Eliminating the Clutter in Your Appointments

Is your calendar a mess?

Is it as cluttered as your desk or other areas of your life?

Too many appointments. Perhaps, ones that overlap to the point that your calendar looks like a Tetris game board.

Today, we’ll discuss how to take control of your appointments and get rid of that clutter on your calendar.

Are Your Appointments a Mess?

Do you find yourself running from one meeting to the next?

You are always late to your next appointment and unable to catch your breath.

Sometimes, you are double or even triple booked.

When you calendar is cluttered with appointments, your daily activities will be disorganized at best, and perhaps bordering on chaotic.

This is not a fun way to go about your day.

Here a just a few consequences of a cluttered calendar:

- Always Late – When your calendar is a mess, chances are you will be, too. If you work with someone who is always late, you can be sure that they are not in control of their appointments.

- Unneeded Stress – A cluttered calendar leads to self-inflicted stress. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.

- Wasted Time and Effort – Ever go to an appointment and find out it was moved or cancelled? When your calendar is out of control, you will find yourself making mistakes that cost you time and effort.

- Missed Opportunities – Missed appointments can be missed opportunities. You never know what opportunity may close its door because you missed an engagement.

So, how do you clean up your calendar?

Declutter Your Appointments

Being in control of your calendar is key in controlling your day.

“When you are in control of your appointments and time, you have a greater sense of confidence and purpose.”

Here are a few tips to help eliminate the clutter in your appointments and keep your calendar clean:

  • Use Your Calendar – Many people are guilty of not using their calendar. Ironically, by having an empty calendar, they are actually creating more clutter in their daily lives by not tracking their appointments.
  • No Back-to-Back Meetings – Outlook loves to let you schedule 9-10 and then 10-11 meetings. But, if you do not have any break between your appointments, you will always be late to the next one. Make sure you schedule adequate time between your appointments. (Better yet, cut your meetings in half.)
  • End on Time -Adhering to your schedule is one of the basic calendar principles. When you let that meeting run over, you are not only disrespecting your time, but that of all the other attendees, as well.
  • Decline When Appropriate – Some people clutter up their calendar with appointments that they should never have accepted in the first place. It is important to be able to say no when appropriate. This can be tricky in a corporate environment, but I encourage you to practice the “Right to Decline.
  • Block Time – One of the most powerful ways to avoid clutter on your calendar is to block out your time before others can schedule it. I usually block my time out two weeks in advance to protect my project time from last minute meetings.
  • Know Your Obligations – Is your calendar cluttered with other people’s work? Know your obligations and ensure that you are not doing everyone else’s job.

Clean Up Your Calendar

Don’t let cluttered appointments overrun your calendar.

If your daily appointments page looks like a mutant Lego creation, then you are not in control.

Your calendar should be working for you, not the other way around.

Get your calendar cleaned up and you will feel much more in control of your life.

Are you appointments under control? How do you prevent appointment clutter?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    Craig,

    Great tips!

    All my meetings are nowadays virtual ones: through Microsoft LiveMeeting. There is no need to go physically to meetings anymore (if I have to, it happens very rarely).

    I try to avoid appointment clutter by declining them if possible and sometimes even asking for a new time for appointment if the one suggested doesn’t work for me.

    Timo

    • TMNinja

      @timokiander Thanks for sharing, Timo!

      I prefer less time in meetings & more time doing. :)

    • TMNinja

      @timokiander Great to hear about virtual meetings.

      I think most companies have the conference call thing down. (Perhaps, too much!)

      But, very few companies are using video yet. I have been testing meeting via video Skype, FaceTime, and more.

      I can say that video chatting is a game changer over conference calls. Is it always needed or appropriate? No. But, can really change the dynamic of a remote call.

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    Craig,

    Great tips!

    All my meetings are nowadays virtual ones: through Microsoft LiveMeeting. There is no need to go physically to meetings anymore (if I have to, it happens very rarely).

    I try to avoid appointment clutter by declining them if possible and sometimes even asking for a new time for appointment if the one suggested doesn’t work for me.

    Timo

  • TMNinja

    @timokiander Thanks for sharing, Timo!

    I prefer less time in meetings & more time doing. :)

  • http://annedreshfield.com/ annedreshfield

    I love the thought of blocking out time two weeks in advance — I got into the habit of doing something similar in college and now it extends into my internship, too. I get a strange kind of joy with writing out all of the appointments and deadlines I know about a week or two in advance…not sure why, but I do! You’re right, it helps you know what’s coming up and to not over-schedule yourself.

    • TMNinja

      @annedreshfield Anne, love it. Yes, I block my time out in advance.

      Some people are nervous to do this, thinking it will lock them into an inflexible schedule.

      But, then again, when someone asks me if I can make a specific time, it is easy to reschedule if necessary. Only have to check with one person… me. :)

  • http://annedreshfield.com/ annedreshfield

    I love the thought of blocking out time two weeks in advance — I got into the habit of doing something similar in college and now it extends into my internship, too. I get a strange kind of joy with writing out all of the appointments and deadlines I know about a week or two in advance…not sure why, but I do! You’re right, it helps you know what’s coming up and to not over-schedule yourself.

  • Becomeawesome

    I’m with the others – I don’t have the meetings now, which is fortunate. I used to compare the meetings that I WOULD go to as monkeys throwing poo and that wasn’t really safe. These are some great suggestions, helpful for the burgeoning mental minimalist. :)

    • TMNinja

      @Becomeawesome Yes… I too have seen meetings with monkeys in them. Usually not a pretty scene. :)

  • Becomeawesome

    I’m with the others – I don’t have the meetings now, which is fortunate. I used to compare the meetings that I WOULD go to as monkeys throwing poo and that wasn’t really safe. These are some great suggestions, helpful for the burgeoning mental minimalist. :)

  • TMNinja

    @Becomeawesome Yes… I too have seen meetings with monkeys in them. Usually not a pretty scene. :)

  • TMNinja

    @annedreshfield Anne, love it. Yes, I block my time out in advance.

    Some people are nervous to do this, thinking it will lock them into an inflexible schedule.

    But, then again, when someone asks me if I can make a specific time, it is easy to reschedule if necessary. Only have to check with one person… me. :)

  • TMNinja

    @timokiander Great to hear about virtual meetings.

    I think most companies have the conference call thing down. (Perhaps, too much!)

    But, very few companies are using video yet. I have been testing meeting via video Skype, FaceTime, and more.

    I can say that video chatting is a game changer over conference calls. Is it always needed or appropriate? No. But, can really change the dynamic of a remote call.