Tired of forgetting important events and appointments? Sick of feeling rushed and disorganized? There’s help, and it comes in the form of one very simple tool! Don’t miss these tips on how to use a calendar and add hours to your day, ideas for calendar organization, tricks for creating a calendar checking routine, and a FREE blank printable calendar that you can use for all the things!
How to Add Hours to Your Day with One Simple Tool
Ever woken up in the middle of the night with your stomach aching and your heart racing, because you were hit with the sudden realization that you forgot your kid’s parent/teacher conference? Or a doctor’s appointment? Or an important work meeting?
Have you ever spent 30 minutes looking for an invitation to a birthday party that your daughter was dressed and made up for, because you didn’t know the address, but you knew it was on the invite? If only you knew where the invite was….
Ever missed a party your kid was invited to and not realized it until your kid came home crying the next day, because he had to sit and listen to all of the stories of the fun he missed?
Have you lost a lucrative client, because your second meeting with her slipped your mind?
Any guesses as to where these examples came from?
I didn’t pull them out of my *ahem* well, you know.
I experienced every single. painful. embarrassing. one.
Do any of them sound familiar to you?
The Breaking Point
One day (I believe it was after example #3), I decided that I was done being an appointment/meeting/party-missing moron!
I was tired of feeling frantic, running late, or never showing up at all, and I was tired of letting my kids, my clients, my husband, and myself down.
Fast forward about 15 months: We rarely miss a party or an appointment or a meeting. My kids and my husband are happy. My clients are happy. I’ve added hours to my week, and I’m happier and much less stressed!
How did I do it? It’s nothing amazing or earth shattering, and you don’t have to be a genius to implement it.
I started using a calendar, but not just using a calendar.
What really made this work was establishing the routines required to make my calendar work for ME!
Want to add hours to your day, finally get organized, stop disappointing your kids, your husband, your clients, and yourself? Want to feel less stress?
Here’s how to add hours to your day with one simple tool!
Step 1: Ask Yourself a Few Questions
Here are a few questions to answer (or at least ponder):
* Digital or Paper Calendar?
I use both.
Our paper calendar is color-coded, so that with a glance, I know where everyone is at a certain point in time.
Plus, it’s a great way to model good time management and calendar skills for the kids (they see me writing appointments on it and checking it regularly).
And now that my kids are teenagers, I have them record their work schedules, parties, and other important dates on our family calendar. They’re actually getting in the habit of using a calendar, so they can avoid the examples listed above!
As far as digital goes, I use Google Calendar, and I love it!
Hubs and I can send each other appointments. Heck, we can even share entire calendars. Plus, I can access it from my phone or tablet.
It makes life so much simpler, and it’s where I save a ton of time: tap, tap on the keyboard and the appointment is added.
There are thousands of paper and digital calendars to choose from. Try a few out!
Learn more about how I use my digital calendar to manage my time and organize all the business things: How to Use Google Calendar to Organize Your Home Business.
*Take Note of What You Like and What You Don’t Like
Your preferences are important!
Knowing and honoring them will make using your calendar a joy and give you loads of support in creating the necessary habits to use this tool effectively.
Do you like a monthly, weekly, or daily layout? On digital calendars, you can change this whenever the mood—or the need—strikes.
Big blocks or little ones? Do you prefer a vertical layout or a horizontal one? Which other features would you like on your monthly/weekly/daily calendar like to-do lists, expense trackers, call logs, etc.?
Make notes and then….
Step 2: Go Shopping
I know, twist your arm, right?!
If you’re anything like me, calendar shopping is FUN! But I’m weird like that. 🙂
Take your list of preferences, your patience, and your wallet, and find a calendar that fits as many of your needs and wants as possible.
Check online, too. There are a ton of free downloadable or printable ones, or design and create your own, if you’re so inclined.
Here’s a FREE blank printable calendar for you to use to get started!
And check out this tutorial to create your own calendar: How to Create a Custom Calendar in Word.
Step 3: Create a Routine of Recording Events
There are two crucial components of this routine:
- One place. ALWAYS!
- Update regularly (preferably daily).
*One Place. ALWAYS (or As Often As Possible)!
If I have something that needs to be added to the calendar, I go and add it directly to the calendar whenever possible.
This is key!
Your calendar won’t work for you if you scribble events, appointments, dates, and times on envelopes, sticky notes, the magnetic refrigerator tablet, your hand, or your kid’s arm (just kidding :)).
You have to commit to writing everything on your calendar!
Have your calendar handy when opening mail or email. That way you can immediately add events to your calendar.
One of the great things about it is that it has a pocket in the back where I can store school picture order forms, invites, permission slips, etc.
If I can’t take care of the item immediately, I put a star next to the event on the calendar and put the paper into the back pocket. That way I’m alerted to the fact that there’s something that needs to be turned in every time I look at my calendar. AND I always know where that item is!
There will likely be times when you can’t add events directly to your calendars. You need to have a plan in place for these times.
Pick ONE spot to record events, then schedule a time, preferably daily, to add them to your calendar.
If I don’t have access to my calendar, I’ll email myself the item or write it on my weekly spread in my bullet journal. Then, at the end of the day, I update both my digital and our paper calendar. It only takes about five minutes…as long as I do it regularly.
Everyone’s “recording events routine” will look different, and that’s how it should be!
Find a routine that works for you. But make sure that routine includes one place (as often as possible) and a time each day to update your calendar!
Step 4: Create a Routine of Checking Your Calendar Regularly
Okay, we’re trucking along and writing events on our calendar!
But we get busy and don’t look at our calendar.
And the whole system comes to a screeching halt! #beenthere #donethat
For me, this is where the system often breaks down, which is why we use a paper calendar. It hangs on the wall by our kitchen, and I can’t help but see it multiple times a day!
I’ve also been working on creating a habit of checking my digital calendar throughout my work day (morning, noon, and at the end of the work day).
Think about your day and set up your calendar and routines to work with it.
Do you work at an office all day? You might want to have your calendar accessible there.
Are you in your car a lot during the day? Keep your calendar with you in the car (having your calendar on your phone works great in this situation).
Is every day different for you? Adopt a calendar that can be as flexible as you.
Now, set aside a couple of times throughout the day to look at your calendar. Set reminders on your phone or your computer. If you use a planner, block out time each day to check your calendar.
The beauty of creating routines is that they eventually become automatic, and you don’t even think about them. You just do them. And when that happens, you free up time and energy to work on other things!
And what better time to start using a calendar than back-to-school when all of the schedules and dates start flowing into your homes en masse?!
How to Add Hours to Your Day with One Simple Tool
Start using a calendar and create a calendar checking routine, and you’ll never forget important events and appointments again! You’ll stop feeling rushed and disorganized, too.
This post is packed with tips and ideas, and it seems like a lot, I know. But if you take it step by step, you can add hours to your day with one simple tool, stop disappointing your kids, your husband, your clients, and yourself, and feel less stress!
This post is part of The Stress-Free Holiday Challenge, a series of blog posts and printables to help you stress less and enJOY more this holiday season!
Check out the other posts in the series:
- 5 Habits of Organized People You Can Adopt Today
- The Ultimate End of the Work Day Routine
- 10 Ways to Make Your Planner Work for You
Now it’s your turn!
Any favorite calendars that you just adore? Tips for making these routines and systems work for you? Share them in the comments below!
Don’t forget to pin it!
Thanks for joining me today!