How You Can Add Events to Your Calendar and Keep It Clutter Free?
Calendar Data Needs – Part 4
For people who’ve learned to live by and integrate their calendar into their lives, there comes a time you’ll need to segment and have segmented calendars to support your interests and your calendar data needs. I’d like to give you a few add-on calendars that we use in addition to using a primary calendar.
Make a plan for your main/primary calendar.
Make sure you keep your main calendar clutter free for only the things important to you. Everyone needs their very own main or primary calendar. This calendar represents your daily calendar transactions. Let’s think of the items on your calendar as time transactions used against your time-budget. In this way, you can see how you’re spending your time. Let me reiterate that I not only track set appointments and meetings, I track what I’m doing. So if we watch an unscheduled movie on Saturday night either Pamela or myself will create a calendar appointment and invite each other. In this way, we can also go back and review how we spent our time. Our calendar also acts as a time journal which helps us remember what we had going on, on any particular day.
Create a birthday calendar or special days calendar.
It’s important to have the calendar you really need at your fingertips. It’s nothing more gratifying than to make sure you don’t miss those important birthdays. Have you ever forgotten someone’s birthday to only be put on the spot that you’d forgotten? It’s so embarrassing and pretty unprofessional when we all have smartphones. You might as well have a dumb phone.
Like most, you never want to forget a person’s birthday. Allow me to make you aware that there are three ways to implement this type of calendar.
- Include Social Network Events.
Include social network events to display on your calendar. Apps like Facebook do a great job of displaying birthdays and special events right on your calendar. The only downside, if it still exists, is you’re not able to set a reminder of birthdays that come up. You see Pamela and I use our birthday calendar so that we can plan for sending all the folks we know a birthday card in the mail. Not having a reminder will cause us great delays in this endeavor.
- Include Social Network Events.
- Allow Your Contacts App to Display Birthdays.
Many devices will allow your contacts app to display birthdays and important events on your calendar. This requires discipline in populating your contacts list regularly and accurately. We will discuss contacts later. Your contacts app is the most important data-need and “app information service” you have.
- Allow Your Contacts App to Display Birthdays.
- Create Your Own Birthday Calendar.
This solution is our birthday calendar-data-need solution of choice. We populate our own calendar, called the birthday calendar, ourselves. This way we can set reminders a month out if needed. It provides us with the flexibility we need to satisfy our own “app information service” needs centered around birthdays independently of anything else.
Add holidays to your calendar and/or subscribed to choice calendars.
The internet is a powerful tool and offers calendars you can subscribe to. You can choose from a number of holiday calendars. You can also subscribe to your favorite sport’s team calendars. And our favorite is our daughter’s school calendars. We can see what’s coming up at her school without waiting for a notification as well as see what event has changed or been rescheduled. Find a calendar to subscribe to that satisfies a data-need in your life’s interests.
The above examples should give you some ideas on where to begin adding in other events you don’t want to clutter your primary calendar with, but at the same time have visibility into them.
Have you ever wondered how you can add events to your calendar and keep it separate so that you don’t have an overly cluttered calendar? That was my most major calendar-data-need. I once had way too much on my calendar and then I started pursuing ways to limit it and at the same time have access. This is what led to the ideas we’ve mentioned above. See how you can use these add-on calendars to meet the same or similar calendar-needs you might be experiencing.
Thanks for visiting Kerry A. Clark & Co.’s “Using Tech Your Way” series.
How To Manage Another’s Calendar
Calendar Data Needs – Part 3
If you have someone else managing your calendar you need a more robust calendar. You will need more features than most. Let’s review a couple of calendar options that we recommend for more advanced users.
- Establish a cloud-based calendar solution.
Take a look at creating a Google account or Microsoft account. Initially both are free. Later when you’ve used them for a while and are storing tons of data you’ll outgrow the free versions. That’s not a bad thing. It just means you’re growing.
- Figure out which calendar solution is your best fit.
Check out which one you prefer and begin with that one. I suggest you focus on taking a step right away. We started with Google (which we still use) and have migrated to Microsoft because our needs changed and we needed to customize our efforts, which influenced the switch. Don’t be afraid to make a change, switch, or try something different. This is the only way you can find the tool or app that works best with your needs.
