“Going to the calendar” is a great strategy for making the most of your time. You stop taking every e-mail, phone call, meeting, and problem as it comes up, and instead you start scheduling things in a way that makes sense.
Going to the calendar means literally opening up your calendar, turning on the PDA, getting out your schedule, and physically putting into place a written, concrete plan to use every hour in the most productive way.
The key to making this work is to start with a blank calendar and address the tasks, projects, or activities that matter most to you first, before you take those calls and e-mails. Ask yourself, “What’s the best use of my time?” and “Where am I going to get maximum value?” Schedule those things first. Then you can see where the other tasks can go in your calendar. You may find that not everything can fit…and that’s okay. If you’re focusing on what matters most, the secondary items can usually slide. Either you’ll realize they are just “busy work” that doesn’t really need to be done, or you’ll suddenly see shortcuts to the tasks that you did not realize before.
Remember, just as you can control your time, you can also control your calendar. Don’t let it control you.