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.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #328

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."


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.