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How to Use a Calendar Effectively

Lesson 7 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

How to Use a Calendar Effectively

Lesson 7 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

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Lesson Info

7. How to Use a Calendar Effectively

Lesson Info

How to Use a Calendar Effectively

Here's what we've covered so far focusing on task we've gone beyond the to do list so we've talked with some stools and tools and strategies that you can use to move forward but I want to focus on one critical component to task management in time management that not a lot of people pay attention to in the right way and that's calendar management now we all have calendars right you guys now how many of you I guess right off the top I want to find out uh you have a paper counter and digital or do you just use one of the other jamie think okay, I have one possible when I carry with me most of the time gotcha the little I cried paper but justice doesn't work okay same just google calendar I like looking at the paper calendar but it doesn't do anything gotcha. Okay, so we're gonna we're gonna get you to a point where maybe maybe the analog counter can help you a little bit or some of the practical tools we're gonna put on attack on the la counter you can translate to the doodle round so tha...

t you can stay in the digital around a bit more with it but yet use it in the same way so I want to talk about what goes on a calendar uh and this is back to g d practices again david allen has said on I'm paraphrasing him here but really, the only thing that should go on a counter our date specific appointments or, as I like to say, agreements, agreement's going counters and those air agreements with little to no flexibility. So, jamie, you were talking about appointments that you have to be at. The reason that that goes on a calendar is because you have involved somebody else in that process or they've involved you in that process. Exactly. So you can't exactly say to them, you just can't not show up right now. You, khun, change that agreement if you want, you can say, hey, you know, jennifer, I I'm sorry, I can't meet today eight o'clock can we arrange to meet tomorrow at eight o'clock? And as long as you agree to that that's fine that's an agreement that we've made and then we've changed the agreement, but nothing would probably take you off more than if I said, uh, hey, uh, I know it's a half hour before I'm supposed to be there, but, uh, can we cancel? He'd be like, well, that throws your day off, right? That was what you've got going on off. So agreements are very important, and this is one of those things that a lot of people don't realize they put tasks on calendars. They'll say this is my this is when I have to do this by or this is a task that needs to be owning this date and the problem when you do that what you're doing is you're hyper scheduling or the about a boy syndrome chris is laughing with because you talked about this yesterday. So how many of you guys seen the movie about a boy you have? Okay, so well what jamie has but christina you have you seen it too? Right. Okay, so in about a boy, which is by nick nick hornby not hornsby, not bruce hornsby, not it's nick hornby. I always mess that up, but about a boy is a movie. We started hugh grant and actually the guy who plays beast in the new x men movies nicholas hold although he wasn't beast back then he was like a little guy. So anyway, um, what happened was you grant was basically making use had a comfortable life. I think he and correct me if I'm wrong cinephiles but I believe at this point he is making money off of the royalties of the song that his dad wrote so his day was pretty easygoing, right? But he's scheduled in fifteen minute increments so he had a routine like fifteen minutes to make coffee fifteen minutes in the shower, fifteen minutes to do this and then what happened one day is a boy showed up how do you think it's schedule one assumes the boy showed up get a few hours a few laughs a few right do you think he was able to keep up with that schedule that routine no because the boy again like I talked about off the top kids their task focused they're not time focused right so they're just like I need this now I want to do this now we don't have time right now I want to do this now anyway you know there's a demand there that isn't there before uh so when you hyper schedule you leave no room for flexibility you leave no room for the boy to show up and throw your day out of whack okay and the boy can come in many different forms uh okay an email that you really have to deal with um a uh let's see um gosh another example uh a kitchen fire at a kitchen fire happened I've actually got a hand burn here happened last last august I didn't plan for that fire to happen it just happened like it was something that happened that was a boy to me like that's a form of a boy and like threw everything out of whack right it's a bit of extreme in that regard but there are certain things that show up that will throw your day out of whack and if you schedule it too tightly if you put all these tasks on if you time chunk that's one of the reasons why I don't time chunk by time I just used an amount of time per se you avoid that about a boy syndrome of coming up okay, so when you add tasks to your calendars, what you're saying is I want to fill my day up so fault that I have no room to put anything else in there that either I can come up or that matters to me that I want to come up okay does that make sense to you guys? The weekly review so this is a big thing cooperate david cho uh that I believe in strongly on dh why am I bringing it up in the calendar section? We'll remember I talked about agreements right agreements are what go in your calendar, right? The weekly review for me is an agreement with myself I say to myself every sunday at one o'clock pm I'm going to do my weekly review from one to three that's my time scheduled blocked out the only person that can change that agreement is me and the me that is going to try to change that agreement is going to say hey you that wants to change the agreement are you sure you really sure so I'm actually having this inner conversation because the weekly review so critical because it allows you to again celebrate your, uh, successes and acknowledge your failures and also just get back to back to your tent backto one clear out process, everything process your evernote inbox let's say process your email inbox if that's what you're going to do, process the tasks and say, oh, I didn't do this, I'd better do this now move the things off paper into your