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How and why should you create a good calendar event

What type of calendar events can you create?

There are two types of events that we have to deal with during our typical working day

  1. Events, deliveries, and actions that have to be done at a specific date and/or time
  2. Events, deliveries, and actions that have to be done as soon as possible

The calendar is a brilliant tool to handle the second type of event, due to its event and date/time relation.

Now, these events can be further broken down into:

  • Day specific events
  • Time specific events
  • Information specific events

Let me elaborate on each event!

Day specific calendar events

These are events that are due on a specific day but not at a specific time.

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To name a few day specific events:

  • Full day workshop
  • Full day conference
  • Delivery Due Dates
  • Vacation day
  • etc.

It’s helpful to add a short information to these types of events, should you need it.

In case of a due date, it could be a list of deliverables that you can access anytime, anywhere. In the case of a conference, it might be the location, agenda as an attachment, or even your schedule that you have created based on the most important items in the conference agenda.

Time specific calendar events

These are the most popular calendar events that hopefully you are using daily! They can range from your typical catch-ups and updates, review meetings, progress presentations, or your individual deliverables.

They are also often used to book a single timeframe if multiple different people attention is needed and they are from different locations or even timezones

In short, these are your appointments and they have to be done in the specific / set timeframe.

To name a few time specific events:

Information specific calendar events

Most often these types of events will be Informative rather than action specific.

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Meaning that they might not require an action from your side, rather just a knowledge of that even in a case where actions will further be needed.

To name a few information specific events:

  • A day when a specific framework version support is dropped
  • Schedule impacting activities of your direct reports and/or people you work closely with on a daily basis
  • Bank Holidays
  • etc.

Adding information helps for these sorts of events also!

In the case of a day when vacation ends for a colleague, it can be a reminder to call and brief them on the latest developments while they were absent.

In the case of a mentioned dropped support, it might be a version number or release note article that you want to be knowledgeable about.

How to create a good calendar event

Add information to your event

I guess you already noticed the pattern here – adding information to your calendar events is highly encouraged and is one of the many steps you can take to achieve a less stressful daily routine!

The more information is collected and parked in your calendar, the less information needs to be stored in your “quick access memory”.

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Information you add will be very specific to the event you are creating, but to give you the starting list, these are the items I commonly add to my calendar events:

  • Add links to the online meeting tool you will be using
  • Add meeting rooms you will be using if its an on-premise meeting
  • If you will be collaborating on a document, design, or other viewable/shareable material – feel free to add them (link to google docs, link to Figma, etc.)
  • Event explanation – If it’s an RCA meeting, don’t be afraid to add a few sentences on what’s an RCA meeting. This especially helps if its a recurring event to which new people get added often
  • If there are several party’s involved, feel free to list them
  • If you expect preparation from participants, be clear about it – list the resources that need to be studied upfront or other information that is a must for a successful event.

If possible, define expected outcomes

Similar to how a task, user story, or action item has a clear and achievable expected outcome, I encourage you to start defining the expected outcomes for your calendar events.

First of all, this will help to align the expectations of event participants and will allow them to prepare mentally for what’s to come.

Secondly, this will help you get better at defining expected outcomes! Which as we learn through several failures, is incredibly valuable for you and your team’s productivity and expectation alignment.

As an example, these might be expected outcomes of different calendar events:

  • Clearly define what the definition of done means for the Front End team
  • Identify the 3 highest impact UX items that can be later prioritized for development
  • Review and if possible, approve the updated UX of applications log in view

To wrap this up

To wrap this up in as few points as possible:

  • Use calendar events to store information about events, this way relieving yourself from storing all this information
  • Understand the difference between Day specific, Time Specific, or Information specific events
  • Add information relevant for you and other attendees
  • If preparation is needed for the event, make sure people are aware of it
  • Define the expected outcome of an event
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