We are all looking for that one productivity app, that one life hack, that will give us more time to work on the things that are important to us. But how many of us have actually outlined concrete goals for how we spend our time?
We are often unaware of how much of our work time is swallowed up by meetings and business trips. A meeting pops up on our calendar, and as long as that space is open, we accept it. But do we ever stop to ask whether that meeting is even necessary? Will that meeting help us reach our goals?
Enter the calendar audit. Many of us never take the time to review our calendars and assess whether we’re spending our time wisely. Here’s one way to do just that.
Take a look at your calendar from last week, and ask yourself a few questions:
- How many hours did I spend in meetings?
- Did each of those meetings start with a clear agenda, and end with clear action items?
- How many of those meetings were internal vs. external? Should I be spending more time with colleagues, or with new business contacts?
- Do I have any recurring meetings? How long are they? Could they be shortened or replaced by an email update?
- Do I spend a lot of time driving from one appointment to another? Would it be easier for me to hold all off-site meetings at one location, and stack them over one day?
- Am I shifting focus constantly, with a staffing meeting followed by a strategic meeting, followed by a product update meeting? Could I designate blocks of time to stay in one focus zone, and move meetings into those blocks accordingly?
- Is there a time of day when I’m usually stuck in meetings? Does that coincide with my energy levels? Would it be better to block off work time at the beginning of the day, or at the end?
There are so many insights we can gain, just from reviewing our calendar. We’ve created Hourglass Report to help make that review a bit easier. Just connect your calendar to receive an instant report of how you’re spending your time, when you’re busiest, and who you’re meeting with most often.
As an executive assistant, this type of report could be integral in helping your executive meet their goals and make the most of their time; but don’t discount the importance of planning your time as well! Try it out on your own calendar; you may be surprised at how you’re spending your time.