digital task manager so calibrate anything that got mass that's what the weekly review lets you d'oh right and also lets you acknowledge but you have to that's one thing you should schedule. So if there's any task that I schedule it's that okay? And that to me is critical. It's, it's, it's, it's, it's self care at this point. So I want to talk a bit about the calendar management and tools how you can use a calendar that allows you to kind of use it in a way that's beneficial. So you own your calendar and stuff feeling like your calendar owns you? Because how many guys look your counter go boy it's a full month or look at all the things I have to do today that I put in my calendar, right? You tend to have that element of it controlling you and pulled pulling you a lot of people do maybe not you so you don't really find the calendar pulls you in that direction because you're using are using it the way that I described her something that I just pick up along the way he might not be the right way you can tell me um I mean I tweak around a lot because like for example I know this I initially I wasn't thinking I would be selected to be an audience here okay so I was like I have two things on for today my doctor's appointment and another appointment so then when I got called from katie I realized that uh oh dear it's actually happening s so I had to change it so before this happened I already called my doctor and say hey you know I just want to confirm this is this day you know can I fit in this time you know what is possible and yes I managed to do it yesterday sure and the other appointment that came by supposedly to happen today I can say I rescheduled right so you're able to make those agreement changes but in some cases you made agreements with you like if you start putting tasks on your calendar what you're doing is making agreement with yourself on every single one of those task and every time you break that agreement right then you feel that much worse, but the fact you're breaking in agreement or you and some people don't even like to change agreements so again that may not be something that you're it sounds like you're using calendars fairly effectively like you're using it for their purpose weather is helping, you know like those off something I'm like my health is one thing I imagine very better so I went to compensate with something I can do easily right? So I have to give allow allowing for myself in days that I cannot do better right? I want to be able to, you know, like the way she said they did thirty day site that you put in administrative days on certain days that I can write so let you say that we review I mean correct me if I'm wrong if I can't do it like not on the weekend but maybe you don't have to do is keep I'm not saying and I want to be clear I'm not saying that sunday from one to three is when you have to do it. What I'm saying is is you need to decide when you're going to do it and then you need to do it and you need to block out the time to do it write us when you do a review that's when you realize how many overlaps you have and then what you can actually why absolutely so sunday works for me friday's a lot of people do friday is right because friday you're doing work to five or six or maybe longer depending where you set your limits right for where the limits may have been set for you that you haven't adjusted right or don't want to adjust, but that's where you can say okay, you know what? I'm going to stay at the office for another hour and do my weekly review and that's when and we've heard this in chatham earlier, you block out time and you say, hey, I can't be bothered during this time because this is what that times for right? And ultimately when it comes to this kind of thing when you're working with people, whether its clients, whether it's, an employer, if they see results over the long term and continued results, then ultimately they're going to say, wow, how are they doing this? They're really they're on top of things, they're moving things forward, I'm really happy I'm going to kind of leave them alone and let them kind of do their thing. If that doesn't happen, then maybe you've got another thing you have to look at like, why are they I'm doing the best I can on blocking out time? They're not giving me the time to do it, but that's a whole other segment um so I want to talk about some of the calendar management tools that I use and again this is not going to an app per se but there's going to be again those human approaches so when I when I wrote the front nine how to start the year you want any time you want which was published last year people were like what you mean how to start the year you want any time you want like I'm not I'm not a fan of the gregorian calendar right? I mean I don't look a tte january and go oh, I got to start something new time for yoga right? I gotta do that why? Because think about it on down here I mean in canada we've got thanksgiving earlier for some reason so we have even longer of that holiday craziness but in a few weeks thanksgiving here right in the holiday shopping season and starts and then that build up happens and then you go into the holiday season where you're seeing friends and trying to close up projects from the year there and you're doing all this stuff and then on december twenty sixth or the last week you're like all right years almost done what big thing can I do starting five days from now six days from now I know yoga I know go to that you go to the gym is the most common one round gonna start working out and so when you were at your lowest point of energy in the year because you've gone through all of this stuff of wrapping out the calendar year that we all prescribed too to a certain extent you're like I'm going to this awesome new big thing this new big project we'll start reading my book and start doing whatever and then what happens is that in the workout one is a great example so you go to the gym on january second and it's full of people full of people so you look you know what? I'll come later because I can't get on the equipment and then and then you come back a week later and you're like, I got you up a little bit earlier and they're still people they're like, okay, I'll come back a bit later and then next week you're like I don't want to get up that early I'm not gonna and then by the time february rolls around, you're one of those people that gave up working out for the as your new year's resolution because and I don't believe in new year's resolutions I think that they are honestly they are we're setting ourselves up in a lot of cases for failure with them because we are again at our lowest point of energy when we're kind of going into