How Should You Get Organized With Free Online Calendar Templates?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Aug 19, 2020 7:12:13 PM ET
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We all have busy days packed with everything from dentist appointments to the kids’ soccer practices to the conference calls we aren’t exactly looking forward to. And while we’re used to running from task to task in a flurry to get everything done, some of us might never get used to remembering everything we have to do — not without a little help, at least.

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That’s where online calendar templates come in. Often available for free, these tools help you maintain your schedule, stay organized and better anticipate what you need to remember each day to relieve some of the stress that comes along with juggling a busy life. Learn how to get the most out of the free online calendar template you choose by applying these helpful tips.

Remind Yourself

One of the great things about using online calendars is that they’re brimming with features that paper planners can’t support. One of the most convenient of these is that you can set reminders that alert you when you have an appointment coming up, when you need to complete a to-do list task or during any other time you need some extra encouragement.

A digital calendar can send notifications to your email inbox or your smart device, which is especially helpful for getting your attention if you’re immersed in a task that can leave you losing track of time. If you’re still in the process of choosing an online planner, look for one with this functionality.

Customize and Tailor

Another great feature of online templates is that they’re often fully customizable, meaning you can choose everything from the page layouts to the fonts to the colors of the date boxes. This helps things look appealing if you’re planning to print some of the pages out, of course, but it also means that you can switch things up to ensure the template includes everything you need. This is a major advantage over traditional, book-style planners that are pre-printed — you can’t change what’s on those pages.

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With a digital template, on the other hand, you can easily move rescheduled appointments to new slots without having to cross out large chunks of text. You can also design the template to suit your needs. Maybe you want to add a small section to each daily column where you can write down your menu plans. Or, maybe you want a page at the beginning of each month where you can write down and track goals. Online calendars let you add these and many other features seamlessly so your templates are personalized to meet your exact needs.

Know What to Include

Because there are so many elements you can add as you’re customizing your template, it can become overwhelming before you realize it. Think about what you’ll really use, remembering that you can adjust later. Another helpful thing to consider? The ways you should use the template and what you should actually write down. You might be tempted to include everything, but that can quickly eat up space on the pages and make things difficult to read.

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It’s better to leave some blank space and write down what’s most important, like appointments, meetings and other events you know you’re likely to forget. It’s also a wise idea to write down what’s important to you personally, whether that’s recording a short note about how the day went or tracking how many glasses of water you drank. Just remember that you don’t need to fill every bit of blank space, even if you can delete some of the text later.

Plan to Plan

As you move through the week, the coming days in your schedule will fill up with new appointments and tasks. It helps to set aside a block of time on your calendar to manage your to-do list. It might sound kind of odd to plan for planning, but it’ll help you get the most out of your calendar in the long run.

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Before a new week starts — say, on Sunday night — schedule a half hour or so to go over what you need to do during the coming days. Use this time to refine your schedule, adding in blocks of transition time between meetings and other appointments so you’re not rushing from one thing to the next because all your obligations are timed back to back. This can help you save time later in the week, and it can also get you used to using your calendar, making it a habit. Plus, you’ll feel less frazzled having that built-in time when you can pause, regroup and prepare for the next task.

Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Things Up

If you’ve never really used an online planner before, you might find that the template you initially chose is something you don’t end up loving. Maybe you notice that you’re not using it as much as you intended to because it’s missing some features you wanted, or perhaps you decided to try monthly planning when you already knew weekly worked well for you.

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Don’t feel like you have to stick with the current template just because you started with it. The goal is to make your life easier, not add something to it that you dread using. The beauty of using a digital calendar is that it’s easier to search for and find a new design that’s more appealing to you. Be flexible and willing to engage in a little trial and error to find the calendar that meets your needs.