Preload your 2011 calendar

Before Jan. 1, 2011, shows up on the calendar, block out important dates and times in the new year. Whether you prefer an electronic or paper calendar, fill in your priorities first. Over the next few weeks, enter these appointments for 2011:

  • Time to think. Designate regular times when you will review and plan. It could be an hour every week or a block of several days each quarter. If you don’t schedule those times now, you may always feel too busy to devote time to thinking.
  • Time for your goals. Carve out enough time to turn your intentions into action. Example: If one of your goals for 2011 is to provide more feedback to staff, schedule now when you will do that.
  • Time for major projects. Perhaps you have a busy season in June or a major trade show to attend in September. Noting those dates now will keep you from over-scheduling and will allow you to plan well in advance. Even if you don’t know all the details yet, you can sketch the outlines.
  • Time for yourself. Commit now to when you will take vacation, and you will avoid realizing next December that you never found time to relax and recharge in 2011. Plan times for rest, exercise and your favorite pastimes, too, because those activities give you the energy to do everything else that you will cram into your calendar in the new year.

I started thinking about setting up 2011 calendars because a reader of The Organized Executive sent me a question. The reader uses a Day-Timer and was looking for a fast way to enter repetitive information, such as recurring meetings, at the beginning of each year.

My suggestion: Enter those regular appointments and tasks into Outlook, using the Recurrence feature. Then print the pages for your paper calendar.

In the Outlook calendar (or tasks), click File, Print and Page Setup. Then select the Paper tab. Scroll down the Size options under Page, and you will find options for Day-Timer and Franklin planner page styles. You also can buy pre-formatted paper to print on from your Outlook calendar.

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