- Work to customize the calendar to meet your needs and get used to using the features it offers.
These platforms offer quite a few features and customizations. We suggest you go into making this choice by creating a list of your plans and immediate needs. You want to make sure whichever solution you select best meets your calendar data needs. For example, each calendar option offers a public URL available to share your calendar(s) with anyone using a calendar app. This might be important to how you wish to use your calendar, so choose an option that fits your desired needs.
Share/give access to your calendar to a person designated for the job. Create a document with this information to store so that it doesn’t have to be reproduced when the position or person changes. Store this information in your shared cloud storage (more on that in sections to come). Use it as a living document on how to manage your cloud storage going forward. It’s important and should be treated in a professional manner.
Provide as many parameters as possible for the person who’ll assist in maintaining your calendar. Since someone will manage your calendar you need to provide some guidelines. Don’t skip this step because it’s the foundation upon which you’re calendar will be built.
No such thing as a personal calendar separate from a professional calendar.
When I was an executive administrator, I managed the CEO’s calendar. He was very particular which worked for us both because so am I. Day one, he gave a few important criteria to follow when adding to his calendar. Many like to refer to this as personalizing the calendar. I’d like to stop here just to say there’s no such thing as a personal calendar and a professional calendar, it’s all just your calendar. You might have personal appointments and work-related/professional appointments, but you’re not two people with double the amount of time. It’s helpful to stop thinking of these as separate when it’s all about your time, mapping one person’s priorities to a set amount of time.
There must be guidelines for managing someone else’s calendar.
So what type of guidelines does one need? Let me introduce you to what Michael Hyatt calls the ideal work week. You need to know what specifics such as the preferred meeting days and times. What are the standing appointments in a given week? What staple appointments must be on the calendar each month, quarter, year, or even several years? What are the times that should be blocked out for non-work related activities? Here are a few other ideas:
- Add margin.
For the one managing the calendar, you must consider how much margin you need to include.BTW – margin will find its way into a person’s calendar no matter what. We don’t want it to be at the expense of others, so let’s plan to build it in.
- Be prepared to go overboard with meetings.
Schedule everything, down to processing emails if necessary and down-time. I have appoints for sleep so that I can visually see what time I have available and nothing more. I call it budgeting time. This way not only can I see what I have in front of me, I can also evaluate the time I’ve spent. I don’t want to assume I have time for activities when I don’t.
Parameter examples. Let me help you out by giving you a few examples.
- Anniversaries. For busy people, they need help remembering anniversaries. This isn’t limited to wedding anniversaries, but deaths, children’s special events, any special annual significant dates like work anniversaries of key-staff, etc.
- Birthdays. If you use a calendar, the best way to remember birthdays is to add it to the calendar and set reminders. You can also add notes for gifts you’d like to send or any action you’d like to take. For someone keeping the calendar, it’s the best place to jot down what your boss may have had in mind or suggestions as to what he/she could do for a person’s birthday. The calendar is more than a date keeper you see, it maintains significant data for all your time related activities.
- Special Conferences. Are there conferences or seminars that the one your assisting must attend. Begin the project by adding the key information for the conference right into the calendar. In fact, I store all details related to my travel events in my calendar. In this way, I don’t have to look for any information. For example, travel, lodging, and other accommodation check-in times are right there with confirmation numbers and phone numbers.
- Holidays. Go ahead and add holidays into the calendar. You’d be surprised at how often holidays sneak up on executives. If you want to exceed the expectations of the one you’re serving then use the calendar for all you can, it’s easy, effective and proficient.
- Staple events. I’m not sure what staple events you might have in your organization, but when I was in full-time ministry, we had four major conferences that had to make its way on the calendar each year. So I had an appointment set on my calendar to add those special events into all the calendars I managed so that these key events wouldn’t be missed.
A calendar is nothing more than a tool. The tool is designed to work for you and make your life easier. Don’t allow the tool used to make things easier for you to make your life hard because you’re not good at using it. Take these tips, examples, and suggestions and apply them at once. It can’t hurt; it can only make life better.
