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Using a Diary or Calendar at Work

Updated on August 28, 2016

Calendars Are Everywhere

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Things to Avoid When Calendar Shopping

  1. Children's Calendars Although they can be very bright and colorful, calendars that are made for children are pretty useless in the office. The quality and construction are lacking. The paper is thinner. The pages are generally glued in.
  2. Promotional Calendars. Calendars that are small and cheaply made. You won't have room to write the complete events of your day.
  3. Student Calendars. Calendars that end mid year, such as those made for students. These are generally for recording homework assignments and grades, not workplace appointments.
  4. Vanity Calendars. Calendars that are filled with photos since that allows less space for writing.
  5. Desktop Calendars. Calendars that are too large, because you won't take them with you everywhere.



Selecting a Calendar to Write In.

Selecting a calendar (sometimes called a diary or journal) is very important. Ideally, the one that you choose should have room to write activities and should note important holidays that your local government observes.

Make sure that your calendar has pages that are bound well. If you are going to be using your calendar, you need to go through the pages and make sure that this is true. I once bought a calendar for my briefcase that was useless in less than a month because the pages were glued in rather than bound in.

I also like to look at the spine and the corners. If the corners in the front cover are protected and covered with metal, that is great because with the constant use, they will not wear down. If they are not covered with metal, I will sometimes cover them with a heavy tape as soon as they start to show signs of wear.


Make the Most of Your Calendar Writing Space

Use Abbreviations. A great calendar will allow you to write several things down. With a virtual online calendar, your space is unlimited, and it is easy to get so much clutter going on that you don't see everything. Your paper calendar should list your highlights. I also send reminders to my phone of things with different alarms. (Day before, day of, 2 hours before, 1 hour before, 30 minutes before.)

I use my calendar that I carry around to remind me of the most important things going on that day. I don't try to fill the spaces up with inane garbage and you should do the same. If it is optional or personal, unless you are going to be leaving your office to do it, personal things go in your personal calendar at home, business things go in your business calendar at work. The more organized that you are, the more productive that you are. Filling up the calendar so that it can look more filled wastes your resources of YOU. You are your own best resource!

What Do You Look For In a Calendar?

What do you look for in a calendar

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Merging Your Calendar With an Online Calendar

There are loads of online calendars out there. Pick one that you can use, and if you have a smartphone, select a calendar that you can access from there. Every day at the end of your day, enter all of the new entries in your written calendar to your online calendar or vice versa. By having both, you are protected in the event that your online calendar loses data. (It happened to me.)

Everyone in an office that I work with uses the Google Calendar feature and adds people to events, which dynamically adds it to my calendar. I am told immediately via notification of all of the changes that are happening, and I also can see if there is a conflict that I need to address. For those using Google Calendar, there are a ton of resources out there to make sure that you are getting the most from your Google product. I also like the fact that I can color code things in the Google Calendar so that I know very quickly what I am looking at.

I still keep a paper calendar. Things happen, I don't always want to scroll through my phone, sometimes I am out with clients and I can go over with them the importance of picking a date by showing them the openings or lack of openings that I currently have.

Additionally, by noting the event twice, you are much more likely to remember it.


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Make Your Time Count

Anything that is going to take longer than 15 minutes should be either reconsidered for its' importance or noted in your calendar.

Lunch can be productive or it can be lunch. If you are not having lunch with someone to solve a problem, mentor someone else or meet with a mentor, why are you not doing this? still be mindful of your time, but use the time that you are at work for work. Looking through Facebook and seeing friends online is not going to help with your career.

Make the most of all of the spare moments of your workday.

Don't Reschedule Something New Yet

Yes, sometimes things come up. Before you automatically reschedule something else, see if you can schedule the new event for earlier or later. If you can't, don't confirm the new item until you reschedule the old item. Commitments should always be honored. Additionally, your time is valuable. I once worked at a place where hardly anything seemed to get done because we were always in meetings. When the business failed, they had a meeting about it! I was already at a new job because I did not need that lack of professionalism in my life. The same goes about rescheduling. Don't do it if you don't need to.

By moving things all over your calendar, you are proving that you cannot be depended on. A calendar is there to clear up your life, not make it a mess.

Calendars For Resume Building Projects

Every single time I complete a big project at work, I ask if there is anything that I learned from this project. If the answer is yes, I add the skills I learned to a word document that I have at home called "Resume Skills". Sometimes, looking at my calendars will remind me of key clients I have dealt with as well as skills I learned. As soon as I remember these, I add them to the resume. Once a year, even though I am in the same job, I update my resume, because you never know when you will need it.



Use Down Time For Projects

At the beginning of the day, I write two lists as soon as I get to my desk. One is of the 6 things that I want to get done that day. I make it a point to work that list as best I can to get those things done before anything else.

The second list I create is what I call a "Down Time" list. This is a list of things that I want to get done but don't seem to have the time to do so. If I have 5 minutes, I can send out a client email. 10 minutes, I can make a client call. 15 minutes will allow me to review a file or update something online. You get the idea. Even a few minutes will contribute to my overall usefulness.

Since I have been doing this, I now look at my calendar when I have downtime to see if there is a project that I can get started on, add to, revise or in some way get something done on it.


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