Most of us use electronic calendars these days. You can keep it handy on your phone -- which is always at hand. If you work in a group, it facilitates scheduling by checking everyone's availability. It makes it easy to search with a keyword.
But -- and you knew there was a but coming -- I see a downside that occurs all too often. I call it the "day horn." Remember shoe horns that helped you get your foot into a shoe that was on the snug side? Well, a day horn occurs when you think you have time for something just because there's nothing on your calendar. So you cram one more thing in -- or someone puts a calendar invite on your schedule.
Why is that a problem? It is terrible time management. You are managing your time like it's a commodity, not a precious resource. Fitting something in because you are available is giving way to the urgent, not the important (see Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, if you're not familiar with it already!). Perhaps even worse, you're not managing your energy (another great book is The Power of Full Engagement, which emphasizes the need to manage your energy, not just your time. Don't some meetings drain you and you need to recharge?Don't you need time between events to process, think, follow-up, perform? At the very least, don't you need time to get to your next meeting? (I used to have a secretary who managed my schedule. She would schedule every minute of the day -- I finally had to ask her to allow me bathroom breaks and travel times between meetings!)
Applying Lean principles to your own life starts with managing your schedule better. Are you spending your time on things that add value, or is there waste? Are you kept waiting because other people are overscheduled and late for appointments (or is it you who is late)?
Here are a couple of suggestions that I have gleaned over the years of reading many books on the subject and trying different approaches:
In addition to the books referenced above, I also recommend work by David Allen and John Maxwell's Thinking for a Change.
When you MAKE the time to read.
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