Using a calendar can be really hard to get used to but is so rewarding when you do. I know it was very difficult for me at first. I would begin with a lot of enthusiasm, schedule every single detail, follow it religiously for about a week or so. Then once initial enthusiasm passed, I would schedule things less frequently, start ignoring reminders, and eventually abandon the calendar altogether.
Luckily after each failed attempt I would start again, but with something tweaked to account for the previous failures. I won’t bore you with all the changes but the key factors that made me stick to using a calendar were the following.
- Daily calendar review. This particular point I cannot stress enough. Find a good time early in the evening to review what the tomorrow will look like. This way when a calendar reminder pops up the next day, it will not be a surprise. Second, this will make you think about the upcoming task and give you time to prepare for it. After implementing the daily review check list I suddenly felt so much more prepared the next day and almost never skipped tasks.
- Weekly calendar review. Find time at the end of the week, preferably Sunday if you start your week on Mondays, where you review the week ahead. Glance through your appointments, meetings, and plans. Think what you will need to do, if anything, to prepare for the upcoming events.
One place to see all the events. Use something that is always available to you and use one tool only. Any software / web solution is ideal but if it is a paper notebook, make sure you carry it around with you every where. I used to view personal and work tasks on separate calendars. The moment I unified them into one view (you can import a calendar with most software solutions) it became much easier to glance at my day and know what is ahead. Switching between tools, even though might not seem like a big deal at first, will eventually get inconvenient.
If you do not use a calendar for daily activities, I highly recommend it. Just make sure to start slow and simple and don’t over schedule things. I remember I used to schedule sleep and breakfast, don’t do that. Start out small and schedule appointments, working sessions, events you will attend, and then take it from there and see where it takes you.