What to put in your Diary

You might think it’s pretty obvious how to use your (appointment) diary, but you’d be surprised – especially if you’re a ‘diary newbie’ – how easy it is to screw things up. So here’s a quick reminder of what should (or shouldn’t) be on your schedule:calendar

1)  Put ALL your appointments in it. Not just your appointment with your Physiotherapist or Family Planning clinic. Everything. Even the appointments you know you won’t forget: your band rehearsals, your evening classes, even WORK. The only possible exception is IF you work a regular 5 day week (in which case put the times you’re not at work in your diary – such as a vacation). If you don’t work a five day week – if you work part-time, or shifts, or you’re on a contract – put the work days in. Yes, it looks crowded! Now you know how busy you are.

2) Unless you have another system for this (one that actually works) add all birthdays and anniversaries, and potentially extra reminders a few days ahead of the real event (e.g. you might want an appointment entitled ‘it’s your wedding anniversary this time next week’).

3)  Add public/bank holidays[1], Easter[2] (remember Easter moves around from one year to the next), Mother’s Day[3], Father’s Day[4], Christmas Day, Boxing Day (the real Boxing Day), Valentine’s Day, and both days when they change the damn clocks[5] – in your diary. If you’ve elected to use Google Calendar you may be interested to know that you can get it to do this for you by clicking the small down-arrow (next to ‘Other Calendars’ in the bottom left hand corner) and then browsing ‘Interesting Calendars’

4) If your diary has a reminder function I recommend you set it to remind you several days in advance. Yes, days. Mine is set to 10 days (and the day itself). Birthdays are set to one month. There’s no point in getting a reminder about an important birthday or anniversary on the actual day itself – not if you need to get a card and a gift (what d’you mean you always buy the card and gift on the day?)

5) Add your own birthday. You’ll be surprised how many years I agreed to work on my own bloody birthday!

6) Delicate one, this one – you may wish to add your menstrual cycle, or the cycle of someone you’re close to, to your diary. I’m just putting the idea out there. Moving on….

2 thoughts on “What to put in your Diary

  1. I read Peter’s book and started thinking about how much time I have that is not given over to doing the day job. I have six weeks holiday. No I am not a teacher. I am a civil servant that gets an extra weeks holiday for long service. Go on write to your MP. I get Eight bank holidays plus the queen’s birthday plus a half day for maunday thursday*. (That’s the day before Easter and you are putting that in your letter to your MP as well aren’t you). Then there are weekends. That is in total 142 days that I have complete control over. Ok they are going to get whittled down. I have to think about how I work my life between
    1 what I have to do to maintain basic standards
    2 maintaining relationships with friends and family
    3 maintaining and growing my sideline business
    4 experiences, travel and leisure
    5 contributing and leaving a legacy to the future

    So, I must do the washing, ironing and other household chores that crop up routinely week after week. Those can surely be done in an ordinary day. I can stand up and iron whilst watching telly or listening to the radio. After all, I sit down all day.

    Doing overtime for up to 90 hours a year takes care of getting a man in to do things. This sorts out decorating and repairs.

    I am happy that I have people that are pleased to see me when I visit and will do this for as long as I can. I have a business that is profitably and gently growing and will be able to provide me with an early semi retirement on enough income to enjoy life. I have made some great choices in life and by expanding my brain faster than my ageing body is expanding I think that I have some wisdom to share. It has taken my a long time to get some important things worked out in life which I desperately want to share with others. I want to leave behind a legacy also for some of the poorest people in the world who never got to have the opportunities you and I have. I also need to do some physical excertion as sitting in a chair all today at the end of the phone is not healthy. I want to leave a legacy but just not too soon.

    So, now I come on to the concept of quarter days. OK so lets say it’s the weekend starting tomorrow, so I may plan as follows: Do indoor or outdoor chores according to the weather, Buy a year’s worth of clothes (I love being a bloke), visit family, go to the cinema. Thus I have balanced my day between work and leisure. I seldom want to do anything for more than 2 to 3 hours although I did once spend an entire rainy day in a multi screen cinema with my princess, who also likes the big screen experience. I like to read but can seldom do that for very long. In fact as a slow reader, I spend all my time sadly reading business and self-help books to find the elusive answers to where I am going wrong. Safe in the knowledge that by knowing that War and Peace is by Tolstoy and is something about Russia, I know as much as the majority, so in this life much great fiction and also Jeffrey Archer will pass me by. I want to see blue skies and golden beaches from sea view restaurants as often as I can to remember, if the day ever comes that I cannot do that any more. More than anything, I will know that most of the choices were mine to make or influence.


    1. Hi Stephen

      Thanks for your comment. I’m intrigued by your concept of quarter days and how you manage you’re managing your diary. In a way I’ve recently started to something very similar – although in my case my days naturally get divided into thirds.



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