Using Your Calendar While Still Being Flexible

Most time managers use either a digital or physical calendar for keeping track of their appointments and planned activiites. But using a calendar can feel constraining, because you are less flexible. What can you do about this?

Why Using A Calendar Can Feel Constraining

If you, like me, use your calendar to block of pieces of time, than a calendar can feel constraining. You see in your calendar that you should be working on X, Y or Z. And if you do anything else during that time you might feel bothered, as you know you should spend your time on this other activity. But, that is also kind of the beauty  of using a calendar. It can really help you get things done.

At the same time, if you want to plan all of your to-do’s in your calendar your schedule will fill up quickly. Leaving no room for spontaneity or unexpected events. And, whether you like it or not, unexpected events (e.g. emergencies) will happen. Some events are nice and pleasant, while others demand your attention before things spiral out of control.

This begs the question: can you trust a calendar while still remaining flexible?

The Answer..

Yes, you can.

It is possible to rely on your calendar, which holds most of your important activities and appointments, while still leaving room for spontaneity and unexpected events. Let me give you some general guidelines on how to use your calendar, while still allowing space for creativity, spontaneity and room for unexpected events:

Never block of more than 60% of your time.

So if you work 8 hours a day, never block of more than 5 hours of your time. Leave at least 3 hours open for spontaneity.

This is the golden rule for using your calendar. Never block out more than 5 hours per day. There will likely be some form of unexpected events that will happen. If you have blocked all, or almost all, of your time, you will be stressed. You can’t do everything which will lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. You will feel rushed throughout the day if you have to much scheduled in your calendar.

My advice: make use of your calendar but don’t schedule more than 5 hours of your time. This includes appointments, meetings and blocks of time that you schedule to work on your most important tasks.

Bonus tip: Try and limit your to-do list to just 3 things. I know. That sounds crazy and difficult. But these 3 things are sure to be the most important tasks for this day. Having a to-do list of 20+ items is sure to put a lot of pressure on you. So pick just three things to do, finish those within 5 hours and use the remaining time to be creative and spontane.

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