that space you guys understand what I'm saying you're kind of like your and everyone else is kind of doing it at that time too, so you're also in a kind of there's a bit of an ether that you're kind of lost and so what I do is I actually start my new year on ground hog's day again, I guess maybe it's because I'm a movie fan, but I like the movie ground hog day because bill murray is really trying to avoid to repeating the same thing every single sequence, right? And at the end of the movie, of course it works out I can't remember how many sequences he goes through to make that happen, but it's quite a bit, so I start in february when I've had time to kind of recharge renew myself, reenergize it do the little things, those little things that you know people were talking about in the chat that may be the little incidentals that I tryto tie up because I don't try to tie up all my loose ends by december thirty first I don't like to put a best before date on that stuff, okay? So theming your months and why I called the idea calendar is that what I will do? And this is the calendar I use and I'll talk a bit more about it later is I will put a theater I will theme nine months out of the year an overarching theme so and this can work no matter what, what area you're in, so if you are building a software product, you could say the month of february, I'm going to focus on thie constructing a building of that app or whatever and that's my overarching focus so that that informs me of what the overarching thing I want to accomplish that month is, which furthers, though, that that project list and then furthers your to do list at that point. So, jennifer, if you decided that february is gonna be a month or you're going to you're going to focus on clients, then if you make that an overarching theme in february, that's gonna be it it's going to be there, it's going to be that thing that hits you every day, to a certain extent, whether using analog calendar or whether you put it in something like google calendar because, oh, that's, right? This is my theme, this is what I'm supposed to be doing this month. This is where I'm supposed to be making forward progress in now, why don't I do nine months and not twelve? Because it's not me again, you can't to everything you could do anything, you can't do everything, so I try not to overload myself with too many big ideas that I'm trying to move forward, those big ideas, they're happening nine months out of the year january is one month I don't do it. Can anyone guess what the other two months are? But I don't no, no, no, I actually remember december and too bad for me. July and august summertime I got kids. Okay kids, they're they're actually they are boys and then one day the boy won is a girl. So it kind of puts me in that boat b you know and it's not fair to them either. Right? My idea during that month is to spend time with my kids spend time with your foster that so that's how it that's the idea counter. So what? And this is an exercise that's in the productivity's workbook is what I'll do is I will take I will sit down in january or maybe earlier in the calendar a year, and I actually already have twenty four teens of this calendar at home, and I will at the beginning of every month just put a visual representation of what the big idea is for that month just in the blue box here, right now, if you're using google calendar or another counter like outlook, you could do that at the top of the beginning of your calendar month and then just make it in all day activity all the way to the end of the month and pick a color that's going to resonate with you I'm gonna talk more about colors and stuff in a minute why visuals air so important but that's how I that's how I'm able to see my months to make progress on those big things you know that big idea that big project right? This is making sense to you guys and again this is a big scale stuff, right? So he started talking about a little tiny stuff incremental incremental it works both ways it's scales up its scales down and just because I make june writing book month doesn't mean that all I do in june is write a book it means that it's my higher higher purpose are overriding factor for that month that's something that I am making a conscious decision to move things forward with I'm still answering emails I'm still doing all the other stuff you know and again there's a there's a sense of permanence here to a point. But the nice thing about this being a whiteboard calendar is like, for example, when I when creative live was gonna happen this month october it wasn't a creative live months for me initially it was another whole other idea that I had for it and as soon as creative life happening like create five immediately that's what happens? It gives you that ability, whereas if you're tryingto if you don't when you theme your months, when you give yourself this idea calendar, once you do that, then you're gonna be able to say, okay, I've got I've got this overarching theme. This makes sense to me right now. I'm going to set it up. Oh, this may not make sense later, right? So if you get sick, if you have something happened away, a bunch of weddings to go to that's another reason why summer isn't really a good one, that people like five or six weddings to go to. So I want to take it to the chat in a second to see, but I want to find out from from you guys like, if you were gonna pick night like to do this, what months would not would would you not apply a theme to and why? Because again, it's gonna be very subjective, so if you're going to pick them, which which months to you are the ones where you're like, I can't really move a big idea forward on that month? Absolutely so that's what? I'm not going to dio jamie, what about you? August will be one of them. I am not really talk about the rest yet, but august is one that you would not theme. Yeah, because I have something urgent that I would like to be able to do it. Spirituality. Okay, I don't not like you to about, you know, like, not negotiate with that. Sure. It's my time for my own care. Which is why january like that's for me, right? Absolutely. Yeah. What, you I still like the idea of starting the new year in january so I would do december so I could. Okay, I like the idea of a fresh start with the calendar. Sure, sure. And some people that really works. I mean, when I when I wrote the book, a lot of people were like, well, I still love you like I like that that clean slate, that clean break and there's, nothing wrong with that at all. It doesn't work for me on doesn't work for a lot of people, as we've seen with resolution after resolution being broken. But if you even if you theme it, if you take the rest