Effective Diary Management
“How do you have time for that?”
Ever watch how much someone else fits into their day and wonder ‘how on earth?’ surely they are wonder woman or have a bunch of hired help?
OR perhaps… they simply have a diary!
Effective diary management is essential
Effective diary management is essential, but often overlooked or can feel like it is double handling. I wanted to give you all a sneak peek into the steps that I personally take when planning out my diary that may also be effective for you.
How it all started and how you can too
I have reiterated this time and time again over the last 10 years- this is how I get s*it done. Funnily enough- my parents also had one- with water bills (farmers/winery owners) with dates and school terms etc it worked wonders and I believe has set me up to be effective in time management.
To get started, I use two different diaries:
- A paper (week to a page) diary which lives on the kitchen bench.
- An i-Cal which is synced with my phone and computer, but also whomever else I wish to share it with.
A perfect example of this is my kids' activities are in an i-Cal shared with Nathan so that we are both across it.
My personal appointments are kept in a private calendar and my work commitments are shared with my staff so they can lock in appointments accordingly.
These are all colour coded to avoid confusion and allows everyone access to the right information without even having to ask. Below is an actual snapshot of my iCal.
What's in our family diary?
Our family diary contains family movements, deliveries, extra curriculum activities, events, sleepovers, shopping lists, the girls care hours required etc
I cannot express how much this has changed my life when it comes to the overwhelm and mental load that myself as a mum of 4 and business owner carries. I have taught the entire household to at least check the diary before coming and asking me- because 9/10 it answers their question. It creates independence but also stops your head from remembering all of the trivial things- like the days of sports uniform, whether it is long sock day or if they need to take their instrument to school.
It depends how in-depth you wish to plan within your diary- however, it can also help to pre-plan your weekly meals. When done every Sunday it can be a fast task that the kids love. It will help with budgets and shopping too! Plan out meals that can be used for lunch the following day- double win!
When it comes to the effective management of a busy schedule, the biggest tip I can pass on is time blocking!
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Time blocking is key
Do you ever finish a day of work and think ‘what the heck did I actually achieve today?’ between chatting with a colleague, working on 21 things at once and not completing anything- this allows a dedicated time-space for effective time management.
By single-tasking your time, you can be up to 80% more productive than trying to achieve a bunch of tasks at one time.
If this is something you feel may work for you- start with time blocking your essential time requiring blocking:
- Travel to work (you could also use this to upskill with a podcast or audiobook)
- Sleep (try and set the same time nightly- realistically time blocked)
- Reoccurring events or meetings
From there, block out your personal priorities- obviously you’re creating this as you want a change- whether that is get to the gym daily, read a book for 30 minutes or actually have a lunch break at work.
Whatever it is- schedule that in.
Then, add in your meetings and appointments. Schedule in 15 minutes in the morning to check your emails (because we all know you will anyway!)
I believe at this point you may be feeling a little overwhelmed with just how little time we do actually have in our days. Correct?
This is why before adding in appointments etc we added in the high priorities that are important to you- the reason you want to start a diary.
Notice we never HAVE time- we MAKE time.
Encourage your colleagues to do the same- this way, perhaps you are both working on the same project and can collaborate- at a time that works for both of you.
I am not sure about you, but the satisfaction of ticking off tasks is SUCH a great feeling- so allowing dedicated time to get through things is a great feeling, rather than working on everything but never getting anything ticked off.
Once a week allow a brain dump session, with tasks you can then offload into asana.
If you don’t already have an asana account, I highly recommend signing up and downloading. It allows you to have certain projects, assign tasks, subtasks, follow up, deadlines and reminders! So so effective for productivity!
What are your favourite time management tips or apps you cannot live without? Let me know below! 👇