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7 Google Calendar Planning Tips

7 Google Calendar Planning Tips

Google Calendar is my choice for organizing my schedule. I don’t like Microsoft Outlook, but only because I loathe client-side applications for non-creativity-based processes. Here are 7 ways to use Google Calendar to better schedule your life, with a really cool add-on idea to boot.

  • Use Monthly View for Big Ticket Planning– Plan your life and obligations with a month’s eye view to begin with. Use this level to make sure you make time for the things that matter most. Having trouble spending time with your spouse or kids? Build time into the calendar first thing before planning the other obligations. Make exercise a priority by putting it in as a recurring event across the days you dictate in a month.
  • Use NEXT Week for Scheduling– Use weekly view but set it to next week. Make all your appointments for the week after this one, unless there’s a huge time requirement. This gives everyone a chance to arrange their calendars and priorities neatly. People will start to appreciate your scheduling method, and it’ll allow them to prepare for doing business with you.
  • Use Weekly View for Course Correction– As you approach events or activities, firm up your plans in the weekly view. If you have to delete exercise from Monday because you ended up having to take your kid to the doctor’s office, move it to Tuesday. Make sure you don’t “bleed” events, because they wouldn’t be on there, if you weren’t dedicating yourself to accomplishing them in the first place, right?
  • DON’T use Daily View – There’s just no reason.
  • Make a Tally– Count up what types of events are for one topic, which are for another, and make sure you’re balancing. Do you have 71 work-related calendar items and only 4 family? If family matters most, is it just that you’re not reflecting that time in your calendar, or are you missing something?
  • Invite Other People to use Google Calendar– Share your calendar view (or portions- there are granular settings for this), so that people can get a better sense of your time commitments. This might help them NOT bug you with trivial matters. It might prompt them to invite you to something to blow off steam, if they notice your calendar is blocked full. The best of what it does is give people some pre-warning as to how busy your life is. (This also helps cut down on friviolous offers).
  • Make good use of the Reminders Options– I have reminders ping my desktop email, my Gmail account, my phone, and about everything else I could configure. I want to make sure I don’t miss an appointment because some technology silo couldn’t get my attention. Sometimes, this is annoying (acknowledging all those things), but other times, it’s saved me from grave embarassment. Make sure you set the warning time to be long enough that you can take action, but not so long that you forget you were reminded.
  • BONUS IDEA:– Consider hiring a virtual assistant. Rates for virtual personal assistants like Sara Deutsch are reasonable enough (especially if they consider pro-rating for various tasks), and by sharing out your Google Calendar view, you might be able to enable a virtual assistant to help you with things like scheduling (imagine paying $30 a week for this service versus $5000 a year for a phone messaging company or $24,000 a year for a full salary employee). A virtual assistant can be an interesting way to farm out parts of our schedule to others, freeing us for things that matter more to us personally.

Those are my tips. What would you add to that list?

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–Chris Brogan has a full schedule this week, but is still booking appointments at [chrisbrogan.com]. His calendar has an event called Podcamp scheduled on Sept 9-10.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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