Diary management is a critical aspect of working efficiently. The optimization of your daily schedule can provide endless opportunities to squeeze the most out of your day. It can enhance productivity and multiply return on investment of your time. You may think there’s not a lot to it, but we wanted to share a few tips to help you get the most out of your workday through effective diary management.
1. Scrutinize your recurring appointments – In your regular workday, you probably have a number of regular meetings or appointments with clients, partners, management or direct reports. Take a look at these meetings; firstly don’t book meetings more than six month in advance. Secondly, see if there are any behavioural patterns that can be mapped to certain individuals such as cancellations or postponement (and then you can make adjustments to future appointments accordingly). Finally as it’s a new year, assess your current recurring meetings and see if they are still necessary and also whether they can be conducted by conference call instead of an in-person meeting.
2. Manage tentative engagements – At times, you might have to set aside time for a meeting that has not been confirmed yet. Don’t forget to put a ‘holding’ meeting in your diary and also set a reminder for yourself to confirm or cancel the meeting.
3. Manage spillover – Always check the engagements that are booked immediately before or after an event and ask yourself how one of them might affect another. Could a stressful interview or media engagement or an upset customer affect a client pitch that follows? The same goes for performance. Can a long and complicated legal meeting be too tiring before a speech on stage that needs your complete focus? You can then move things accordingly so that one engagement is not affected adversely by another.
4. Keep a buffer – Ensure every meeting/event is padded with a little extra time on either side to allow for any issues or deviation from the plan. This applies to all your travel plans too – flight delays, traffic jams, and other such hurdles can really mess with your schedule so make sure you make provision for them and give yourself breathing space for each engagement you have to travel to so that you allow for traffic, time to get lost and time to park.
5. Use technology – The simplest tools for managing your diary would be your calendar, whether this is Google, Outlook or something else. When using these, make things really clear by colour coding calendar entries on the same theme, subject or from the same person. You can have a different colour for personal engagements such as birthdays and social events, and again for professional entries such as client meetings, lunches, department meetings, etc.
6. Remember the details – Make sure that any event you incorporate into your calendar has all of the important details entered, including the date, time and exact location of the engagement. In addition, make sure you have information about the attendees and host, and a clear agenda of the event, with any links necessary.
Hopefully these tips will help you filter out the unproductive engagements and ensure that your agenda remains as productive and efficient as possible. If you have any concerns however, our PA’s can help to manage diaries remotely, responding to mails and ensuring that the calendar remains effective, please get in touch if you would like to know more.