Advertising
Advertising

7 Ways You Shouldn’t Be Using Your Calendar

7 Ways You Shouldn’t Be Using Your Calendar
    photo by woody1778a http://www.flickr.com/photos/woodysworld1778/

    For some people, their calendar is the be-all-to-end, sacred tool of their productivity system. And for others it is just a dumping ground for anything and everything that they think they should do.

    And here is exactly where the problem is.

    Calendars aren’t meant to hold every piece of data that you need for getting things done. There are meant to hold time specific data that if it isn’t done at a certain time that is marked on your calendar, the task dies and it is too late to do.

    Let’s take a look at 7 different ways that you shouldn’t be using your calendar.

    Setting up false due dates

    Setting up false due dates will not only clutter your calendar, but will also make you frustrated and possibly even less productive. False due dates are those things that you add to your calendar when you say, “well, I think that I should have this part of my project done by this date here,” and then mark it with your fake due date.

    Advertising

    What this does is help you put off tasks that are related to that project until you are closer and closer to the date.

    This isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with milestones, but to put a hard date a piece of a project when it isn’t actually do will most likely set you up for failure.

    Time blocking

    This is another one of my pet peeves; something that I tried in school that never, ever worked. Time blocking is the idea of setting a portion of time in your calendar to devote to one specific thing that you need to get done.

    Maybe you have some work that you have been meaning to get done for some time now, so you “block” out 3 hours of your day to work on that one specific thing. Now, if you actually get through the 3 hours of working on that one thing that you need to do, you are a much better human than I and most others.

    The reality is that if you are a “knowledge worker” the chances of blocking out a portion of time to work on one thing is somewhat unrealistic and almost always gets ruined by something else that comes up.

    Advertising

    Instead of time blocking, try something like the Pomodoro technique or just starting a task or project with no expectation of how much you are going to work on it.

    Checklists

    People love lists, but calendars are not at all where they belong. If you are finding yourself putting things like, “make lunch, take out puppies, grab wallet, grab watch” etc., as calendar items or notes of a calendar item, consider using a checklist application or a simple piece of paper to keep track of this data.

    What I have found, is that if you aren’t actually checking things off the checklist and just looking at the items on your calendar, sooner or later you are going to overlook something.

    Sorry, but checklists are meant to be checked.

      Taking notes

      Some people take meeting notes or notes during an even on their calendar within the calendar’s notes field. This is not bad place for putting more information about an event in your calendar, like a description of the place where your meeting is, or a little reminder of what the meeting attendees names are. But, this isn’t the place for full fledged meeting notes.

      Advertising

      Try taking notes on paper or in a dedicated note taking programming (even a mass of text files will do). These are easier to link to or access later, rather than going into your calendar program.

      As a ubiquitous reminder repository

      This is an extension of the last two points.

      A calendar is meant for time and day specific things like meetings and tasks that must absolutely (and can only) be done on a certain day. Keeping all kinds of little pieces of data like reminders of things that need done in your day or even just information about something doesn’t really belong in your calendar.

      Once again if you need reminders of things try using a task management app and if you need to store information related to projects and things that need done, this type of data better belongs in a text file or even personal database.

      Keeping track of standard events

      This is something that I found myself doing up until just a few weeks ago; putting standard events like “Work” in my calendar. I think that this was to make myself “seem” more busy than I actually was. I mean why would anyone have to block out 8 hours everyday that says “Work” on it?

      Advertising

      I say if you have something standard that you do everyday like Work or go the gym or whatever, don’t clutter your sacred calendar space with it.

      Not using it

      And of course the most important way you shouldn’t be using your calendar is not using it!

      Hopefully by now you realize that your calendar is like a holy place, it is reserved for things that are going to “die” if they aren’t handled at the certain time or day that they are placed on the calendar. And because of this realization, not using your calendar to keep this type of information is setting yourself up forget things and not get these important things done.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

      To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You

      Trending in Productivity

      1 How to Find Your Keystone Habits to Change Your Life 2 7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now 3 10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age 4 5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning 5 How to Read Faster: 8 Simple Tricks to Triple Your Speed

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on November 5, 2019

      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

      Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

      This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

      Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

      Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

      Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

      To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

      What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

      Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

      LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

      On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

      Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

      5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

      There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

      Advertising

      With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

      Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

      Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

      1. Canvas Network

      Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

      Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

      Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

      To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

      Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

      Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

      Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

      The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

      Advertising

      In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

      2. Google Classroom

      This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

      Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

      Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

      With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

      Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

      Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

      3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

      If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

      Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

      It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

      Advertising

      Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

      Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

      4. Absorb

      This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

      Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

      Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

      The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

      Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

      The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

      Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

      Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

      Advertising

      5. Watershed Collaborative

      Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

      Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

      While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

      If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

      Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

      Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

      Honorable Mentions

      There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

      Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

      1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
      2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
      3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
      4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
      5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

      Conclusion

      There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

      Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next