How do you manage your calendar?

Summer is moving along at a fair clip so far. My July calendar is jam packed with activity and there sure is a lot going on.  Son’s birthday trip to Chicago, major tree trimming project, installation of hardwood floor, work travel, major seminar rewrites/presentation planning, listening sessions for my new Iron Maiden records, and a few days’ vacation at the beach are but a few things on my July plan.

Yet I am not overwhelmed.

The key here is planning. Today I will be looking hard at my Q3 plan to ensure it still fits into the bigger scheme then dialing in the week ahead.  With work life keeping me on the road and family/home life keeping me hopping, it is critical that I take the time to manage the plan.

I ask some basic questions. Where is the calendar or my time overextended?  Am I managing major projects with the proper amount of overlap?  Can I avoid being in two places at once?  Does my calendar align with my family’s?  Am I meeting the demands of my family and job well enough?  And am I leaving myself enough time for my hobbies and health?

My calendars cover 2 areas: family life and job life. I manage this in peaceful (usually) coexistence with my wife’s and my boss’s calendars and I use technology to do so.   Google Calendar has been a fantastic tool for my wife and me to juggle our schedules and fortunately, I am often able to plan my work travel around family situations that demand I remain local.  Likewise, I can plan my family activities around my work activities so I can handle the sometimes extraordinary demands of work.

The key is that I have to stay on top of it. I couple tips that help me do that:

  1. Long range planning – I look at the overall family plan and work plan over the next 6-12 months to get a general sense of where I need to be doing what. Work travel gets the edge here since I am covering 7 plants, 4 of which demand out of state travel.
  2. Medium range planning – This is my 3-6 months plan, generally. I fine tune my travel schedule with my family plan. This is where I lock in a contractor for a floor installation or plan to paint a bedroom.
  3. Short range planning – This is when the rubber hits the road and I start planning the specific hours and days for the next 1-3 months.  For example, this weekend we are taking the birthday trip, preparing and dropping our son off at a weeklong camp, clearing out the bedroom for flooring installation, installing the floor, getting a very large tree trimmed, putting the bedroom back together, and chilling the afternoon of the 4th rewriting my seminar presentations the remainder of the week.  All these activities over the course of 5 days require planning the hours and sometimes minutes.

I am a firm believer that many of us operate out of fear and when my calendar is in disarray and when I find myself hopping from one unplanned thing to the next and pissing people off in the process, my fear level goes up and things only get worse.

I urge you to take a look at your calendars. Use the technology, work together, and get shit done.  And remember to plan some time for yourself.

Thanks for dropping by.

Michael