of the year and actually follow the calendar year because we're seeing a counsellor here right here, you still get a good bird's eye view. And the nice thing about a year calendar is it gives you a real bird's eye view, what your year's gonna look like. Right? You don't get that in google calendar you don't get that in your on your iphone or on your android at but you get it right here in this thing, we're gonna have to show you how I use it in a little bit but this thing hangs both horizontally and vertically so it can hang in the back your door on him wherever you want fantastic it's called it's by new year new year dinette sets at the bottom there and I'm gonna go through how I how I use it then we're gonna get somebody to come up here and do one as well. What about you, jennifer? What month would you like say no big ideas for me this month probably december maybe even august because it's my birthday month so just you and summer summer in general because I don't want it so like july august in december kind of thing yeah, but then like say, in the fall, people start kind of staying at home a little bit more and then I can kind of do my own things start initiating my own project. Absolutely absolutely so when you start doing stuff like this sea already we just started like you're you're seeing the whole year so it gives you the scope right? You're like a case of december makes sense for me to like take that and be you know, bit of ah non themed a month and then you know what? September so already when you look at it from this vantage point and you start to think about the theming idea it gets you to a place where it's like, you know what? This is where I can make this happen and once you start doing that then you're gonna be this is this is time management it's just really higher higher level stuff you know, what's really interesting is that it limits you in some ways but it actually forces you to focus on something to get done so for example, I might say I want to write a book or I want to do this thing and I try to do all of them at the same time and none of them get done but if you say okay january is february book a month or whatever maybe then you know you can you do you have to cross some things off your list but the upside is you might actually get that thing done right? And I mean well starting tomorrow it's nana raimo for a lot of people national novel writing month so a lot of people in november that's their theme and if they did that I wouldn't I imagine they do this just by default so they get the novel done right that's what they do my month of november his book proposal month I may not get the book proposal done because I don't like writing book proposals I'd rather just read the book, but but that could that would be mine, right? So yeah, it gives you that that it gives you like again that space to create I like it's you're creating that space it's got structures? I mean, if you take all of the date like the numbers off this calendar and just have the months you're still getting the feel of what each month issue you're not in february is only twenty eight days, right? You're not sitting going on only twenty eight days to do this you're thinking february's when I do this, do we have some people that air commenting on this we d'oh team says yes, december is a write off for sure even if you don't celebrate the holidays, many others will be off work and not as responsive is that's what team finds, which is an interesting thing to think about? I was thinking about what months I would want to make right off months and you gotta keep that in mind as well absolutely especially that client worked like you're saying and you say you like to start the year in january? Well, by taking december off your kind of circumventing that whole you're you're doing the recharge kind of that but I still like december, maybe it's kind of hard to pick because the summer is good timeto kind of focused on your projects, where you kind of working on something yourself and you don't want distractions, right? And by no means does that mean like, if you've got your own project, I'm not saying don't work, I mean, you may not seem that month, but you go, you know, I want to work on a couple of projects that's fine to I'm just saying it gives you, like, again, an anchor, something like a touchstone and and I know I mean, for me, I'm big on visual touchstones. That's why have this in fact, that's? Why I have this this green lantern ring? Um, you know, I'm very big on visuals, paper, all that stuff color the reason is because there's something that resonates with you when you see it, you know, like paper that's, why paperwork's if I put it in a digital tool it's gone it's out of sight, it comes back later if I've set up the tools in such a way, that brings it back later but something like color I can look at and go, oh green green that's that's my professional level well, what else is associated with oh, my green lantern ring willpower I mean it's gonna take a lot of well to do blood but that's how I do it it's like just synapses that fire if you look at my desk very minimally uh decorated but I have on it a, uh another comic book character of vision and it's a bobblehead vision and all it reminds me of is my vision that's it that's all it's supposed to represent. Then I have seth gordon's a beat resistance plaque that I got from steven press field's book whose and if you guys haven't read stephen press fields work the war of art, his new book the authentic swing stick reads and he's he's the guy who wrote the legend of bagger vance so just steven press field is a phenomenal phenomenal writer on dh somehow manages toe to translate well into this kind of space. I also have, like a green lantern logo on my desk. I've got this so all those kind of things really resonate with me visuals are very important and that's why? If I use yellow like in my army focus when I showed an earlier slide you see like the yellow that's fear right? Which means I'm not going to get it done like oh it's coming up I'm afraid of it better get it done so there are certain visuals and I mean everyone kind of has their own visual touchstones that they liketo keep in mind all right? Um another tip you can use when it comes to counters is using different views, so if you're using a digital calendar, you're gonna want to make sure that you don't just look at the dave you write a lot of people d'oh or the weak view or the month for you or the year you want to be able to you wantto make right choices with your counter to look at it when it specifically needed for you to look at it in certain views. So for example, today yeah, maybe look at today's view, but when you're starting your day