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Choosing and Organizing a Work-at-Home Calendar for Increased Productivity

work-at-home calendar organization tips

 

I’ve now been working from home for over 6 years and while I’ve enjoyed every single bit of it, I’ve also learnt that in order for me to grow without sacrificing my own peace-of-mind and that of my family, it is absolutely vital that I stay organized.

In my books for work-at-home moms and productivity management, I talk about personalizing systems in order to make them work for YOU, and today, I want to talk about personalizing a calendar for your life as a work-from-home mother.

Choosing the Perfect Calendar for You

I use 3 calendars for my life as a mom entrepreneur, but you may want to go with just one or maybe all 3. You pick.

My choices for calendar systems are:

1. Paper calendars- I love Leonie’s and now, Raine’s absolutely gorgeous eye-candy calendars. This year, I’ve printed out 6 months of calendars from Raine’s Lime Fruits Planners and 6 months from Leonie’s. Personalized productive tools!

2. Digital- I LOVE my Google calendar for the simple reason that I can share it with clients, invite people to meetings, check and update it on the go and since I work with clients worldwide, choose different time zones when setting a meeting and get reminders according to my local time. I believe you can do the same with the iCal and while I love my Mac, I love Google more. Hah!

 3. Excel and PDF Calendars- The other calendar I use for work is my Excel-based blog editorial calendar for mapping out our content and social media strategy for the month. You can download it for free here.  Once we’ve mapped out the content ideas and other details, I or a team member plugs in dates and post topics into Google calendar so we get reminders without having to check the Excel file every single day.

On the home management front, I like using PDF-style calendars that come in Jessica’s Organizing Life as Mom eBook that I can use to plug in my weekly and monthly home-related tasks, such as cleaning out the fridge and microwave, or deep cleaning the bathrooms or organizing the pantry/linen/closets, and so on.

Fill in, print out, put in binder, done.

Organizing the Calendar to Make it Work

I am a firm believer in making systems work for you and not the other way round. Your life, your needs, your goals are different from mine and so your system may be different too. Use the information below to simply guide you and probably spark an idea or two for how you may use a calendar to create harmony, order and balance in your life.

A calendar, whether digital or print, when overflowing with appointments, deadlines, projects and to-dos without is well, not a very smart organizational tool.

So, let’s organize our calendar to make them work, shall we?

1. Write down everything

Start by first writing down everything as it comes up. That is where something like a Google calendar or a handy appointment diary comes in. meet a friend and fix a play date, enter it right away so that a) you can check it doesn’t conflict with your schedule and b) you don’t overcommit yourself.

 2. List what is important to YOU

Use the calendar to ONLY list what’s important to you. Mine, for instance, includes only work, kids, home and self. I don’t manage the bills or bookkeeping so those don’t figure on my calendar but they are there on my husband’s. Depending upon what are your priorities, use your calendar to only list those.

Don’t clutter it up with everything under the sun. If you need to remember when to renew a magazine subscription, set a one-time reminder on your cell and be done with it.

 3. Color-Code… In Moderation

A lot of productivity experts (yours truly included) swear by color-coding and I do that with my daily planner, Google calendar and yes, even with my paper calendars . However, when used in excess, color coding can be well, confusing.

A calendar with red, green ,blue , yellow, orange and other colors of the rainbow can simply overwhelm you with just having to remember what each color stands for.

Instead, use a 3-color system. For example:

Red {time-sensitive}- Meetings, appointments, due-dates for client projects, renewal dates, deadlines.

Blue {schedule-related} – organizing projects, maintenance work, cleaning schedules and so on.

Yellow {fun and family-related} – Family, play dates, dinner parties

That’s what works for me.

Want in on more of my power productivity boosting secrets and strategies? Get your copy of Productivity 2.0: More Impact, Less Work today to learn how to create systems and strategies that work for greater success. 

Your turn:

What calendars do YOU use? How can you organize them to simplify+soul-ify your life?

Prerna


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Comments

  1. Great article Prerna! I completely agree that you have to adapt the planner to suit your needs and I LOVE that you’ve tailored different planners and use them for different purposes. I usually recommend using one planner to my clients but by separating the purpose of the planner, and having functions within it that suit that purpose, is wonderful!

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