so you never miss a meeting—the art of calendar optimization is crucial.
Here are seven simple calendar tricks you can use to bring your productivity to the next level:
Schedule “no meeting” time blocks
Instead of multitasking, set aside time without interruptions.
Set Out-Of-Office (OOO) time
Identify blocks of time on your calendar as “unavailable,” “not working” or “OOO” if you’re not working a certain day or are traveling.
Pro tip: If you have a regular non-work appointment or commute time when you’re unavailable, schedule it as recurring OOO time. To do this in Outlook, just open the meeting you want to set as recurring and on the Meeting tab (in the Options group), click Recurrence. Select your desired frequency, set options for the frequency and click OK.
Connect your calendar on your mobile
It happens to everyone: You’re not on your laptop and a meeting runs late, you forget when and where your next meeting is and you end up shuffling in with a flurry of apologies five minutes after the next meeting begins. Integrate your calendar on your mobile device to stay up-to-date on all your meetings.
Install buffer time
Whenever possible, schedule an extra 10 minutes on either side of every meeting, so that you have enough time to clean up from the current meeting and then prepare and set up for the next meeting. This will also help you avoid the feeling of “running” from meeting to meeting.
When you’re completing tasks like a do-it-all, it’s easy to plough through and work until you’re fried. Schedule breaks into your calendar to avoid burnout and boost creativity and let your calendar reminders hold you accountable.
Set check-in reminders
As major deadlines approach, schedule check-ins with reminders for benchmarks along the way. This avoids end-of-project stress and ensures you’re checking off tasks before they’ve passed. Include team members on your calendar reminders to encourage team check-ins as well.
Integrate business contacts
Simplify inviting business contacts by integrating your calendar with your contact list.
Pro tip: You can add a contact from an email message in Office 365. Open the message so that the person’s name is shown in one of these lines: From, To, Cc or Bcc. Right-click the appropriate name and click Add to Outlook Contacts. A new window opens, where you can fill in the details you want and then OK when done.