How to Organize Your Home Office – Calendars

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My last entry showed you how to use paper trays to help improve the flow of paper in your office.  Continuing with your home office, I would like to show you how to better organize your appointments. The saying, “a place for everything, and everything in its place” applies to appointments as well.  Too often, people try to maintain too many calendars.  Other mistakes include using no calendar at all (nobody’s memory is that good) and using the wrong calendar for them.  Here are some tips to help keep you on schedule:

How many calendars? – One of the most common mistakes I encounter with my clients is that they have too many calendars.  I’m not sure which is worse, too many calendars or none at all.  The key is simplicity.  The more calendars you have, the more places you have to check, update, and maintain.  It is very easy for them to get out of sync, causing you to miss important appointments.  I recommend using the fewest number of calendars possible, optimally one.  Organize-It.com has a variety of calendars and planners to choose from that will surely suit your personal needs.

Paper vs. Electronic? – With all of the electronic gadgets out there, many people feel the pressure to go electronic.  While these tools provide many wonderful, time-saving features, they may not be right for you.  A paper-based calendar can be just as effective.  Analyze your needs to determine which type of calendar is best for you.  If you are on the go a lot, an electronic solution is a great choice.  It allows you to carry your contacts, tasks, and appointments all in the palm of your hand.  If you are a stay at home mom, a large wall calendar might be the answer.  It gives you a lot of space for each day and allows everyone easy access to the family schedule.  A daily planner that you can keep with you is a great choice if you don’t like looking at the small screen.

Appointments vs. To-Dos – Your time management requirements fall into two categories: appointments and to-dos.  An appointment is tied to a particular time and place, such as meetings, doctor appointments, car-pools, etc.  The best way to organize your appointments is to record them in your calendar.  To-Dos are items that need to get done, but when you do them is at your discretion.  To-dos are best organized on a to-do list which is reviewed daily.  Do not use your calendar to track your to-do items.

Write It down – How many times have you laid awake at night worrying about forgetting something important?  Many people attempt to keep track of these things in their heads. Although it works for some, most of the time it fails, resulting in missed appointments.  Write it down!

Check Often – No matter how diligent you are about writing things down in your calendar, if you don’t refer back to it on a regular basis, it will not be an effective time management tool.  Get into the habit of checking your calendar regularly.

Follow these tips to stay on schedule!

Donna Lindley, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Rochester Hills, MI-based Organize Your World, Inc.

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