Why Your Calendar Is the Best Tool to Get Things Done
The search is over
I set out at the beginning of 2020 to make it a year of doing. I am someone who has a lot of ideas and a lot of goals. But year after year, I never get them all done.
According to a study by the University of Scranton, 92% of people fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.
So based on that stat, it doesn’t sound like I am alone. But I knew if I wanted different results in 2020, I would have to try some new things, so that’s what I did.
The new thing I tried wasn’t anything fancy. I didn’t start meditating or doing anything out of the box. I just started leaning on my calendar. In the rest of this article, I am going to explain why a calendar is the most incredible productivity tool you aren't using. And how you can start getting that list of to-dos to a list of to-dones.
*Side-Note: Not all goals are about money, weight loss, and careers. An important goal that I see a lot of people not give enough emphasis on is their commitments to friends. I touch on how using your calendar can help out with that as well.
Creates a Deadline
The biggest benefit I have noticed with using my calendar is that it adds a deadline. This deadline creates a sense of urgency.
In an article by The Balance Small Business, it says, “deadlines are designed to help you move closer to your goals every day, week, and month.”
When you put a due date on something and that day comes and goes, and you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do, it is disappointing. It creates a feeling that you let yourself down. I know this kind of motivation is not for everyone, but it sure does motivate me.
A personal example of where setting a deadline motivated me was just last week. I have been talking about offering financial coaching, for it feels like years, and I would never actually do it. This week, while I was texting one of my friends, I said, “Hey, let’s have a call next Tuesday and trial this coaching thing out.”
In this instance, using the calendar created a due date that I had to meet. It is no longer someday I will do coaching; it is now next Tuesday.
The above example also shows how using a calendar can create accountability with others.
A research study out of Ohio State University said it helps you achieve your goals by sharing them with other people, as long as you tell that other person. That was the biggest caveat. If you didn’t respect the person you were sharing with, it did not do much to increase your commitment to achieving that goal.
I mentioned earlier that I think a lot of people don’t put enough emphasis on creating and keeping goals around friendship.
The next time you see a friend and someone says, “We should do this more often.”
Take your phone out and put it on your calendar. When you create the event, put your friend's email in there so that the event will show up on their calendar as well. The number of times people will flake on these kinds of plans is shockingly low. Try it and let me know what happens.
Creates a Reminder
So I maintain two calendars. I have the one on my phone, which is the master calendar. Then I have a weekly calendar on my refrigerator that I update every Sunday.
I saw an article basically saying I am not unique in this trend. This article by Fast Company said this practice is a norm in Asian cultures. It is now just beginning to become increasingly popular in the West.
There is just something about writing things down that typing cannot capture.
Along with my weekly view, I also put my daily tasks on my refrigerator. It helps me stay productive and gives me quick projects to do when I need a minute away from the screen during this work from home time.
Also, by living on the fridge, I am continually confronted by these tasks, in a way that a phone app can’t accomplish.
I included a link to the fridge calendar I use at the bottom of this article.
If you want to start getting more done and are tired of reading articles about productivity hacks, the search is over. The solution is right in your pocket and hopefully very soon right on your fridge.
So the quick recap of why your calendar is your missing productivity tool:
Creates a Deadline - helps you drive toward progress.
Creates Accountability - create calendar events with other people
Creates a Reminder - Write your calendar down somewhere you will frequently see it.
If you start using your calendar more and start moving some of those goals from doing to done (kanban reference), let me know by sending me an email at email@example.com!