How a Timebooster Calendars

April 25, 2017 Unknown 0 Comments

Let’s talk calendars.

More precisely, let’s talk about how to keep your calendar. There are many ways to organize it. How you use your calendar is as personal as the clothes you wear.

But Timeboosters are different. Timeboosters calendar with intention. The idea is simple. Be strategic about how you fill up your days. Make each of those little blocks on your screen move YOUR ball forward professionally or personally. It’s the best way to make time work for you.

This looks different for everyone. For Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp, keeping busy doesn’t mean keeping an insanely packed calendar. In fact, you might find monks with busier calendars. This is what it looks like:

Pretty amazing, right?

As Fried explains it in this Medium post, he likes to keep his calendar mostly open so he can make decisions about what he’s doing that day that day. In the moment. Not weeks and weeks in advance.

I don’t want to say no to something that comes up today at 2:30 because I agreed to something 3 weeks ago at 2:30,” he writes. “Yes, occasionally that happens, but I want to design that situation to be an outlier rather than the norm… What do I do with all that empty space? My job! I design, I write, I think, I work!”

But the reality is that this kind of calendar won’t work for a lot of people. You might need more structure, and a much more booked schedule. If you’re a consultant who caters to demanding clients or a product manager within a large organization, you likely can’t dictate all of your meeting times. As the founder and CEO of his own company, Fried has more flexibility than most.

So, let’s look Graham Jenkin’s calendar back when he was a user experience manager at Google (he’s now COO at AngelList). Jenkin led the redesign of Adwords, Google’s flagship advertising 

This calendar probably looks familiar. It’s packed, like most of the people using Timeboost. But take a closer look. Notice the blocks of time called “Morning Routine” (6 to 8 a.m.) and “Make Time” (8 to 11 a.m.). Jenkin doesn’t schedule any meetings during these hours. None.

In this post, Jenkin explains that his “Morning Routine” is time that’s set aside for him to think about things outside of work.

“‘Me time’ is replenishment time,” he writes. “If I’m going to successfully drive myself through the rest of the day, I need to make sure that I’m personally on a full tank of gas, oil changed, tires rotated, etc.  That’s what ‘me time’ is for.”

“Make Time” is devoted to doing the actual work. Not taking meetings. Not answering e-mails. Jenkin spends these hours on conceptual work or detailed production work, like designing.

“I need to have at least 3 hours of continuous, uninterrupted time to really get deep on the work and make significant progress or produce something that I can feel good about,” he writes.

This practice of setting aside time to go deep into your work is exactly what Cal Newport preaches in his book, “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.” By setting aside the time and space to go deep, we produce better results. But many of us have essentially lost this ability to really focus on doing one task without getting distracted. By social media. By email. By our constant need for new stimuli.

That’s where being intentional with your calendar can elevate your productivity and your state of mind as a result. Think of your calendar as a roadmap to your goals, laid out in hourly increments. Every time you put something in your calendar, ask yourself: How is this helping my goals? It doesn’t matter if the goal is professional (I need to get better at managing my team) or personal (I want to spend more time with my kids).

“It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the day-to-day politics or firefighting or water-treading of any job that you can easily lose sight of why you’re working in the first place,” Jenkin writes. “To prevent myself from getting sucked into this vortex, I have goals. They keep me honest.. They remind me of why I’m here, why I’m working. Without them I’d be lost.” (Note: You can also use the Goals feature in Timeboost to easily link them to your calendar)

It’s okay to spend time on Twitter or Facebook. By calendaring “chill time” or whatever you want to call it, you get the benefit of relaxing, without the risk of losing your day. Your calendar can keep you from getting lost. And make you super productive.

Just ask yourself “Is this block of time moving me forward?” before creating or accepting a meeting. And before your calendar is completely blocked for the week, go in there and book time to get the work and personal items that matter most to you done. You’ll do a better job hitting your goals and feeling like the day didn’t just fly by.

Ryan Carson, founder and CEO of Treehouse, an online provider of tech education, says this kind of goal-setting has improved his effectiveness and productivity “massively.”

He’s boiled down the process to these three simple steps:
1.     List the top five high-level goals I need to work on.
2.     Decide what percentage of my time should be allocated to each one.
3.     Create recurring calendar blocks that map to those things.
“The key is being purposeful about what you focus on and how much time you’re going to devote to each focus area,” he says in this Medium post.
So there’s no secret or complicated process to making the most of your calendar. It’s really just knowing your goals and being intentional about blocking off time in your calendar to work on those goals -- ideally with a lot of focus. Start today.

Happy Timeboosting.