Did you ever have one of those exhausting days when you didn’t accomplish any of the things you had planned, but you were on the run all day and aren’t even sure exactly what you DID do?

Most people fill their calendar with meetings and hope to get their “real” work done in the ever-shrinking white spaces. Some people schedule blocks of time for their non-meeting work, which is an excellent strategy to fulfill work intentions. Yet in both cases, the day often does not go as planned.

Backfilling means interacting with the calendar consistently throughout the day, and writing in what actually happened. You record what you did, and reschedule what you had planned (but didn’t do). You adjust appointments to reflect how long things really took, and resolve conflicts to show which meeting you attended (since you weren’t in two places at one time).

Using the calendar to show what truly happened, not just what you aspired to do, will help you reflect on the choices you made so you can validate those choices, or be more mindful in the future to resist getting pulled off your intentions. This mindful reflection boosts your confidence in your decision-making. You’ll feel better, and make wiser choices tomorrow.

Backfilling also helps you plan and communicate more effectively because you learn how long things really take, become more realistic in your scheduling, and become more concrete in your communications with others about what is possible.

What can you learn by backfilling your calendar? Let me know.

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