I usually learn a lot when I consume anything that comes from the desk of David Sparks. Two sentences from his recent newsletter have really helped me to manage my calendar. The key move, it seems, is an old one: you can improve your management of your calendar (or to-do list / task list / project list) by improving your management of yourself.
The trick to all of this is being honest with yourself. If you set these appointments with yourself to manage big projects but don’t keep them, you lose faith in your system and the wheels start falling off (https://www.macsparky.com/blog/2016/12/tasks-vs-calendar-events).
What this means for me is that, assuming I’m not interrupted by something urgent, I’m trying to be meticulous about completing items that I put in my calendar, even if I don’t feel like doing them. So, today, I scheduled an hour to write and email a recommendation letter. It’s not due until February 15, so I could have brushed off the reminder when it appeared. But I completed the task (in 5o minutes) and now I don’t have to think about it again. My system gets stronger, according to the inversion of Sparks’ logic, when I stick to it.
Then, as a bonus, I used the extra 10 minutes in my schedule to take a walk around the building. This move was prompted by the advice of my friend Reshan Richards, which he shared with our Global Online Academy class via Slack recently: