How to live in your calendar for task management


Everyone has heard of a to-do list, and most people use one to keep track of the amazing work they have to do. However, as with everything, to-do lists can get out of hand quickly and can even end up hampering your productivity.

Living on your calendar means deleting your list and scheduling your pending tasks on your calendar. If your tasks are causing you more problems than you would like, this could be your solution.

To-do list vs live in your calendar

Photograph of a blank task list and calendar

There is nothing wrong with to-do lists per se, but they do require a lot of discipline to be effective. Tasks are incredibly open-ended and it’s your job to make them work properly. These are just a few of the things that can affect their usefulness:

  • If they are too long, they can become overwhelming.

  • They do not provide any context for prioritization.

  • They can consist of many unnecessary tasks.

  • You are more likely to do smaller, more enjoyable tasks and neglect others.

  • You need additional apps to make your to-do list mobile.

On the flip side, living on your schedule fixes most of these issues because of how it works. When you have a task to do, you look at your calendar and your schedule which functions as an appointment among your other responsibilities. This automatically allows you to prioritize the task in the context of your other tasks.

Related: Ways to Make Google Calendar Your Windows Desktop Calendar


In addition, you are more likely to perform the most difficult and complex tasks because they are already planned, which avoids procrastination. All of this is possible without long off-putting lists, because your calendar is a hub of information that brings everything together.

Most workplaces are already using a digital calendar app like Outlook or Google Calendar. This means you can take it with you on the go using the web link or the app on any digital device you need.

There are only a few simple rules for living in your calendar that will optimize your management of it, and are much less complicated than to-do list rules.

Time blocking is your friend

Photograph of an analog clock next to a laptop computer on a desk

This is something you can’t avoid no matter what medium you use for task tracking. Blocking time means taking a little time at the start of your week or day to write down all the homework you need to do.

It is an initiative that saves you time and considerably increases your work output. By doing this, you already know what you need to sort out ahead of time, and you can spend the rest of your work week taking on your responsibilities.

Related: Time Blocking Tips To Improve Your Focus

Before you start your job, take 15 to 20 minutes to fill out your schedule. With deadlines in mind, find time between your meetings, projects, and client work to create an appointment for your race.

If one of your tasks is to set up a meeting with a colleague, create the meeting in your calendar and invite them. Make sure to include a meeting link from the digital conferencing app you are using, if you want to meet virtually.

Use themes to manage your tasks

Screenshot of Color Categories window in Outlook

Color coding your calendar appointments into categories helps greatly in differentiating between tasks, meetings, project work, and other tasks. At a glance, you will be able to tell what makes up your week and plan accordingly.

To do this in Outlook, click on any appointment, and on the ribbon, click Categorize> All categories. To select New, enter the name of your theme, choose a color, then click Okay.

Repeat for as many themes as you want. You can then assign a category to each appointment you create. On Google Calendar, right-click any appointment and select one of the colors that appear.

Related: Tools to Sync Microsoft Outlook with Google Calendar

Be sure to name the categories according to the type of work they are involved in and choose colors that you respond to well. Here are some examples of categories:

  • Project work

  • Admin and tasks

  • Clients

  • Meetings

  • Coaching

Share your calendar with colleagues

While you can use a to-do list app like Todolist to share your progress with other staff, if they aren’t using the same software, they won’t be able to easily see it. This is where living on your desktop’s default calendar has an added advantage.

By sharing your calendar, your colleagues will be able to see your progress just by viewing it. This keeps your inbox from being cluttered with emails asking for your progress, and you won’t even need to mark them in. However, make sure you let them know that this is how you work.

Related: Outlook vs Gmail: Which Email Service Is Better?

To share your Outlook calendar:

  1. On the ribbon, click Share calendar and select the one you want to publicize.

  2. Click on Add to enter your team’s email addresses, then OKAY.

  3. Under Authorizations, select either Can display titles and locations Where Can see all the details.

  4. Click on To apply and OKAY.

To learn how to create a shared calendar on Google, you can watch this official Google Workspace video:

Be realistic about your planning

Photograph of a person checking the phone holding a coffee in front of a laptop computer

While living on your calendar gets around many to-do list prioritization and time management issues, you still need to be realistic and smart about how you schedule your tasks. Fortunately, there are a few proven tips for dealing with this effectively:

  • If you don’t have time for an important task, schedule it into several smaller tasks.

  • Give yourself more time than you think you need.

  • Avoid performing tasks right before a meeting; Give yourself 30 minutes between them.

  • If a task is urgent, decide if you want to rearrange other things on your calendar.

Chances are you are done with your work and have some free time, which means you catch up with emails and other little details that come in to you throughout the day.

Related: Improve Time Management with Outlook’s Delayed Delivery Feature

Live on your schedule to improve productivity

Your calendar is a handy tool that already contains all the resources you need to keep track of your work. Living on Your Calendar offers an integrated approach to managing your workload and keeps everything in one place.

By using the rules mentioned above, you will be on your way to saving time, improving your productivity, and being more efficient while you are doing it. Give it a try and you might wonder why you’ve ever used a to-do list.

emails and envelopes on a desktop screen

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