maybe you look at today, then you scope out to your weekly view a lot of people just tend to leave it on week for you and I mean quick quick certain most people I've talked tio don't shift views on their digital counters do you guys she have to your views of you stick with one so you look at like several different school we'll see how you know I plan it out incident way like they won't be too much off like play time for me and, you know, like sugar gaby, I will make sure that somewhat done there's something like this time I can't let things I can't have to be constructive so that's good what do you look at a day or two? You weaker leave it are on the mac weekend on my phone ipad daily so basically the deforms yeah basically the default because apple knows what you want right after I know that's why you're notifications are on your phones right now I love my apple stuff believe me but yeah, this uh back to my buddy patrick cronin talks about sensible defaults the term sensible doesn't often equate when it comes to that kind of stuff, right? So you may want to look at your calendar go you know, I need to look at the month, especially using color coding, right? Because you're going to see a lot of like I've got a personal counter, a professional google counter, all that stuff so I can look at it and go no, no, no, no, no, oh my god, look at all the red there looking the green like I could get a really good scope of it for the month, not just the week so and jennifer, before we jump to the chat room to find some stuff, what do you usually different views of your I know pretty much the same the deep ball, the day on the iphone and weak on the google calendar on my desk top so if we've learned anything, one of the things you learned from today is do the front end work right? Do that for an end work and then maybe the defaults will be more your default as opposed to the defaults that are prescribed to you right? So because we often just settled with what's given to us because it's just easier right? A lot of us do so maybe take a look at that and go you know what? I'm not really into analog counters, but I'm going to start playing with views make sure you get a good sense of how to map out my weak so that I'm not over me having a ton of meetings on monday when I can't handle that do we have some people trapped in a uh williams says I use month you for overall planning but two week is my default perfect? I actually prefer using the month view because you can still at least in the google calendar that's what I use and you can still see what you have on the day but you can also see the month and know when you need to ease up or pack some stuff hidden absolutely absolutely and again the color is so huge for me because I will look at on again having this on my back door I can literally close my office door look and go nope yep I could make really quick decisions eso schedule appointments with yourself I've already discussed and that doesn't just have to be for the weekly review from writing a book I need two hours of time we talked someone the chat room also mentioned that like I block out for myself that's hacking the conventions of calendar tasking like it's not something that you want to do all the time but it's something that when you feel that you really bear down like you were saying about big projects maybe instead of theming december you're going to say a week in december I'm going to schedule two hours across the board to work on this one project right so again that's another element of what you can do in terms of scheduling time for yourself scared make those agreements with yourself because that's what if you don't if you call them appointments and I use appointment because it's common nomenclature right but appointments are like your appointed to do that like it's something but do you agree then you're like I'm all in you're going to say yep so with the writing the book you said you drive to ours the day but you're not sure what time it is on city still put it on your calendar I if I know that I want to create an infrastructure that I know I want to move things for so the book proposal I would put in my calendar it will be probably the only thing that shows up in my calendar on those heavy lifting days and I'll make sure that I love myself enough wiggle room on either side of that, but I as I said, I'm not a fan of writing book proposals, so I definitely need to have that more structure okay, sometimes when I talk about task management time management in the cases where you're not a fan of the thing you have to teo, you often need to have a bit more rigidity to make sure that you do it, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. So when I'm writing my book proposal, I will schedule you know, how much time I want teo and feel that I need to schedule so I'll probably do like an hour a day and that way I'm not overhype it like I said, I don't run the risk of hyper scheduling and I'll also make sure you use a couple of tools which will get teo so other people know oh, that they shouldn't even bother trying to get in touch with me for a meeting or anything at that point that's how it helps because if you're working in a project that's important and you don't want people to schedule you for a meeting, so you put that project in your calendar sailor busy, yes, I'm still that way a lot of people a year and that will keep them away from email stuff like if you don't respond to an email within that time and you're working to company with shared calendar, they're gonna know right? And if they don't know, then you've done your due, you've done your due diligence and if it's not been permitted, then that's a whole other situation, but a lot of cases, especially in the rooms that most of us work in like a I'm gonna schedule time from one to three your boss will say, well know, we have meetings on mondays from one to three, and then you hand them a copy of rework and go, okay, well, you should read this and then we'll come back and have maybe a twenty minute meeting or something, but you know what I mean? Like you actually have that set up in such a way that you're not going to be causing any conflict conflicts find if it leads to a certain, if it's measured it if it's not goingto again, you don't want to upset them, they don't want to upset you that kind of thing. You're going to say something I was just wondering, because there's no, you see those sick tree months off highlight the rest ofhis, maybe lightly, but the highlight would be under three months would there be that something that you really want to do as to your parities visit we could be the treatments that you be emphasizing that schedule for yourself you mean the three months