Your email and calendar probably consume far more than their fair share of your time. After all, you have to sort through unnecessary junk and try to come up with organization systems that work for you. Email clients are trying to take some of the stress off you; Gmail has the Priority Inbox feature, Outlook has color categories and mail rules, and AOL is even launching a more visual organization program called Alto. These can all help you handle your email, but what about organizing your Outlook calendar? Try some of these ways to simplify and organize your calendar.
1. Color Code Your Commitments: You want to be able to see at a glance who you’re meeting with, or at the very least, what type of meeting it is. Perhaps you want to make meetings with your boss or superiors one color, meetings related to a particular project another color, personal appointments a third color, family commitments a fourth color, and classes you’re taking a fifth color. Even better, match these colors to the ones you use in your Outlook email for consistency.
2. Purge Old Meetings: It may sound silly, but a lot of people have recurring meetings on their calendar that don’t actually happen anymore, or that occur more sporadically. Rather than having to mentally filter past them, go ahead and take the time to delete them from your Outlook calendar. You’ll be more likely to use the calendar if you can trust that the information on it is always accurate and up-to-date.
3. Create Clever Titles: When you have the luxury of entering appointments that you’re actually looking forward to, have some fun with the titles. Write clever ones that will catch your attention and ensure you don’t forget to go to the appointment. For example, instead of entering “Son’s football game,” you may want to enter it as “Crush the Crusaders and Celebrate.” You can use the same strategy on appointments you’re not really looking forward to but need to make sure you don’t miss, too. Just make sure the titles aren’t offensive if there’s a chance your boss may see them!
4. Sync With Your Smartphone: Rather than relying on being near your computer to get reminders about your Outlook calendar appointments, install an app on your phone so you can access your calendar from there. You’ll get notifications right in your pocket, wherever you are, so you won’t miss a meeting. Or if you’re at a meeting that’s going to run late, you can just pull out your phone and cancel your next meeting easily.
5. Get an Outlook Repair Program: Once you’ve perfected your system and rely on your Outlook calendar to manage your life, you probably want to have an Outlook repair tool on hand. That way, if you have a computer crash or your Outlook files get corrupted, you have a very good chance of being able to recover the data and keep up with your schedule. It sure beats having to contact everyone you ever meet with and find out what appointments you have scheduled with them.
When you have a tool you rely on as much as your Outlook calendar, it makes sense to take steps to optimize it for your needs. Find systems and tricks that help you use it more efficiently and decrease your likelihood of missing important meetings or double-booking yourself. Then, once you’re confident that you’re organized, it should be much less stressful to manage your calendar on a day-to-day basis.