How many of us juggle between a personal and a work calendar, three different to-do lists in a notebook, notes in the smartphone, and reminders written on sticky notes left on the fridge? I get it, you’ve got a lot on your plate: work meetings, holiday preparations, personal appointments, gym sessions, errands, family events… all together, it’s a lot to manage and remember! Some days you may struggle with confusion and overflow.
Here is one of those tips that can change your life and make you so much better at being organised and productive: learn how to centralise all the important information in one place, and finally master time and task management!
? Ditch the to-do list. And be more productive!
Wait, what? Yes, you read that well! It may sound counter-intuitive but a to-do list on its own is never going to help you achieve anything. Even though it gives you an excellent picture of all the work and personal tasks you need to complete, it is not going to help you with time management and scheduling.
We tend to frantically add one item after the other on our list as the day goes on. But this eventually happens to every to-do lister: you have meetings all over your calendar, you can’t seem to be able to find time to focus on each of those tasks, eventually you struggle with context switching, multitasking goes against your productivity, and you can’t help it, you distracted by phone and instant messaging notifications.
By the end of the day, you only manage to tick a few items off your list and come to the frustrating realisation that what could not be achieved will have to be postponed to the next day… which makes tomorrow’s list even longer.
? Befriend your calendar. And make it your productivity tool #1!
No to-do list, then what? Alternatively, this is the tool that will help you centralise, visualise, capture and schedule events and tasks all together: your online calendar!
You have it close to you wherever you go: on your smartphone, on your laptop, at home, at the office. Instead of multiplying tools and spreading information out to different places – online to-do list, notebook, sticky-notes, iPhone notes – using your calendar as the main and only place to gather information is the solution that will address the reality of your days. It’ll also help you make the most of the time you have at hand.
Everything takes time, therefore everything needs to be on your calendar. Contrary to lists, the calendar is the right tool because it makes time central: work tasks, brainstorming about a project, family activities, meetings, exercising, replying to emails, planning a trip… all of that takes time, then it deserves to have an entry in your calendar.
⏱ Use Time Blocking. And capture every single task!
This productivity technique is known as Calendar Blocking, Timeboxing or Time Blocking.
And Time Blocking is the productivity tip ’numero uno’ that we preach at KosmoTime – our calendar app was designed with this very specific productivity technique in mind.
To create a weekly timeboxed schedule, you’ll need to decide how much time you want to spend on each domain of your life. How much time do you want to spend on yourself, on important relationships, and on your work. – Nir Eyal, author of Indistractable
Thanks to Time Blocking, you’ll quickly be able to notice:
? How you spend your days
? What type of tasks takes priority
? How you manage your work-life balance
Time Blocking also allows you to easily reshuffle tasks across the week when a last-minute change or obstacle comes your way. Not only Time Blocking helps you get better at time and task management, but also helps you be flexible and proactive with your personal and professional schedule.
? Own your time. And share your calendar!
Once you are comfortable with using your calendar for task management, and once you are familiar with the Time Blocking technique, the next step is to share your calendar: let co-workers, family and friends know what your schedule is about. You can colour code and categorize your entries in a way that it is visually easy to see how and who you plan to spend your time with.
? Work tasks & events
? Personal tasks & events
Set priorities, own your time and take back control of your schedule: with Time Blocking and by having all your meetings and tasks centralised in your calendar, you end up protecting yourself from external distractions and interruptions, you increase your time awareness and prevent others from stealing time from you.