Getting The Most Out of Using Your Calendar
Calendar Data Needs – Part 2
As you already know, we’ve written content for three groups who use App Information Service (AIS). Individuals, small businesses (which include small organizations and non-profit organizations), and Churches. For this installment of the data-need for budgeting time, we will concentrate on individuals. An individual in this case is not limited to a single person, but a life, a home, a marriage, or relationship.
As an individual, you more than likely manage your own calendar with no help from anyone else. This is great and means you have sole ownership and can make meeting/appointment decisions quickly. With this in mind, your calendar decisions and usage falls into one of four categories: appointments, calendar options, tracking time, and planning for the future. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t use all four categories. Remember, we not only want to cover tips on how to use what you already have, but want to give you ideas of ways to use what you have in ways you’ve not yet considered. Let’s begin.
Appointments. The main feature for which we have a calendar is to set appointments. Most of us, don’t visually think of all the appointments we have because we’ve never taken the time to place them on a calendar that we can see. To manage how you use your time, seeing a visual depiction is most helpful. Let’s say you wish to have lunch with a friend. Add it to your native mobile device calendar as this works seamlessly with your device. I don’t suggest using other calendar apps as this creates more work and more accounts to manage, if your new to using a calendar regularly and since you have sole-proprietorship of your calendar. You want to make this as easy and simple to use as possible; don’t complicate it or this will discourage use. Continue reading “The Big Four When It Comes To Your Calendar”
The Calendar Apps Available to You
Calendar Data Needs – Part 1
Let’s begin with what I believe is the greatest and most important data need any human-being can have, managing time. The root problem of time management is the myth that one can even manage time. Time is the one thing we can not manage; you have what you have and nothing more. In fact, you can’t add more time to your day nor can you subtract any. You can’t give someone your hours and you can’t save them in a time-bank. What we manage is how we budget for our time?
Introduction to Calendar Data
What will we do with the time that’s been given? Well, that’s where a calendar comes into play and what sets the successful person apart. It’s what makes a normal person become exceptional. Everyone budgets their time in two ways: a clock and a calendar. We will focus on the calendar in this section. While you don’t think of a calendar as housing data, it does. It has a lot of important data. The calendar tells one when everything is to be done. It gives people a common reference point. Not to go into the physics of a calendar and how that works, let’s just jump right into your data needs surrounding your calendar.
“The key is not to prioritize what is on the schedule but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey
The App Known as Your Calendar
So what calendars are available to you?
You need to first understand what’s available. There are quite a few options available for calendars. Please note that I’m not going to discuss analog (paper or physical) calendars, which I think are very helpful and remain very relevant even in our high-tech age. Since we’re discussing, App Information Services (AIS), I will provide three digital calendars that I highly recommend and are available to you for free. These three are widely used, supported, and more than likely you’ve already heard of them.
- Native mobile device calendar. For those who live and are isolated to nothing more than a smartphone, the native mobile device calendar will work and is very good when you don’t need very many bells and whistles. It’s perfect for individuals who have very limited team interactions to manage. Also most mobile device calendars provide a web-based version should you need to access it from a computer (i.e. icloud.com for iOS and Google Calendar for Android).
- Google Calendar. Google Calendar is one of the most popular and widely used. Consider taking a look at it’s ease of use and features. We use Google calendar and have used it for many years. However, this next calendar app is my calendar of choice.
- Outlook 365. Microsoft fell behind Google just a few years ago in the online productivity arena. Today, Microsoft has stepped up its game and has given its productivity suite a new look and feel. Microsoft Outlook online or on your mobile device brings back the calendar app you’ve grown to know and love over the years. They’ve made it available online and it’s simply wonderful.
Regardless of which software application (app) you go with, they’re intended to meet a data need and in this case one that solves problems with managing your priorities using calendars. Using apps such as these will provide calendar access and visibility using mobile devices, PC’s, and online via the web. You never have to be without your calendars, ever. How important is it to have real-time calendar updates in this fast paced environment? Very and that’s why we’re offering these AIS solutions. Give these calendar apps a try today.
