If you are a knowledge worker, chances are you rely on your email and calendar as the silent assistants who direct your life. My Outlook calendar tells me when to go to a meeting and who to meet, when to start my work, when to go home or even when to have a lunch. If you are working in one company or on one position for some time your calendar may start accumulating meetings that made sense some time ago but may not bring you the value today. Solution? Just delete your calendar every now and then and start from scratch.
It helps you to prioritize
To delete your calendar and start from zero is a great way to think and prioritize. Our jobs are changing and evolving over the time and maybe today you need to focus on different tasks and have a different set of meetings than you had six months ago. This exercise is a way to push you to think about your goals and your priorities. You should then align your calendar to fit this picture.
It helps you to get rid of useless meetings
After deleting your meetings I would suggest you give it some time before filling up the calendar again. What I do every six months is to delete everything and put back only the really important couple of key meetings. And then wait. If there are some other meetings that you cancelled and they really brought value it will be discovered pretty quickly either by you or others who will speak up and ask for the meeting. If no one misses it then it probably wasn’t that important in the first place.
It helps you to re-target your one-on-ones
If you are like me and your team is constantly growing and changing you may have calendar full of coaching, mentoring or just synchronization sessions with tons of people. The thing is, if you are not careful you may end up with tens of these one-on-ones a week and most of them may not have the impact they used to. Isn’t it better to regularly delete all of them and make some hard choices of who are the people that you should focus on right now? Maybe the guy who you’ve been mentoring for two years doesn’t need it as much as the one who just started. To regularly force yourself to re-evaluate your one-on-ones will also increase the real impact you have on your team as you spend your time where it is really needed.
I was struggling with this concept for some time until I changed my location. It wasn’t enough to change my role as I still could keep the old meetings and just add bunch of new ones, I had to relocate to geographically remote location (the Philippines) in my case with vastly different time zone so most of my former meetings ended up at around midnight. You can imagine it was very easy to delete them and reschedule the key ones to more suitable time. Since then I delete my calendar every six months and keep it uncluttered and focused on the right stuff. I would urge you not to wait till you move to a different country but just go and delete your calendar today!
What are your tips and tricks on how to make sure you don’t fill up your calendar with irrelevant meetings and tasks?
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