Do you ever feel like you’re rushing from one meeting to another, without much time to pause for breath? Do you sometimes feel like your diary is running you, rather than the other way around? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The dreaded ‘diary takeover’ can happen to the best of us, and sometimes there are weeks where everything just happens to be on at the same time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Believe it or not, there are some really simple tricks to help you wrestle back control of your diary and put you in the drivers seat again. Want to know what they are? Keep reading.
Schedule Yourself Some Mandatory Time
First things fits, go to your diary and add in a 30-45 minute block, recurring every single day, preferably at the beginning. This will become your time to review your task list, put everything in priority order and generally plan out how your day is going to look. This is not optional. Treat this time like a client meeting -protect it and commit to turning up to it. Going through this process every day means you stay on top of what needs doing, nothing gets forgotten and you can start the day with a game plan. If you’re really keen, you can do this at the end of the day as well – reviewing what you’ve done and moving things onto new to-do lists if needed.
Add Travel Time To your Meetings
A common rookie error is to put meetings into your diary for the time they start and end – which makes sense, right? WRONG! Because meetings don’t just take the time you’re in front of the client. They also take travel time, prep time and general faffing-about time. So instead of putting in meetings for the time you agreed with the client, put them in your diary for the time you would need to leave for the meeting, and end the event for the time you would get home. This means you don’t accidentally end up scheduling two back-to-back meetings at opposite sides of town. You’ll never be rushed, or late, again!
If you’re prone to getting really absorbed in your work, you might find that hours go past without you realising it. This is great from a productivity point of view, but not so great if you have things you need to do at certain times. If this sounds familiar, you need to make sure you’re using the alert function in your calendar, and have the volume turned way up. Set the alert to happen at the time you would need to start getting ready – not for when the meeting or event is – to avoid running-late-syndrome. Alert times are completely changeable, so turn on an alert at whatever time works for you, and pay attention when it goes off.
Block In Working Time
If I were to look at your diary now, how likely is it that I would see nothing but meetings? Pretty high, I’d say. That’s because most of us use our diary as a meeting management tool, which is fair enough. But we forget that there are other things we need to do to. Like, you know, do the actual work. If you’re constantly booking in meetings because ‘you’re free’, you’ll suddenly find you don’t have any time to do the work you committed to in those meetings. So, using a different colour event (I do love colour coding), block yourself in working time every day. You can split this out by project, but client, or just as one big lump of ‘do client work’ – whatever works for you. Just make sure you carve it out, and treat it as sacred.
Get Someone Else To Do It
This is our personal favourite, because why wouldn’t it be? Sometimes your life is just too busy to manage your diary. If you don’t have the time to sit down and think about putting all of the above in place, let alone actually doing it, then a VA could be a lifesaver for you. A VA can handle scheduling your meetings (with breaks and travel time so you can recover between each), help you block in work time, schedule free time and make sure you never get double booked again. When we put it like that, we’re amazed everyone hasn’t got a VA already!
At Your Admin Hub, we love everything to do with organisation. Sorting out a hectic diary into neatly segmented perfection is like crack to us, and you’re the one who gets to see all the benefits. If you’re looking for a way to wrangle the diary and take back more control of your time, we would love to help you. Just get in touch with us today, and let’s get a coffee in the diary. It’s the last appointment you’ll need to put in yourself!