Business Tips

5 calendaring rules you must follow at work

Whether you run a small law firm, a medium-sized retail organization, or an enterprise-level manufacturing company, keeping track of your appointments and honoring your commitments is critical to your success. And while you may still like using a day planner (perhaps as a backup to your online calendar), nothing beats a calendar program when it comes to helping you and your team stay in sync, focused and organized. And while that might sound like a tall order for an old-fashioned planner, with the latest online tools – and a few simple tips – your calendar can do just that.

Calendaring tools

  • Shared calendars: In order to be transparent about your schedule, you can share your calendar with your team, your assistant, or your entire organization. This way, others can see whether you’re booked or available and schedule meetings accordingly.
  • Schedule view: Some online calendar tools give you the power to see multiple shared calendars at once in a horizontal layout, or schedule view. This way, you can quickly see when attendees have shared availability.
  • Group calendars: Unlike shared calendars, group calendars only allow people in the group to see items, post critical appointments (for themselves or everyone in the group), add PTO dates – so that everyone knows if/when someone will be out – and what work or deadlines are coming up, which makes it easy for everyone in the group to stay informed.
  • Calendar notifications: Because even the best laid plans can be thwarted by forgetfulness, most calendar programs offer some type of notification system that gives you a reminder for your upcoming appointments. You can usually set reminders for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours (or days) ahead of time, so you’ll have plenty of time to travel to the meeting or prepare for your appointment.
  • Virtual Personal Assistant: Some calendar applications can now integrate with the virtual personal assistant (VPA) on your phone, laptop or mobile device. This simplifies the scheduling process by allowing your VPA to do all the work, including searching your calendar for available times, and proposing and confirming meeting times for those included in your invitation. This way, your inbox won’t be cluttered with replies and you can focus on other things.

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Scheduling tips

  • Block Time for Work: If you have a big project coming up that needs your undivided attention, block time for it on your calendar and don’t allow others to double-book you for meetings. This way, you can stay on task and deliver projects on time (or early).
  • Set Calendar Reminders for Important Events: If you can only place an order on a certain day of the month, need to file paperwork by a specific time and/or date, etc., set a calendar reminder for it well before the time arrives, and at varying points up until the event happens. This way, you won’t forget or be unprepared.
  • Break Large Projects into Manageable Pieces: If you have a project that’s going to take some time, don’t 1) procrastinate until the last minute, or 2) expect to tackle it all in one sitting. Instead, set aside time every day (or every few days) to tackle pieces of your project. This way, you’ll feel accomplished each day, see forward progress, will be able to hit your deadline, and won’t feel overwhelmed, or burned out by the end.
  • Turn Off Technology (for a Bit): When you’re working on projects that require thought, focus and energy, don’t be afraid to turn off your technology. By setting aside your phone, turning off your IM (or setting yourself to Do Not Disturb) and either ignoring your email or setting up automatic responses that tell others you’re currently unavailable, you’ll gain valuable uninterrupted time to dedicate yourself to your work.

In a world where transparency is increasingly important, competition is fierce, and delivering on your promises is imperative, online calendars and their newest tools can make all the difference. And whether you work in an office of five or 500, have clients around the globe, spread throughout the city, or you serve your own internal team, by allowing you to keep others apprised of your whereabouts, streamline scheduling, focus on projects, and stay on top of what lies ahead, calendar applications make modern work (and life) more manageable.

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