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.
Use Markers in Event Titles
Almost all my events are meetings, so putting "Meeting" in the event description would be redundant. I just put the person's name, and add abbreviations right before the name, so I know what kind of meeting this is. Even a glance at my month-at-a-time calendar view lets me see what kinds of meetings are coming up.
"C:" before a name means they're a paying client and should be treated like royalty. "P:" before a name means they're prospect who I haven't met before, and should be treated like landed gentry, until their true class has been determined. "M:" means it's one of the young people I mentor. I can ask them to pour me a glass of Honest Tea without feeling too guilty. "L," means it's a lunch appointment, and "D," means it's a dinner appointment. Hypothetically there could be a "B," which would mean breakfast, but ... well, you know. Breakfast? Really?
In the Notes field of an event, I put all the information I'll need: the agenda, relevant email addresses and phone numbers, and a copy of whatever email prompted the meeting.
Use a Tentative Calendar
Being an executive coach, I coordinate with clients, prospects, PR interviews, and, of course, zombie army captains. I often propose a meeting time and then must wait to hear back from the other person. Before I've heard back, though, I don't want to accidentally double-schedule that time.
My solution is a calendar called Plan. When there's a time waiting to be confirmed, it goes on my Plan calendar. My calendar program is set to display all my calendars at once, and Plan is displayed in a slightly faded out color. I can see at a glance which time blocks are used in Main, and which have tentative appointments in Plan. When someone confirms a date and time, a single right mouse click (on the Mac, at any rate) lets me move the appointment from Plan to Main.
If I see an upcoming appointment on the Plan calendar, I know it was never confirmed. I call the person and find out if we're still meeting. If I notice that the same person often has appointments that never get moved from Plan calendar, I know they're a flake, and have the zombie army brain requisition supply chain commander add their name to "the list."