Has keeping track of your schedule become a mammoth task? What if you are also responsible for someone else's schedule such as your direct reports or perhaps your manager? To do it well requires more serious attention to detail. Here are five overlooked tips to help you become a better calendar planner:
#1 ) Down time.
When adding an event to your calendar, keep enough space between appointments for your own downtime. Think about this, when you have back-to-back meetings you’ll need a break in between to decompress and recuperate your thoughts. If you don’t have that option, reviewing your calendar the night before to prepare your notes for each meeting in advance will help you keep on the ball.
#2 ) Stay on top of information.
Anytime you have a meeting, pay attention to what that person drinks; their taste in food; allergies they might have; and preferences in general. Also, pay attention to when they talk about someone or something in their life that makes them happy. These “golden nuggets” of information should be recorded down somewhere unless you can remember them off of the tops of your head.
I generally use my contact notes section to record down these pieces of information. Should I set up another meeting or get together in the future, I will know that I could suggest their favorite coffee shop or restaurant, or even order their favorite drink in advance, to pleasantly surprise them.
#3 ) Plan for travel time – then add twenty minutes.
A really great tool I like to use is Waze, you can look the day before at what the travel time will be for you to arrive at the time you want. It calculates the general daily traffic patterns at a specific time to give you the best answer. The one thing to remember when using this app is that it cannot predict traffic accidents or crazy weather.
#4 ) Set reminders for yourself.
If you are someone who needs prompting when there’s an upcoming meeting, sending yourself multiple reminders is the best tactic. I will go through phases where I don’t check my calendar for two days straight because I’ve given myself a technology timeout. Then I have to force myself to jump back on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, I’ve run late for meetings because of this. So this is what I now do.
Generally, your email will offer you to set up reminders days/hours/minutes in advance. Try also using your phone alarm. If you are in a different time zone, make sure you double-check the timing so you are on the same page.
#5 ) Confirm the day before or the morning of.
This is considered to be courteous for you are subtly reminding the other party about your meeting. Perhaps they forgot or maybe they need to postpone. Your thoughtful reminder gives them the opportunity to plan properly and it shows professionalism on your part. It also says without saying that you value their time.
These complimentary tips will advance your soft skills. Take your time seriously, be considerate of the other person/people you’re meeting with, and by doing so you’ll show that you are the "better professional."
About the author, Janika LeMaitre
Jan is a certified etiquette advisor, specializing in personal brand strategy. Her mission is to provide life-changing soft skills for business owners and industry trail-blazers to self-manage and evolve their reputation. Jan is certified with the Protocol School of Washington® and The British School of Excellence™. In addition, she is the board president of Women's Business Group Connects, and as a second-generation Rotarian, proudly serves as a board director at the Rotary Club of Weston & Wayland.
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