Millions of people turn to blogs, gadgets and apps in search of productivity advice. Despite having an inbuilt calendar on the smartphones (which about 1 in 3 people possess), only a fraction of people use it. So people who use it deliberately makes up for an even smaller fraction. Unless you’re planning how to spend your time, the world will determine it for you and that will not be a complete utilisation of your time as it will not be according to your potential. A good thing about the inbuilt calendar is that it is already there in your phone for free and you can access it without internet and at any time. Here are various types of calendar schedules you can use to manage your time wisely.
1. The Zero-Based Calendar
The goal is to have literally zero time unaccounted for that is you can not afford to waste time. The idea is that everything from date night, exercise, hobbies to work, it all goes on there. You could use colour coding for different aspects of your life differently and manage time accordingly. Like everything, it has its pros and cons. The cons are that :
a. You can't estimate exactly how much time each item will take.
b. Nothing unexpected happens and everything is planned.
a. you will get better at estimating and not be encountering any unforeseen events.
b. If you sprinkle this with an adequate amount of white space, you might soon find the threshold where it works.
2. 50% Time Buffer calendar
in this type, whatever task you put on your calendar, you execute it as usual and then extend the time allotted to that task by 50%. You can add this time at the beginning, at the end, or 25% for both, it is up to you. This idea is inspired by Greg McKeown’s Essentialism. For example, you have a 45-minute lunch, with this calendar you now have a little over an hour, so no rushing. You can even take a slow walk back to the office. Adding a 50% buffer to your hectic schedule is great and seems reasonable. The idea behind it is that you slowly learn to estimate time and will eventually bring down the buffer and manage time successfully.
3. Docket the fun stuff
Inspired by the ‘unscheduling’ by Dr. Neil Fiore this type of calendar takes a positive psychology-style approach to manage time. You schedule the fun events which you look forward to each week and give more importance to. The next step is to let work fill the rest as needed. Now you can work up your schedule according to your fun time and not the other way around. This type of calendar suits every kind of persons be it the creatives, the workaholics or remote workers etc. You don't need to "check your schedule" when anyone asks to make a plan.
4. Keep an hour a day for yourself.
Never underestimate the benefits of giving an hour or even 30 minutes to yourself each day. It helps you clear up your mind and keeps a step by step analogue and work done towards compounding your own dreams. Give an out to yourself doing one thing each day. Make this change to your calendar at least if you are not making any other changes to it. Do the one thing that you want to spend time on and get it over with so that you can manage time like you have scheduled without that thing lurking on your mind throughout the day. This idea was inspired by Warren Buffett's time management stories in his autobiography.