The Meat of What App Information Services Is All About
App Information Services (AIS) – Part 3
This content is written in volumes so that you can grab the information service that best addresses the data needs you have at this moment and read or visit the others when desired. This content is written not for large companies, but to individuals, small businesses, organizations, and churches who need an information service solution to help with their own data needs without spending tons of dollars and investing a great number of hours learning new technologies. In fact many of the solutions we offer in this content use tools you’re already familiar and won’t require much of a learning curve, just some different type of thinking. Enough background, let’s get to the meat of what information services is all about. Should you like additional background information or have questions, contact me at kerryAclark.com/contact_us.
App Information Services (AIS) is a service which offers consulting and solutions to the following common data needs:
- Calendars. Most individuals use a calendar to some degree (or should). However, have you ever considered a family shared calendar? For small business & organizations, you need multiple calendars such as employee calendars and project calendars. For churches, you may need an overall church calendar, pastors’ calendars, and event calendars. In the content that follows, we discuss simple tools and methods that can help you achieve your calendar needs.
- Contacts. At first I left this category out, but I later realized how important it is to the business that everyone does. No one can get through life without having to contact someone else at some time. In fact, this might just be the most important of the data needs, managing contacts. In this section we’ll discuss how you can manage and use your contacts to support all your individual and business needs.
- Passwords. I’ve seen problems in every area (individual, small business & organizations, churches) and even large enterprises, where people often forget their passwords. In the content that follows, I will share two methods to storing passwords and where to keep them.
- Email addresses and email distribution list management. You’d be surprised to hear me say that even families could benefit from email distribution lists. I’ll explain why in the pages that follow. Organizations & small businesses, and churches already have the platform to create distribution lists if they have their own hosted domain. Usually they just don’t know it or have forgotten. We’ll talk about how you can use what you already pay for to create the email distribution lists you need and discuss why you need them.
- Project and Task Management. Families, organizations, small businesses, and churches all have projects and work that needs to be managed. I have a couple of tools that can organize and handle this data need with simplicity.
- Productivity needs. This includes word processors, databases, spreadsheets, and presentation applications. All individuals who work with any business has to use some type of productivity tool to satisfy a data need. The same is now true for individuals at home, but why pay a fortune for something that’s available free or for a minimal cost or even a benefit with some other type of service offering? All this and even more in the pages that follow.
- Filing. Physical files create problems for us all. I have a couple of alternatives to what you should be doing with your files and how you should handle them.
- Data file storage (cloud storage). Your files are important at every level of home and business. I’m going to teach you how to store your files in an organized, but most importantly safe manner, and that provides a backup to what you have. I will also give you tips on how you can access it all from anywhere.
- Business Data / The Transaction storage. You have data that you capture regularly, we call this “transactional” data due to its recurring nature. It’s the stuff that runs your small business, organization, or church. To some degree, you can also find ‘transactional” data in your personal business. It’s the data you capture, study, and quantify.
- Reusable content. Why use your skills to create anything you can only use once? When you have to recreate something you’ve already done before, it’s a waste of energy, resources, and money. In the pages that follow, see my content on reusable content to take advantage of what you’ve already produced.
- Social Media Management. Don’t overlook the power of social media. Your world wants to know all about you. The question is how do you handle it when it’s not your thing and you don’t have that kind of time?
We will discuss these data needs in more detail in the pages that follow. This summary is just a teaser to wet your appetite. The content we’re providing is enough to get you going and will provide you with some really great information on app information services whether you decide to consult with us directly or not. I like to make things simple and organized and that’s what I’m doing with our app information services content. Let’s begin.
Why Information Needs Have Moved From Big Corporation to the Home?
App Information Services (AIS) – Part 2
Before we can offer “app information services” to others, I must first define it for you. It’s information services for the applications (apps) we all need and currently use in some shape form or fashion today. It’s the app information needs used on your desktop PCs, home PCs, tablets, smart phones, and other mobile devices. It’s the information we use everyday for our personal lives, homes, churches, small businesses, and even enterprises. This content, however, doesn’t apply to enterprises or large businesses and corporations who already have many working solutions for their data needs. “App Information Services” refers to applications used for productivity, to keep your records, collect data, metrics, and support your various data needs and creation. To help you further understand, we will define what it is not, then outline its components.
