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We all use calendars, but a calendar is only as effective as your strategies for using it. With a simple plan in place, you can get the most of your calendar in order to stay on top of your work and on time for your meetings. Here are five ways you can effectively use your calendar.

The Digital Calendar Advantage

While paper calendars have many advantages, with mobile phone apps and tools such as Google Calendar that can be viewed and exported in a variety of locations, there’s no reason why a digital calendar can’t work for most calendar users today. A cloud calendar like Google Calendar eliminates the possibility of losing your calendar or being unable to access it. In addition, Google Calendar makes it incredibly simple to invite others to events and to integrate messages from Gmail into your calendar with a few clicks.

Work with a Weekly Calendar

There are daily, weekly, and monthly calendar viewing options, and each has advantages. The daily view makes it easy to see how your entire day will unfold, the monthly view gives a great overview, and the weekly option makes it possible to fit in a few tasks each day without losing sight of the big picture. If you’re using a digital calendar, this doesn’t matter too much, but as a general rule for managing your calendar effectively, the weekly calendar provides the best balance of space to plan out each day without losing sight of the big picture of your week.

If you travel a lot or need to take frequent trips out of the office, the weekly calendar view will be especially important to ensure you don’t set up an important meeting after your red eye flight! In addition, if you use the weekly view, it may be easier to keep your schedule manageable—preventing you from overbooking yourself each day.

Keep Different Calendars

Stever Robbins at Quick and Dirty Tips suggests creating different calendars within your calendar program that you can add or remove depending on your situation. He writes, “When there’s an event I might attend, or if I’m going back and forth with someone scheduling an appointment, I put it in my Plan calendar. The Plan calendar is in a light color, so it looks tentative in my schedule. When plans become ‘real,’ I transfer the appointment to my Home or Work calendar.”

Google’s Calendar allows you to create these different “calendars” on your calendar screen so that you can modify which kinds of tasks you can see. This is a great way to cut down on the clutter on your schedule without losing sight of the different parts of your life.

Keep Track of Your Goals

One of the ways you can both track your progress and boost morale is to mark off the goals you’ve met on your calendar. It’s one thing to stare down a long list of tasks on your calendar in the morning and quite another to see a list of items you’ve crossed off at the end of the day. If you mark off what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be much more likely to effectively use your calendar to stay on task and on schedule.
Adam Dachis of LifeHacker suggests using “Jerry Seinfeld's don't break the chain method, in which simply adding a checkmark to a calendar daily keeps you dedicated to working toward a goal.”

Divide Your Tasks

Sometimes it’s tough to get into a productivity rhythm if you’re running in and out of the office all day. Even if you have an organized calendar, that kind of schedule can kill your productivity. Alan Henry writes at LifeHacker, “If your schedule is getting away from you, consider scheduling ‘in days’ where you're in the office all the time and focus on your to-dos, and ‘out days,’ where you run errands, meet clients, or attend meetings to get it back under control and establish some kind of routine.”

This division to your schedule makes it easier to batch your similar tasks together and to keep track of what’s going on and where you need to be.

Every professional has tips and hacks for staying organized and productive. As you test out these tips on your own calendar, keep in mind that breaking in to new habits can sometimes take a little bit of time. It may even work best to test one out a time. So long as you can find a way to stay on top of your schedule, you’ll be in good shape.

Author Bio:
The post was sent to us Lior Levin, an advisor to an Israeli-american company that created a passbook app to follow credit card charges on the iphone. Lior is also a consultant to a shopping cart abandonment service company that works with websites all over the world.
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