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 each task. Start with recurring meetings, which can very easily build up and take over your calendar.
MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
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.
... and put them in one of four quadrants:
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 the time and effort they require.
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 emails or phone calls or to attend meetings. This will prevent other things from accumulating and occupying the time you need.
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, exercise, friends, art, baking, or anything else you enjoy. And make time for it.
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, ask yourself if you’d do it tomorrow. You know how much energy you have now and presume it’ll be pretty similar tomorrow. That allows you to be a little more judicious.
Creative people have a different schedule than managers.
Managers work on a time-based scheduled calendar, but makers or creators cannot be bothered with time. They go deep in their work, forgetting any schedule.
These are internal notifications, emails from the corporate office or from team members who want to keep us "in the loop."
If you see your name in the "cc" field instead of the "To" field, chances are it's an FYI email. Consider filing it in a "To Read" folder, and tackle it when you have time.