3 hacks for using your calendar and owning your time

Lori Milner from Beyond the Dress is a whizz at guiding you to complete every task in one day and own your time.

Busyness isn’t a badge of honour. Never taking deep breaths or being too full of adrenaline to have sound sleep isn’t smart. But how is it possible to complete every task in one day? We’ve all heard of time management and prioritising, and some of us have attended training. Yet effective and sustainable tools elude us and we’re still strung out. Lori Milner from Beyond the Dress is a whizz at guiding you to complete your work and own your time. Using our calendars is the key.

Here are three hacks.

1. White space
Having a chock-a-block calendar is a road paved to hell and stress. It may seem counter-intuitive, but leaving white spaces to complete tasks that are priority, but that cropped up at the last minute, is a way to own time. White spaces are important in between meetings or tasks. It’s never a good idea to schedule back-to-back meetings because you’re unlikely to digest information and have space for more.  

2. Blocked time
When filling in your calendar to plan your time, a good tip is using a portion of your day, or a large swathe of time to complete similar tasks, like payroll and other admin. Try and avoid opening your inbox, where you’ll undoubtedly get lost and distracted.  Lori says that multi-tasking is a myth and that your brain struggles with too many activities of different ‘themes’. Chances are that focus brings momentum which leads to productivity. 

3. Use your feet
You open your inbox and you see your colleague has scheduled a meeting that coincides with another important priority in your calendar, like writing a report on the quarter’s activities. Your colleague has however flagged the meeting as urgent. Lori suggests clicking tentative and walking over to your colleague to ask him or her whether your presence is absolutely necessary and if there’s a way either the meeting could be moved (ideally to a time when your calendar has white space) or if you could get a summary with action points afterwards. Don’t send an email to ask (unless that person isn’t in the same building), because the back and forth is a time-waster.
 
Do you need help ensuring that your calendar becomes sacred territory and to toughen up when it comes to time management? Head over to the CFO SA Training page and qualify for 10 percent discount with code CFO2018.

What your colleagues said about Lori and Beyond the Dress:

“We want to take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent service we received from you during the Graduate Programme. You were an excellent facilitator and I don’t think this programme would have been as successful without you. You have excellent work ethics and commitment. The graduates enjoyed the training immensely.”
Nivesh Lutchman – Learning and Talent Development Siemens South Africa

“We have worked with ‘Beyond the Dress’ to host several events held in celebration of Women’s month. Our experience with Beyond the Dress has been great. Lori and her team are always professional, organised, easy to work with, easily accessible, and were able to improvise when needed. Alexander Forbes considered it a real pleasure working with Beyond the Dress.”
Butsi Tladi – MD of Alexander Forbes Health