that I don't schedule you those are just those air basically the reason I do three is because big ideas often take big heavy lifting it doesn't mean I'm not gonna be doing any kind of stuff you have to but I'm not I don't have not burning my brain or my task manager with this idea of here's the overriding theme that I have to take care off so that's why january works for me because january honestly by the time I'm done every thing at the end of the year my brain is like you know what no I don't want to do anything right now I'll do the what I need to do and I'll do the heavy lifting on occasional days for sure but I don't want to be you know, writing a book in january I don't want to be doing that scene with the summer and the summer is a perfect example first off I don't even need to ask by razor but how many people like to spend all summer inside right right but if you scheduled like projects during this time that's exact that's why people going in the other reason you'd want to schedule as people go on vacations stuff like that right right so give your give yourself back and when you plant it in advance, then you're going to be able to say, oh, I already know that and that's, what you want is you want to keep giving yourself information that allows you because management in order to manage anything you need to have information, greg d brought up on interesting point that I'd actually never realized he says that most calendar's start at six a m and end at midnight and he happens to be a night owl and he's asking if you have any recommendations for him, you know, for scheduling things during his hours that he's most affected the default is that normally, yes, but I've actually got into google counter and changed mind, so you could start your day a little bit later and ended a little bit later. But again, it's thie the biggest the biggest draw drawbacks with counter applications email of shells the ones is that there's defaults that are applied to them right off the top that you just are busy trying to wrap your head around using them without even worry about why they're set up the way they are so against, like reading the manual, right? You know, you know your car will drive, but you were the lights, right? Were the lights on this new car of mine, right? Like, you know, but but that's that's the point is that if you look beyond the defaults that's where you can find that stuff so yeah I mean minus scheduled my day begins at eight a m and ends it uh I ended normally around midnight because I like to have that minute to am slot for me to do whatever so no one could escape and no one will I mean, hopefully no one well again I've said that boundary right so after midnight forget on dove course then there's the do not disturb functions on the iphone so I've got those set up a certain way but again it's that front and work and a lot of people just you mean that I've talked to about this stuff and spoke to want that magic solution want that how how does how does this work it does it's not something that it happens like that so yeah go into your default say, oh my day doesn't start at six a m it starts at nine you know somebody could say well, my day starts at six a m and ends at six pm right depends but put make those make those work for you make them your defaults so the other thing is, uh do we have anything else by the way from from anyone in there? We're good, okay, um the other thing I get talked about color coding right? So if we look at color coding we're there we go um color code were possible like if you've got and I mean over the uh I had earlier you guys saw me with my pen have a multi pen remember those when you went to school all the cool kids have them were the cool kids were they're the cool kids so so but it was great because you most of us had them because they thought it was really need to be able to color but now I use them there's clear identify irs green professional orange personal read I don't use it all like red red means again school the more red you had on a paper the worst who did so I don't want red, blue and black so I mean I've got four colors, so when I'm color coding even on this I actually make those color standout so even if I was to go, if someone calls me up says, hey, would you like to do a speaking engagement? I turn around and I look in october and I see four red four green things to orange things like no, no, I'm sorry like I can make that call right away based on the colors that are there and based on how amusing that calendar same thing with with your electronic calendars I mean you're saying that you look at your calendar and you could see all the different things you can look at that really quickly especially with color and not only can you figure out how much stuff you got going on but you could figure out where that stuff belongs right so today heavy lifting light lifting day stuff that I talked about earlier right that to me is very critic all I can say oh it's personal day that's what you know so if someone actually wants to schedule say a quick skype call with me on ahead on a light lifting day for work I can say sorry lots of other stuff going on that day or I could say you know what I can fit in after my kids my wife gets home and slide you in because yes you're in another country and the time zone is different so color coding is key to me and and uh you know I mean I think that that's something that we again it's something that we should probably strive to use a little bit more post it notes the post it note sir again example of color coding right blue, yellow, green whatever you guys use color it all for your stuff or is it basically black and white and that's about it yes sir you do use them ok so you're all using them he's read yeah so that attention needed warrant uh red scary yellow and then another color red for those of you that are comic book nerds that there the red lanterns are all about rage and anger so I thank it and it's like I should have done that red normally actually read does show up in omni focus and in my tasks that are not completely because I mean I fall down and we'll talk a bit about that tomorrow morning we all will fall down its point times but read to me says drop the ball you dropped the ball man like so I won't put it on here I stand so you know it's something that because for me and again this is just for me it represents it represents something that I'm that I missed it represents something that is I try not to deal with urgency as much as possible I don't like I think for you again for you it's going to be different and I'm betting that a lot of people out there like I need red I need red red stands out you know there's a reason emergency vehicles are red