Tell Your Calendar Where You Need to Be

6 Ways your Calendar can Help you Chart your Course through Time and Space

by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)
by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)

Your calendar is one of the key components of your trusted system. It’s how you track the plan you have for how you’re going to spend your day.

Most people block off their time with a few words, just enough to remind them what they’re going to do. Look at your calendar. It’s probably full of things like “Gym”, “Budgeting with Nicole”, “Errands”, and “Call Mom”.

That worked brilliantly for paper planners, where all you needed was a title and an arrow to indicate how long the event takes. With the rise of digital calendars, there’s on other thing you should enter. A few seconds when creating the event can save you minutes—or even hours—down the road.

Tell your calendar where you need to be.

Most calendar apps have a location field where you can record where you need to be. Here are six reasons you should take a few seconds when you create the event to enter where it’s going to be.

  1. Eliminate the confusion. Why track when you need to be someplace if you don’t also track where you need to be? This is especially helpful when the event is shared with others. You’re not just meeting at Starbucks, you’re meeting at the Starbucks on De Anza & Stevens Creek.

  2. Get notified when it’s time to leave. If the event has a specific address, some apps, like Calendar and Waze, will check the current traffic conditions and notify you when you need to leave. I love this. It may normally take me 15 minutes to get someplace, but if traffic’s heavy, they’ll tell me to leave appropriately earlier. It’s magical. (In Calendar, make sure Preferences > Alerts > Time to Leave is checked.)

  3. Spot problems with travel time sooner. Have you ever scheduled yourself meetings from 2–3 and from 3–4 in two different locations? It’s not hard to do. After you put in the address, also add the travel time it will take to get there. You can use either a fixed interval or a traffic- and location-aware estimate. This shows up on the calendar above the event to remind you that travel is not yet instantaneous. Give yourself time to get there and then some.

  4. Get directions automatically. When you open Waze, it will scan your calendar. If you have an upcoming event with an address, it will start giving you directions automatically. It’s a wonderful integration that gives you exactly the information you need. You don’t need to ask for directions when you’ve already told your calendar where you need to be.

  5. Have the information you need right where you need it. A habit I developed when I was using a Franklin planner was to always put the hotel’s contact information, including the address and phone number, in the Daily Notes section on the day I was checking in. As soon as I made the reservation, I’d flip forward to that day and write it down. When it was time to head to the hotel, I had all the information I needed right there.

    Put the hotel’s address in the location field and the reservation number in the notes field. If you have a lot of notes you want to include, you can also link to an Evernote supporting document in the URL field.

  6. Remember where you went last time. In addition to recording where you’re going to be, you’re also keeping a record of where you’ve been. This will come in handy the next time you’re staying in the same city, meeting a client for coffee, or retracing your steps to figure out where you found that fabulous apricot jam.

Putting things on the calendar can also help you see when you’re overcommitting yourself. Eight hours of errands on Saturday is fine, as long as you have eight hours to spend running errands. Don’t forget to allow for travel time.

When you’re creating an event, it only takes a few seconds to fill in the location field. You’ll get those seconds back, with interest, the first time you don’t have to go looking for an address. Your trusted system will also be better able to help you stay on track.

Question: How do you track the physical places you need to be? Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.