Best Practices for Scheduling Your Day and Setting Appointments Part III of III

21. Journal your meeting notes.  Many people don’t know how to use the Journal feature in Outlook or even what it’s for!  If you’ve ever accidentally clicked it, you’ll get a pop-up box that asks you if you’re SURE you want to turn on the Journal.  Most people freak out and click NO.  Next time, click yes.  Open a new Journal entry, type up your meeting notes, put in the day/time of the meeting, indicate in the Contacts field who was at the meeting, and select a Category for the meeting name or project.  When you select that Contact and click the Activities tab, you’ll be able to see the Journal entries (notes) from every meeting you’ve ever had with that person. You can also pull up your Journal entries by Category to review meeting notes as far back as you’d like.  OR give your notes to … [Read more...]

Best Practices for Scheduling Your Day and Setting Appointments Part II of III

11. Keep your calendar up to date.  It’s frustrating when your colleagues are trying to set up appointments, and it appears that you’re open, so they send out a meeting request to a large group.  You respond, “Sorry, I have a conflict on that day/time,” to which they respond by banging their heads on the desk in frustration, asking, “Then WHY didn’t you have it on your calendar?”  Truly, if an organization is going to predictably use shared calendaring to coordinate meetings, you must keep yours current.  It’s fine to use a traditional paper method as well, but if you schedule something on your “other” calendar, make sure to update your electronic one at regular intervals as well. 12. Include travel time in a single appointment and put the actual meeting time in the subject.  If your … [Read more...]

Best Practices for Scheduling Your Day and Setting Appointments Part I of III

Numbers 1-10 of 30 scheduling tips: 1. Determine if you really need to meet in person.  How many times have you attended a meeting and asked yourself, “Why am I here?”  Hopefully, you’ve started protecting your time from every person who wants a piece of it.  If my clients want to meet in person, I charge a consulting fee.  For telephone calls, no charge.  Ninety percent of the time, a conference call will suffice.  Extra travel time and expenses are involved when meeting in person, so avoid it unless dialogue and brainstorming are required. 2. Have meeting requests and responses go to your delegate, not to you.  Don’t wade through all the responses; that’s why you have an assistant (if you do).  Under Tools, Options, Delegates, select “Send meeting requests and responses only to my … [Read more...]

6 Ways to Balance Evening Commitments With Family Life

Today we have a treat: a guest post by my colleague and fellow productivity blogger Mike St. Pierre.  He writes an excellent blog called The Daily Saint.  I highly recommend you check it out and subscribe to his feed. All teachers can relate to THE FINAL WEEK.  It's that week when your seniors graduate and then some.  There is usually a parents reception, Baccalaureate celebration and often a sports banquet- all of which occur at night.  So how do you balance this with seeing the little ones at home or that spouse that misses you? Practice the two night rule.  I discovered years ago that when I am away from my family for two straight evening commitments, I wouldn't see my kids for nearly three days.  This is difficult because it puts a lot of pressure on my wife and of course the … [Read more...]

Protecting your calendar from others: managing availability

While working with Teresa Gavigan, one of my clients, on her office organization, we talked about the challenge she was having with an overly booked calendar and what to do about it.  She had recently taken over another entire division and was splitting her time between the two groups, which were in two different buildings.  She had ceded her calendar over to her assistant but hadn’t set any boundaries around what meetings to accept and what to decline.  Her assistant was accepting meetings tentatively, which resulted in Teresa often being double and triple booked.  She told me she frequently felt like she was “having a Lucy Ricardo moment” as she dashed over to one meeting, then over to the next, then back to the other, never wanting to let one or the other down.  After months of … [Read more...]