there's a reasonable that and that's fine for me it's not one of those things that work orange works great for me for personal stuff because that's an area of focus that I like to work on it helps the focus green for me I think it's good I think has something to with prosperity or whatnot great it's posterity red right? I guess it depends on which which which we prescribe tio I don't know but you see I'm not going to cull arise my whole kalinda with fred well, I'm trying to say on certain points marcus that I know that this is the virgin I cannot miss it that's all and and that's fine like I said, I agree with you in terms of that that's important but for me red is just not a color that I use so if you want to use red feel free but for me it's just not a color that I I I'm a fan in that regard so now we can I'm gonna dive a little bit into the starting the year you want so I want teo I wanna have ah, another person come up here come on up. Okay, so this is the new year calendar and, uh I'm gonna give you a whiteboard marker, okay? And I'm gonna take one as well. So basically this is the counter that I used to map out my year and I don't use on I want you to put on here I want you to kind of look at it and maybe start to fill in some of the blanks for yourself maybe you think that your calendar home right now our calendar that's on your computer and kind of just quickly start filling it out while I talk a little bit can you do that? Okay because you like the months yeah, philo like if you're looking at next year already or if you just want to focus on the rest of this year that's fine to we just we want to switch places you could focus on this wait, can we just go here, go over here and then you do these maybe that disco ball you can't screw this up by the way because you have one out there everybody is gonna get to take one home that's in the audience here this far twenty forty not do anything you give me for twenty could be for even use it for twenty thirteen right now just I mean again don't pay attention to the numbers necessarily just pay attention to the grid's all right? Okay, so one of the things that I'm working on right now that's coming out is a new book uh and, uh I wanna, uh this is one of critical components of it it's kind of like otto called the now year on dh I guess we've got we'll chat a little bit about that right now, right? So it's basically a practical guide to calendar management not a tactical guide so much but a practical guide because it seems you thought were tactical in there people like uh it's all aps its all this no it's not it's definitely more there's a lot of this stuff a lot of using new year there's a lot of you know a lot of how does own the counter so new approaches to your counter that's what the n stands for always for owning your year rather than kind of letting it kind of take control of you and then the w's is marrying up the what and the why and the wind it's kind of making those things all talk together through the use of a calendar so if you're looking at this calendar right now which which uh which were working on um you could see he he's putting in here specific activities that are agreements that can't be moved which are great so apartment moves so that's the theme of your month so you're going to move all this month threat okay okay so it's already done you like the new house okay they're good thanksgiving is down here and then the travel and when we come why don't you come on over here that way um and then there's travel booked here so you could see again no real need for color you can if you want but because this is all personal stuff really write everything here is personally what's up there you've got backto work so this is the end of your year into this year right? So there is there's no tasks really on here. And this is key now today, this would maybe be on here to write like the whole c l too. Right here, right? Sounds but seo so that's again date specific appointment. Something you put on there. Now. Now you've done that. When you think february through to april and just think of three big ideas, three big projects that you khun before that month or better still look at this right now and figure out where you can move them forward. Do you have any ideas on that? Probably d'oh. I can use different colors for what? You can use different colors if you want or you could just put them, but put them in the little blue square and say, this is what I'm gonna work on this book on this months. Yeah, yeah, go ahead. Well, so this kind of if you take a look at this counter right now, the way that this is designed, I really like in that it doesn't necessarily show you when the year begins or ends, right? It does, but it does no one's really gonna focus on that all that much it's more about the content of it, the context of the calendar is fantastic in this case, so you got a vacation. Teo india so that's going to be your theme for that month so no other big projects gonna happen this one what do you think you're gonna need to close up before here right like you're going away you have a big project that you want to make sure gets initiated for the end of I don't know right now but I put in it's like launch a product pretend it's like finishing up a project so there again so and again the more specific you can get with that the better so jennifer may put you know, like you said in september when everyone's kind of like bill clients or something like that if that's gonna be a time for you to do that now the key with the key with this is this there's no real wrong way to do this by the way at all. But if you're goingto start filling your dates up with mohr appointment so like for example say you're going to speak on the phone fourth or something like that you may want to start using a bit of that short hands like we talked about in the capture segment where it's like this is a trigger for you so for example, I'll go here and I'll say september and I'll go ted ted axes a bit easy but let's say in june I put c l I know what that means, right? So whatever resonates with you is what's gonna matter. Notice? I just put them in black, right? Like, it doesn't really matter what color I'm going to do with him. But if I wanted to be totally cohesive across all my platforms, maybe I'll put green for c l or something like that.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Productivityist Progress Planner.pdf
Productivityist Workbook Printable Exercises.pdf
Productivityist Workbook v1.2.pdf
The Productivityist Workbook v1.2 - Mike Vardy.epub
The Productivityist Workbook v1.2 - Mike
The Way of The Productivityist Manifesto Poster - 16x20.jpg
The Way of The Productivityist Manifesto Poster - 8x11.jpg

