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The Manager

How not to use your calendar Add to ...

If you tend to dump a lot of details about organizing your life into your calendar, web developer Chris Smith argues you are misusing this productivity tool. He argues on the Stepcase Lifehack blog that calendars are meant to hold time-specific information that dies if the task isn't done at a certain time and it is too late to now do. He advises you not to use your calendar for:

  • Blocking out time on your calendar to devote to one specific thing you need to get done. Often, that technique is recommended, but he retorts that if you are a knowledge worker the chances of actually working solely on one thing for a significant period of time are unlikely. So be realistic.
  • Setting up false due dates, indicators of when you want to be done with a certain part of a project. He says it will only leave you to put off tasks until closer to the due date, and lead to frustration when you miss this deadline - and clutter your calendar.

  • Checklist information: If your calendar has a sequence of related or even unrelated activities you must do, consider whether they belong in a checklist. That way they won't clog up your calendar, and they are in a better format - the items can now be checked off when done, and when not done stand out as uncompleted. In the calendar, that won't happen.

  • Taking meeting notes: The notes section of a calendar is a good place to put more information about an event, such as a description of the place where the meeting is or names of the attendees. But full-fledged meeting notes belong elsewhere, in a more accessible format, on paper or a dedicated note-taking software program.

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