Control Your Calendar

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Leaders who don’t have control of their calendars will constantly be spinning out in the dirt without making much progress. Life will seem frantic and harried, yet it will be difficult to pinpoint what they are actually getting done.

I’m not the king of time management, but I do live and die by my calendar. Everything that is important in my life goes on my calendar. Here are six principles that help me:

1. Put priority items on your calendar first. You must put priority things (e.g., time with your spouse and kids, vacation, strategic planning, and vision time) on the calendar first. Otherwise you’ll never find time for those priorities.

2. Stack your meetings. If it’s within your control, try to schedule all your meetings on the same day or two each week. Stacking your meetings will keep you from getting bitter about meetings ruling your life, and it will leave you with a couple of days where your schedule is relatively open.

3. Schedule your rest. If you don’t plan for rest and renewal, it won’t happen. 

4. Manage your travel schedule. I think it’s important for anyone who travels regularly to find the right amount that balances family, business, and personal health.

5. Go home before the work is done. The work is never finished. Just go home! 

6. Leave room for people and leave room for God. It is easy to fill up your calendar and not leave room for what God might bring along your path. If my calendar is booked solid, I don’t have the flexibility when someone drops by my office or a crisis comes up that needs attention.

John Maxwell summed up calendar management this way: “The key to becoming a more efficient leader isn’t checking off all the items on your to-do list each day. It’s in forming the habit of prioritizing your time so that you are accomplishing your most important goals in an efficient manner.”

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