Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Don't double-book yourself

Do you ever double-book yourself for appointments?

I stopped doing that a long time ago, since I hate having to apologize for missing important events. Here’s how I did it.

I cut down two or three calendars and myriad emails and scraps of paper  to just ONE calendar, plus one notebook that I regularly “empty” into that calendar.

It seems like a simple enough habit, but I know plenty of people who don’t take their calendars seriously enough – and many of them pay the price. This boggles the mind when you realize that so many people carry phones and tablets that contain calendar software. Online options like Google Calendar are also robust – and free.

I’m not saying you need to forgo paper and pen. (I do, since I want my calendar, and other data, backed up.) The tool you use doesn’t matter, as long as you use just one and you use it consistently.

This habit won’t prevent events from being scheduled at inconvenient times, but you can at least check your calendar and quickly tell people that you can’t make their events due to prior commitments, then talk about how to handle this conflict. This makes you look a lot more organized than does a hasty apology or excuse later on because the meeting information got buried in an overflowing inbox.

Sometimes people want to keep their own personal calendars but they need to maintain calendars at work as well, using software like Microsoft Outlook. If you’re in this situation, here’s what you do: when you create events in your work calendar, invite yourself to those events using your personal email address.

When the invitation comes to your personal email inbox, accept it. The event then shows up in your personal calendar – your one “full” calendar – so you don’t run the risk of booking personal events on top of can’t-miss work events.

If this tip doesn’t work properly, read this blog post for a potential answer.