Diary management, whether it is for your personal or professional life, can be an extremely time-consuming process but by following the suggestions detailed below, the process can be made simpler.

• Schedule appointments with sufficient buffer time between them, to allow for travel time, pre-meeting preparation or even a much-needed lunch break.
• Colour code. This has the functional purpose of having a screen easier to read. Assigning colours to appointments means you can see at a glance what sort of day your boss has, whether anything needs to be re-arranged, whether you need to prepare an itinerary or travel arrangements for an offsite or whether you have a nice quiet day ahead.
• Use modern technology. Probably the most timesaving advancement available to help with diary management, is technology to facilitate virtual meetings.
• There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to diary management. The approach you take to diary management has to work in line with the personal inclinations of the calendar owner. So, an important part of setting up an effective process is to be honest about anything that should impact on a scheduling decision.
• Set reminders. Are you making use of reminders? Calendars will allow you to set multiple reminders per event and receive those reminder notifications by email or notification. Reminders can be used to not only ensure you don’t forget about the meeting entirely, but can also help you plan for it too.
• Plan your exercise and family time. Unless you put it on the calendar, it won’t get done. Well, that applies to your exercise and time with your family. Whether you go in the morning, afternoon or evening, do it three times a week or every day, put exercise time on the calendar.
• Add time zones for convenient scheduling. If you are scheduling an appointment with clients or colleagues scattered all over the globe or with your executive when she’s traveling, make sure you add a time zone to your appointments.
• Thoroughly consider the value of meetings and appointments. Make a habit of carefully evaluating all meeting and appointment invitations.
• Include details. Include as much information as you can into the meeting invitation because this will avoid you from needing to update the invitation later.

Being a good diary manager means thinking outside the box, being creative with scheduling appointments, and knowing your boss’ key priorities to be able to make decisions on the diary. It also means having the trust and autonomy from your boss to be able to manage his or her diary as appropriate in order to get the job done.