2 Min guide to calendars



Calendars are the most important tool of any productive person. As I explain in my previous articles it is basically a plan to spend your time. Even if you aren't necessarily busy— consider using a calendar because it helps you:


  • Set and stay on deadlines

  • Never spend time wondering 'what to do today?'

  • Set intentions to work/study which helps with staying productive during WFH

  • Helps prioritize tasks and set boundaries


Now that you know why should you use a calendar, let's dive into how to use one!


Time Blocking


This is a method of simply scheduling a task and setting out time specifically for it on your calendar. This helps you become more productive by setting specific deadlines to a task— you only extract the best out of this if you stick to the deadlines.


On the lines of setting intentions, time-blocking is an effective tool to help you pin-point and schedule what you have to do, this is better than just scheduling 'work' because during WFH( work from home) we're surrounded by distractions and not having an intention to do a specific task can reduce productivity by distracting us.


Makers and Managers


To clarify, makers are people creating new things like developers, designers, etc. Managers on the other hand are not creators, and as their name suggests— they manage. The calendars of these two different roles shouldn't look alike.


Makers need work blocks of up to half days as their productivity relies on them getting into flow. Managers on the other hand have 1 hour or lesser time blocks as they check in with a lot of people in different areas.


We normally have a mix of both kinds of schedules.


Theming and Batching


If you're a student, you have many subjects to study. If you're a professional you likely have many areas to check in on, especially founders. Theming is when you make a schedule of topics on each day. Let me explain, you can decide that on Mondays you'll work on marketing, Tuesday will be one-on-ones and strategy meetings, and so on.


Setting themes allows you to only focus on that one topic for the majority of your day. Staying in a single mode ( manager or maker) for an entire day, I believe is the best way to stay on track because it reduces switching and mixing costs.


Switching cost: the loss of performance when switching between similar tasks


Mixing Cost: the loss of performance when changing kinds of tasks


Batching is pretty simple too. Instead of having a single type of task scattered across the week, you put all of them on one day— this reduces switching cost.


Personally, I have roles of a manager and of a maker throughout the week so I schedule all my business( managerial) work on a day or two, then the rest of the week is filled with long blocks of time for developing Pinglr Courses and designing ;)


Consider your energy


No one has constantly low or high energy, you need to schedule your calendar and prioritize tasks according to your energy levels during the day. If you'd like to read more about this, I talk more about energy hacking at https://www.learnwithpinglr.com/post/energy-hacking


Schedule on Sundays


I talked about not thinking 'what to do today?' as a benefit of calendars, that only works if you schedule your calendar for the week on Sundays ( or that's when I do it), Undoubtedly the calendar changes over the week but what scheduling a week in advance does is that it lets you get most of the low-fidelity thinking about spending your time out of the way and it lets you schedule your week according to your decided theme.


Conclusion


Using calendars at first can seem intimidating or boring but it really isn't. Calendars as mentioned are just the way you want to spend your time in the simplest sense— you don't need to apply all the techniques mentioned if they aren't applicable to you— keep it as simple as possible. :)


Hope this helped!

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