Not information systems (I.S.) or technology (I.T.)
To put it as simply as I can, “app information services” has nothing to do with I.S. which stands for information systems, the systems running on machines and it has very little to do with I.T. which stands for information technology, the machines and devices themselves.
Most people, especially individuals, small businesses, and churches have no idea what information systems and technology really is, although we hear it referenced daily. Large businesses, enterprises, and post-secondary education have made these concepts very complicated. Trust me, I’ve worked on both sides of these areas for over two decades and sometimes I feel as if I don’t understand them. They’ve become so vast and terminology driven that they no longer appeal or cater to the basic unit who manages data needs, people. Yet, the fact still remains it’s all about our information needs at every level and the most basic level, the individual seated behind the devices.
A Few Examples of Your Information Needs
Now would be a great time to introduce you to a few examples of your information needs-what individuals, small businesses, and churches don’t know. Individuals, homes, churches, small business, and non-profit organizations need:
- Ways to manage and share their calendars easily.
- A place to hold their contacts.
- Email and a place to review tasks, manage their pending tasks, and quantify their completed tasks.
- Productivity apps for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- To know when a database is more effective than a spreadsheet.
- Ways to store and find the files they create and anyone on their staff creates.
- Protection from losing all their hard work when their computers (I.T.) inevitably crashes.
- A way to track their business data and transactions.
These needs are no longer isolated to big companies or big business. Do any of these sound like something you could use? Is it something that you see a need to do better in your life, home, organization, small business, or church? These needs due to the growth in and rise of technology have brought these “app information services” needs down to the lowest levels, that would be you. Where in years past, you’d only find the need for these type of information services in a desk-job, now these needs are in the home and even elementary grade-schools. This content will address those needs and much, much, more.
“App Information Services” (AIS) has many of the answers, solutions, and ideas for handling the majority of your most pressing data needs.
Defining App Information Services (AIS)
App Information Services (AIS) – Part 1
“App Information Services” is a big term, so put it out of your mind as I explain it in simple terms. For more than two decades, I’ve worked with people who all had varying levels of technical skills and we all manage our own data differently. No two individuals use their digital tools in the same manner. If you looked at how one person stores their data files, they might have them arranged in neat folders while the person next to them might have all their files on their desktops. One person might use a spreadsheet for every type of work while the next uses a word processing application. The point still remains, people are the basic unit of managing their information. So to aid them, we’ve decided to offer what we call “app information services.” This service is designed to help you make the most of what you already use and to show you, you don’t have to purchase any other high-price software and hardware to get the job done.
People are the basic unit of managing data needs; they use app information services.
Our team noticed a huge gap in the technology needs for individuals versus large enterprises. The gap widened more for those who started their own small businesses. But as we analyzed this gap, what we found interesting was this. The information needs for all three: individuals, small businesses (including churches and other non-profit organizations), and large enterprises all have individuals at its core, individuals who use the technologies. In other words, people do the work required for their individual information needs, whether on their own (personal needs) or in their small businesses, or in ministries & non-profit organizations or in their positions with large corporations. Their information needs were basically the same. So we’ve decided to give this gap and your information needs a name, “app information services.”
Making one tool work at multiple levels and in multiple ways
The problem is this. Because no one has ever explained these needs, no one knows what tools, methods, and resources are available to meet their personal information needs for performing work, be it as an individual, a person working in or starting a small business, or those who work in “big” business. Most people use software and tools that are provided by their workplaces. If my company uses, Microsoft Word, then that tool is the one I use in the office, at home, and in my small business (if I ever take such a leap). It is in this process of not knowing what you should use that leads to an individual purchasing software they don’t need or a small business buying an expensive server just for email, or that company executive purchasing a custom ticketing platform that costs millions when the system is only needed in one area.
What we have to offer at Kerry A. Clark & Co. are practices on how to use what you already have, provide you with suggestions of free/low cost tools you’ve not considered, and provide recommendations on how to use the tools in ways you’ve not considered to meet your data needs as individuals, in your church ministries, in your non-profit organizations and in your small businesses.
Next we will define “app information services” for you in more detail.