Organize your Calendar • Cat Morley

If you're tired of missing out on fun events, getting behind on important deadlines or feeling guilty that you missed a friend's birthday, then it's time to get an organized and efficient calendar you can trust. It may sound obvious but creating the perfect calendar is the only way to make sure you never miss out again!

A few weeks ago my friend Kirsty and I got chatting about organisation. She runs her own photo studio and shoots dozens of weddings each summer. With so much to juggle, I was curious how she kept herself organized and do you want to know what her secret weapon is? A colour-coded calendar! Inspired, I decided to get my own calendar up to date and share my tips with you.

1. Choose the right calendar

Selecting the right kind of calendar is one of the most important decisions on the mission to get organised. There are lots of options out there, and different things will work better for different people, but I'd suggest a calendar that you can carry with you at all times, so you can check it on the go and add appointments at anytime. I use the inbuilt calendar on my Mac which syncs between my desktop, laptop and phone. This is great because I've always got a calendar in front of me, wherever I am and it's always up to date. Pick something that will work well for you, find a a service to sync it like Google or iCloud, and keep it with you at all times.

2. Don't use it as a to-do list

It's tempting to use your calendar as an extension to your To-Do List but this can get really cluttery and confusing. Restrict your calendar to things that will happen on a fixed time and date, for example appointments, deadlines, birthdays, gigs & shows and reoccurring events. I like to think of it as what I will be doing vs. what I'd like to do be doing. If you will definitely be doing something on a certain date at a certain time then it belongs in your calendar and if it's just something you'd like to do around a certain time, then it belongs on your to-do list.

3. Add every event

A calendar is useless if you don't trust it, so make sure you list all of your appointments, meetings and commitments, no matter how big or small they are. Get in to the habit of adding new appointments as soon as they come up. If you use a Mac, then you'll notice that the system already highlights times and dates in emails and messages which let you create new events in your calendar with just one click. This is also the time to add all those little details like start time, end time, location and any other information in to the notes, or even link to your tickets or the event page. You can also add attendees to keep your friends organized and they'll be sent an email that updates their calendars with all the event information.

4. Organize your calendars

If you've got a hectic life, you can create multiple calendars to manage different jobs, projects and commitments. For example, I have a calendar dedicated to work related events, one for personal and one for fun things like gigs, shows and social events. You can assign a different colour to each calendar so that it's obvious what kind of events you have coming up. Kirsty uses colour coding to represent what kind of meeting she's having with her clients. So she'll have consultations in one colour and shoots in other, meaning that she can know how she needs to prepare with just a glance.

5. Subscribe to useful calendars

Once you've got your calendar all set up, it's time to start filling it up by subscribing to useful calendars. If you're on a Mac, the info from your Address Book automagically creates a Birthday Calendar which is really handy. You can also subscribe to shared calendars from your work or any clubs you're a part of. Similarly, you can create reoccurring events for things that happen on a regular basis like clubs you attend, noting when the recycling needs to go out or even when your favourite TV show is on.

6. Make it a habit

The most important step of all is that you remember to check your calendar regularly and add every new event as soon as it pops up. I've made it a habit to check mine first thing in the morning, before opening my email or even looking at my to-do list. I start by looking at my appointment for that specific day and then a couple of weeks ahead, making sure there's nothing I need to be preparing for - deadlines, birthdays etc. This usually takes less than a minute and gives me the confidence to get on with my day, secure with the knowledge that I'm where I'm suppose to be at that specific time.

Time sensitive tasks are the most important of all, so getting your calendar in order is essential to make sure you don't miss out on amazing opportunity because you forgot deadlines, appointments or commitments.

How do you use your calendar and do you have any tips for getting even more organized?