bonus material with enrollment

Paperless Organization Guide.pdf
The Way Of The Productivityist - A Manifesto.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


Mike's class was chock full of useful information on streamlining a to do list, digitally and by hand. His process seems pretty robust, and extremely well thought out, to provide maximum efficiency and success with the least amount of effort. Granted there is a learning curve, and one must practice to become proficient and use it effectively, but if you are willing to put in the effort there is a major positive impact on productivity. He goes through his favorite apps (he apparently consults with app developers) and why, which was exactly what I needed at the time. Some of his 2nd choice apps may now surpass the others, but he explains clears how to pick the best app for you. I'm a small business owner and I found the class to be quite helpful. Thanks Mike.

Pavel Voronenko

Very interesting class! I would recommend recording it as it based on apps' solutions and since 2013/2014 there are a lot of changes. Al least maybe some wrap-up session. Well done, Mike Vardy and Creative Live team! Jan. 04, 2021


Just finished Mike's course and it was exactly what I wanted and hoped it would be. Nuts and bolts, real life ideas and hands on ways to implement what he shared. If I dedicated the time spent on researching an organizational system on just USING the system, I would be a shining beacon of efficiency. Mike's class and materials helped me let go of the need aka obsession with looking for the Holy Grail of systems and just pick a combo and do it. Thanks, Mike, I'll let you know when I AM that shining beacon of effortless organization...or at least when I quit writing notes on my hand! Great course!

Student Work