Have ONE Calendar
Digital minimalism. Technology should work for us, not the other way around. Part of my activity for this week has been to simplify some of my digital world. There's so many distractions that a little house-keeping actually went a long way. Let's get started!
I will do a separate post on my digital setup - but essentially i've moved everything to the cloud and chosen a few solid apps to keep my life recorded, tracked and organised.
Now everything talks to everything else and I have a strict workflow to ensure any new information I find/ learn is archived and searchable for the future - as and when I need it.
I've read a lot of books over the years and all my highlights, web clippings and quotes were just sitting dormant. Now I have a system to regurgitate that information on demand. It's class.
Anyway, part of the upgrade was finally consolidating all my calendars into one. I had two business calendars (one for my own company and another for my consultancy work), a personal icalendar (that's linked to my apple devices), a google calendar, written appointments AND a bunch of random events stored under wierd subscriptions. That's 5 CALENDARS!
EVERY year, birthdays were disappearing from my feed and making plans was this long drawn out process as I would constantly double-book. Not anymore!
The functionality to combine calendars is nothing new. If you're starting from scratch, it's pretty easy to pick one tool and work from there. However I totally underestimated the toll of managing multiple diaries day to day. It was exhausting. It seems pretty basic to write an entire post about how calendar consolidation changed my life, but 2 days in and it definitely feels this way!
Having your 'life' events and appointments simplified under one app is the greatest feeling. Almost a feeling of complete control. It allows me to effortlessly combine multiple businesses, relationships and commitments under one interface. Scheduling new calls and time away has become a breeze and toggling notifications is now one click instead of a few.
The world is your oyster when choosing a tool, but I've gone for Fantastical.
If you're searching for something, here are some features you may want to consider:
I want all my events, appointments and engagements to be identical across all my devices. Part of the old problem was that my calendars didn't 'speak' to each other. Device sync is important so you have real-time, up-to-date information on any device.
As I mentioned - I work day to day across many different devices; ; phone, mobile, tablet, watch, laptop. If i'm working from home, I want my calendar access to be via laptop. If i'm on the move, i would prefer it from my iPhone. If i'm in the gym, my watch is better. Having these integrations allows me to switch from one 'mode' of life to another, almost seamlessly. Work: Play. Leisure: Sport etc.
Customisation is always a fun thing for me. I love my work and life setup tailored as close to my personal preferences as possible. Changing themes, colours, sizing and style is an important factor for me when integrating any new tech into my life. With customisable widgets I can get all the info I need, displayed in the right way, from anywhere.
Timezones & Scheduling
I live in Europe, but interact with clients and friends from all over the world. Traditionally, scheduling across time zones is messy and i'm yet to find the 'perfect' solution. Either way, looking out for multi-region compatibility and language support can be a lifesaver when you have to arrange a call across multiple countries.
Pretty crazy i've written an entire blog about the joy I found consolidating my calendars, but there you go. If there's some friction with your own scheduling systems, why don't you try some housekeeping too. As you can see, I highly recommend it.