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15 Mar

How a circular calendar gives you a reassuring overview

Datum: 2022-03-15 00:00

A to-do-list which is easy to use is worth its weight in gold when we want to keep track of all the things we have to do and what we promised oth­ers we would do. But not all our com­mit­ments are as brief as to-do-tasks (which are in terms of call”, e‑mail”, write”, sched­ule” et c). Some assign­ments we work with are more exten­sive, they take longer to com­plete and span over a longer peri­od of time in the calendar.

We can refer to them as projects, assign­ments, cas­es, change ini­tia­tives, work­ing groups(’ projects) and activ­i­ties, but what they have in com­mon is that they require more than a work­day to be com­plet­ed and that they con­sist of sev­er­al steps, mean­ing that we occa­sion­al­ly return to the task and con­tin­ue work­ing on it a lit­tle at a time until we ulti­mate­ly can check it off as com­plet­ed from our list.

The whole pic­ture in one sin­gle image
If we have an overview of our more exten­sive com­mit­ments we can go through it at least once a week and make sure that we have defined a next step for each and every one of them. This way none will be for­got­ten or neglect­ed, and it becomes eas­i­er to ensure that we are con­tin­u­ous­ly progressing.

We often find our­selves work­ing on these larg­er tasks in sev­er­al places at once; in a vir­tu­al project-room here, in a fold­er there, on a white­board in anoth­er part of the office and some­where deep with­in a case man­age­ment sys­tem. So many peo­ple I meet do not auto­mat­i­cal­ly have a com­pre­hen­sive and com­plete overview of all their projects and larg­er tasks in a sin­gle loca­tion, and hence have to cre­ate one of their own.

There are numer­ous for­mats avail­able to us: a list, a mindmap, a spread­sheet, and of course the cir­cu­lar cal­en­dar, which I have bare­ly men­tioned thus far in these newslet­ters. But I am cur­rent­ly work­ing with an orga­ni­za­tion that use cir­cu­lar cal­en­dars exten­sive­ly, and this is most cer­tain­ly a viable option when want­i­ng to get an overview of our projects. 

Do this

  1. If you have both engage­ments and projects which are annu­al­ly recur­ring as well as unique projects which you need to com­plete by the end of the year, the cir­cu­lar cal­en­dar could be a prac­ti­cal for­mat which will help you get an overview.

  2. If you are not using cir­cu­lar cal­en­dars in your com­pa­ny already and have a tem­plate pre­pared, then make a first draft on an emp­ty sheet of paper.
    • Draw a big cir­cle and divide it into twelve pie wedges which you label with the months of the year.
    • You can allow for the wheel to have two tracks or cours­es, so that you get an inner wheel and and out­er. The inner course con­tains the recur­ring com­mit­ments, such as appraisals, work­ing on the bud­get, plan­ning vaca­tions, and so on. You can keep the out­er course free from any­thing to begin with and grad­u­al­ly fill it with the unique projects you are due to com­plete through­out the year.
    • Indi­cate dif­fer­ent areas, kinds, inten­si­ty or direc­tion (internat/​external) of the tasks and projects using dif­fer­ent col­ors so that you can get a visu­al per­cep­tion of the whole pic­ture just by trow­ing a glance at the wheel.
    • If you scan the wheel after writ­ing in the recur­ring projects and tasks, then you will have cre­at­ed a tem­plate which you can print out at the begin­ning of next year.
    • Or, you could refine the wheel dig­i­tal­ly after scan­ning it once you have found a for­mat which you are sat­is­fied with, so that it will be easy to dupli­cate it when­ev­er you want to.
    • If you mount the wheel onto a larg­er paper using a brass fas­ten­er and let anoth­er paper cov­er it, you get a spin­ning wheel which either only shows the three most rel­e­vant months (the month that passed, this month, and next) or shows the whole year.

  3. Dur­ing your week­ly recur­ring meet­ing with your­self, take a look at the wheel, and add to-do-tasks to your to-do-list if you should real­ize that you have yet to define the next step for any of the projects.

Attain both relax­ation and effi­cien­cy with perspective
If you cre­ate a cir­cu­lar cal­en­dar it will be very easy to get a visu­al overview of all our com­mit­ments at any time, which helps you work with greater fore­sight. You will feel that you are in con­trol and know what is going on at the moment, which gives you a great sense of relief in your work and life. If you are asked to be respon­si­ble for anoth­er work­ing group it will be much eas­i­er to make an accu­rate assess­ment regard­ing if you have enough space and time to com­mit to anoth­er project, rather than real­iz­ing that you are in over your head too late.

What is your pre­ferred method?
Do you use a cir­cu­lar cal­en­dar to get an overview? Or did you just cre­ate your first cir­cu­lar cal­en­dar? If so, what does it look like? Tell me!