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7 Tips to Declutter Your Calendar-and Keep It That Way

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https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-declutter-calendar-make-time-what-matters

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7 Tips to Declutter Your Calendar-and Keep It That Way
When Adrean Turner started a new role as a cost accountant, one of the tasks passed on to her from her predecessor was a monthly report that took almost two weeks to compile. She spent hours on it every month for her first few months at the company even as other responsibilities piled up on her desk.

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Take Stock and Track Your Time

You can’t really clean up your schedule if you don’t know what’s in it—and that includes all the things on your literal and official calendar and all the things that aren’t. 

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Purge Recurring Meetings and Tasks

Once you know what’s on your calendar, ask yourself: “What is the purpose of each thing on here? Are we accomplishing that or does something need to change?” 

Question eac...

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Sort Things By Importance and Urgency

... and put them in one of four quadrants:

  • Quadrant I: Important, Urgent (crises, last-minute meetings for important deadlines)
  • Quadrant II: Important, Not Urgent&n...

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Minimize or Outsource

Is there a task at work that you could delegate or outsource? Delegate or partner up with someone to ease your job.

If you can’t pass off certain tasks to others wholesale, try to minimize th...

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Create Blocks

Part of cleaning up your schedule is finding strategies to prevent it from getting cluttered again.

Block chunks of time on your calendar when you won’t be available to answer ema...

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Don’t Forget Downtime

Time management is also about making room for the non-work things you love and those that allow you to recharge.

Think about what recharges your batteries: It might be nature...

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Pretend Future You Is Present You

We tend to overestimate our time and energy in the future and so we fill our calendars with tasks we think we'll be able to complete.

When you’re thinking about something in the future...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

Our estimates on how long certain tasks will take are almost always ...

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."

The 4 Kinds of Priorities

The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

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The Morning Ritual

  • You need to wake up before the insanity starts. Before your goals for the day have competition.
  • The second part of your morning ritual is about mood. That feeling of control is what pr...

Important Work First Thing

Research shows that 2.5 to 4 hours after waking is when your brain is sharpest. Early morning is also when you’re most disciplined.

Do the work of your choice early in the day.

Regroup When You Slow Down

When the afternoon brain fog hits, it's often just because of our natural circadian rhythm.

First, take a break. Get a snack or a power nap if you can. 

What you need next is a mini-version of your morning ritual. Review your goals and the progress you’ve made this morning. Nothing is more motivating than progress.

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Checking Email

Check email only at set points during the day. 
  • you may decide that you'll only check your email before lunch, and at the end of the day.
  • you can also reserve time to re...

Checking your email regularly...

... during the day can be an effective way to keep your inbox at manageable levels.

However, the constant interruption and distraction that comes from it can dramatically lower your productivity, and disrupt your ability to enter a state of flow when working on high value projects.

Reading Email

  • Try using the "Two-Minute Rule" when you read your mail: if the email will take less than two minutes to read and reply to, then take care of it right now, even if it's not a high priority.
  • For emails that will take longer than two minutes to read or respond to, schedule time on your calendar, or add this as an action on your To-Do List , to do later. 

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