MY CALENDAR BECAME OUT OF CONTROL
Earlier this year, my calendar and work time became out of control.
There were too many meetings scheduled, 50 % of little importance or clear agenda, 10 % of those meetings were not even in my calendar...like people pop by my desk to ask something "quickly".
But, besides my calendar, there were constantly emails flying in and my phone rang every five minutes. Conclusion: too many people wanted something from me. Plans to go on vacation got mixed with this very deep feeling of fear about coming back and opening the mail program of my macbook. After only 3 days off, there were already 600 emails waiting for me....
I felt, that I had no time to think, to become creative, concept strategies to be ahead of the competition or plan the next step for the business.
So I needed to come up with a well planned, but still flexible solution for me, in order to find more time for a) work, b) my mates who needed me, and c) for myself.
Below you'll find my latest calendar draft which so far, turned out very well for me. I have this structure since the beginning of this year, and of course , I iterated. I actually iterated a lot, I do this every week and check if my next week still fulfils the above a,b,c criteria. Let me know if you have additional tips here or if you'd like to give some input, thoughts or any feedback - always welcomed.
MY CALENDAR OVERVIEW
As my job is all about increasing demand and getting a clear message out there - which is sometimes in writing but 50% of the time visually organised - of course my calendar also ended up being coloured. Why? I can read my calendar in 5 sec if I want, as each colour represents something different. The more meetings I have, the easier it is to make sure to understand your next step of the day.
MONDAY'S NEVER START WITH KICK OFFS
While many people believe you should kick off your week with "alignment - meetings" in which you would talk about your weekly goal settings etc. , I realised that starting my week already with goals I need to achieve - really demotivated me. My cozy Sundays quickly turned into uncomfortable thoughts of "what I need to do on Monday" , and "have I prepared all my agendas for my kick off meetings". Nope - I don't suggest to kick off your Mondays like this. I'd rather groove into the first day of the week, finishing the "left over tasks" from last week, take time to structure this week and try to say everyone hello.
Since then, each day of my week actually has a "motto".
- Mondays: hi unu (as written above)
- Tuesdays: squad check in day (check in with all my team members, kick offs, alignment)
- Wednesday: remote or no meetings day (see #4 below)
- Thursday: performance (how do we do so far?)
- Fridays: check in with my pioneers (salesforce from unu) + campaign controlling as it is the last day of the week, prep what you want to get done next week
START WHEN YOU ARE IN THE ZONE
I can be quite a grumpy person if something doesn't go well but mostly when I wake up. I am not this "super early morning person" , I really need time to groove into the day, wake up and feel comfortable. Meetings early morning really stress me out, as I need my time to arrive, drink a zip of coffee, read through my emails and wake smoothly up in order to perform well later.
This is why my calendar is only available after 10 am every day. Not every team member respects this (even though my Google calendar sends out a warning if someone books me before 10) - but it is at least an attempt to only start when I am in my zone. It really helps me to start my day with good emotions and energy.
GO WITH YOUR ENERGY
Recently I read this article about "how to engineer your calendar around your emotions". Give it a read, it summarises very well how to maximise your physical, emotional and mental energy. Well, besides all my blockers for myself in my calendar, I usually try to split my days into two:
- mornings for myself
- afternoons for the team
That means: I can still dive into my day, get my stuff done and in the afternoon can fully concentrate on the work of my team, review work, chat with my team members, or sync some other projects.
WEDNESDAY = NO MEETING DAY
Wednesday is the best day of the week! A day to check in and see if the tasks you wanted to get done this week, are still realistically achievable. I always block my whole Wednesdays and really use them to get things done and off my bucket list. Most Wednesdays I am at home, where it is silent and I can really focus. In order to not feel alone the whole day, I usually schedule a good lunch with a friend or a team member (I only live 7 min from work) in my Kiez. And after that fully focused day, I manage to have time with myself and workout in the gym.