An integrated calendar is a simple idea — after all, it’s just putting everything on one calendar — but it’s quite powerful. Nearly every executive that I’ve heard talk about their calendars reached the same conclusion — that the only way to be successful across one’s personal and professional priorities is to manage those priorities in a unified way.
Alan Mullaly, former CEO of Ford and Boeing said this well:
“…I don’t have separate buckets of my life, like my family life or my personal life or my work life. I just have one integrated schedule…”
So all I have to do is just use one calendar?
Well, yeah, that’s the tactical step.
The bigger change is eliminating the line you draw between work and personal. When I started my career, I thought there needed to be a bright line between the two. Couldn’t let anyone see me checking Gmail at work! (Ancient history note: I started work prior to the iPhone and mobile apps.)
The problem is that work is an insatiable monster. It will take all the time you will give it. Work will never draw that bright line for you.
Hence a basic conclusion: if work will request my time after 5pm and on the weekends without apology, there’s no need for me to apologize for putting personal needs into M-F, 9–5pm.
A sample of things on my “work” calendar:
- My wife’s travel
- My kid’s doctor appointments (regardless of whether I plan to attend)
- My nonprofit board meetings
- Two standing appointments to work out
- Travel time to external meetings
…But Here’s the Big Idea
There are several benefits to having an integrated calendar:
- You are less likely to miss meetings or accidentally double-book yourself;
- You’ll have one place to get information, shortening the time and energy spent searching; and,
- Forcing others at work to schedule around your personal priorities.
This last point is key. In the same way that you manage your professional priorities by putting the most important ones on the calendar first, it’s worth treating your personal priorities in the same way.
Finally, a busier calendar makes you seem more important, so you’ll probably make more money and get promoted more often. :)
I want to hear your thoughts!
This is a “living post,” in that I’d like your help to add to make it more valuable. What have you tried that is similar? Have any stories about the impact of using a tool like this? Please share!
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