8 Ways To Avoid Calendar Fire Drills

Having an appointment calendar is helpful. Having a calendar that can be accessed quickly on a mobile device is even more helpful.

Until it isn’t.

A calendar, like any other time- or labor-saving device, can make a servant out of its user, instead of the other way around. In her book “Thoughtfully Ruthless,” Val Wright calls this reversed relationship “Calendar Chaos” and she highlights the eight common mistakes managers make when managing their calendars.

  1. The calendar spawns a life of its own. Regularly cull the calendar for meetings that have grown into the regular calendar;
  2. Failing to say no to meetings. Stop automatically accepting every meeting;
  3. Failure to delegate properly. Ask the team for feedback on meetings they attended or whether the manager should have shown up at meetings the person declined;
  4. Being disconnected from core priorities. Track the spending of time over a two-week period and compare to how the time should be spent;
  5. Forgetting to reset after changes. Do a quarterly cleanup of the calendar;
  6. Ignoring the power of the executive admin. They manage the calendar and have the greatest insight into it;
  7. Failing to schedule the to-do list. Schedule the list into the calendar; and,
  8. Lack of a thoughtfully ruthless calendar plan. Wright suggests having a “my choice” hour in the last hour of the day.