How to Fight Work Distractions with a Printable Calendar

Productivity or the number of deliverables an employee makes in a definite time seems to be the most common issue that interferes with your work. You have some grand plans for the eight upcoming hours in the morning, and yet by the end of the day, you notice that some of them just vanished.

As an employee, want to be as productive as possible for both the company and yourself. However, distractions are among the main obstacles you meet along the way. Have you considered fighting them with a printable calendar?

The printable calendar works so well in the digital age that many Americans use them for work-related purposes, to handle home administration responsibilities and to manage personal development events and projects.

How can it be so, with all the digital tools and apps available out there? The printable calendar seems to provide you with some benefits you might have forgotten about. When was the last time you didn’t postpone something?

Even better, when were you able to schedule a week without getting lost in detail? Today we explore the unspoken war against distractions and the powerful shield that printable calendars make.

Scheduling is Effective

Most of your work might have a vague schedule that you follow. However, the more you can schedule, the fewer distractions you meet along the way. The paper calendar is above all a tool that helps you plan events and actions you need to take and avoid forgetting about some commitments. The printable calendar is the professional alternative to corner shop paper calendars, as it leaves more room for its core purpose – to help you schedule. There are document formats you can download from and decide whether you need landscape or portrait versions or sheet that include additional planning space.

Regardless of our office job, many employers have different categories of tasks – many of them predictable or recurrent.

  • Your daily responsibilities.
  • Lunches with partners, company meetings, presentations to make or brainstorming sessions.
  • Reports to compile.
  • Emergencies that come up via email.
  • Conferences, workshops, team buildings.

Scheduling everything you can predict is the key time management initiative that saves you from forgetting, working under time pressure or omitting details because there’s no time left for them.

Finding Distractions

There are apparent distractions and some which are so subtle that you take them as work responsibilities. According to Forbes, the most common workplace distractions are music, gossiping co-workers, audible email alerts, phone calls and micro-managing supervisors. Aside from them, there are those hidden things you do that stop you from completing significant tasks. You can eliminate them even before marking the calendar by following the Eisenhower scheme.

  • Important and urgent: These are the tasks that you need to complete as soon as possible for your own good and the company’s or department’s evolution. They make some of your work and need to be taken seriously.
  • Important but not urgent: These tasks can be predicted. They are recurrent, and you know that you will eventually need to handle them. This category also includes actions you should take with long-term personal development benefits. You usually postpone them, even if you’re aware that they improve your work.
  • Urgent but not necessary: They come up in the last minute, usually via emails or a brief manager’s visit to your desk. These tasks should not get into your calendar.
  • Not urgent and not important: Here are the distractions. Tasks with aren’t critical nor essential interfere with your work without coming with benefits. Typically, they represent things someone else asks you to do without bringing benefits to you or company meetings you can delegate colleagues to attend. They also don’t have room in your work calendar.

Use Smart Scheduling

The calendar is useful as long as you master it accordingly. Here are the ways to use smart scheduling.

  • Color code: By color and symbol coding, you will know in the morning if you have a day full of technical work or stop everything at noon and go to a lunch meeting with a business partner.
  • Similar tasks: The brain works faster if you group tasks by similarity. Your capacity to focus will increase and even see potential issues from new perspectives. Minimize your scheduling by adding a number next to the code. You will know, for example, that you need to complete five tasks within a day.
  • Balance information: Remember that the calendar isn’t your to-do list. You should only use it for events and tasks that last for over four hours. Remember this every time you schedule a new day.

Let Me Just Take a Break!

This is probably how you’d explain why you spend minutes on your smartphone. Of course, breaks are necessary. A good workday involves 10 minutes of break every hour. However, the break shouldn’t happen at the desk. Choose to take a walk and observe nature or have a light discussion with colleagues. Instead of writing a comment on social media to a colleague, go to their desks and discuss your opinion about the status or picture you’ve seen.

This doesn’t mean you should entirely give up on social media. However, balance is critical. Many are distracted by what they see on social media and waste more time than planned. Make a notification after a few minutes and activate it to announce you that break time’s up.

Caution is Not Optional

The devil lies in details. Handling a printable calendar as a productivity management tool seems tempting. However, it shouldn’t turn into a burden. You can avoid potential time scheduling risks.

  • Overscheduling: The calendar works for you, not otherwise. You might be tempted to fill it up. However, remember to leave free space and even free days. Emergencies may come up, as well as days when you need to pause from work. Leave some extra time available on your calendar.
  • Taking photos: The calendar may be efficient, but it’s not versatile. It remains on your wall even if you need to leave the office or also go on a business trip. Take all precautions by always having a photo of the calendar on your smartphone. Make sure to update it whenever a new note comes up.
  • Mentioning the calendar: If you have an assistant, you should provide them with access to your calendar. However, refrain from allowing them to edit it. You may fail to understand someone else’s notes or have a new task waiting to be scheduled for an already busy day.

Wrapping Up

The printable calendar survives as a time management tool for both professionals and home workers. You may soon find that many others turn to the calendar instead of getting lost in apps and smartphone notes.

Having a calendar by your side works efficiently for both your personal purposes and work-related events and responsibilities. Use the calendar as a test for a few months, then evaluate and improve your productivity even more!

Written by

Ryan Robinson

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