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Use Your Online Calendar to Streamline Scheduling

One of the few tools that's really better online than off-line is the calendar. For people with complicated schedules, Get-It-Done Guy shares 5 simple ways your calendar program can help you streamline your productivity.

By
Stever Robbins,
Episode #328

Calendars. I just love calendars. No, really--I do.

Once upon a time, we ran our lives in accordance with nature. We lived by the seasons, and our daily schedules were fluid and flexible. "Let's grab lunch tomorrow." meant, "Let's get together at some point, and grab some meal sometime during the day."

Then, we invented clocks. And industry. And the need to coordinate large numbers of people. We synchronized our daily time using watches, and coordinated time yearly using calendars emblazoned with pictures of cute kittens, and scenes from nature...and scantily clad women, which conveniently turned the most amazing productivity tool ever invented into a tool for gender oppression, objectification, exploitation, and the preservation of patriarchy, hierarchy, and male domination. I'm just sayin'...

In recent years, calendars have gone online--without the kittens or the political agenda. Our online calendars return time management to its pure form, giving us all kinds of new capabilities. Used correctly, your online calendar will simplify your life. Here are my 5 quick and dirty tips on how to use them to streamline your schedule..

Use Multiple Calendars

Learn how to create and display multiple calendars in your calendar program. Most calendar programs let you create as many calendars as you want. You can have one calendar for social occasions and one for your zombie world domination plans. When you're looking at upcoming events, you can display all the calendars at once, or just the combination of calendars you choose.

But just because you can create multiple calendars, it doesn't mean you should. Like all great power, it should be used wisely. Here's how I use multiple calendars to run my life:

Put Most Things in a Single Calendar

Some people keep separate Home and Work calendars.

Unless you have a specific reason to put an event into multiple calendars, don't. Having too many calendars means more chances to put things in the wrong one, or forget to view one that has upcoming appointments. Only split events into a new calendar if you have a reason you would want to see one set of events isolated from the rest.

Since I'm self-employed and control my own schedule, I have a single calendar for my work appointments and home appointments. I just call it Main. That calendar is for events that are confirmed, and that make me unavailable for anything else during those hours. This is the calendar I consult to find out when my free time is. If it's free on my Main calendar, then it's almost certainly free.

Some people keep separate Home and Work calendars. That's because, not being self employed, there's a distinction. They go home in the "home" events. I want to be them.

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