If you're like me, you have a lot of meetings throughout the week. You might have a one-on-one with a key team member. You might meet with potential or current vendors. And you might take a few select sales or client calls. The meetings start to add up quickly, and it's easy to lose track of what each meeting is going to be about. Even with a heavy meeting schedule, there's one trick I use to never show up to a meeting unprepared.
All said, it's important to mention personal assistants and how valuable they can be in helping you get a handle on your calendar and schedule overall. My assistant knows my scheduling preferences. If I left it up to others to invite me to meetings, my calendar would quickly become a huge mess and my daily focus time would become nonexistent. So having her there to schedule things out for me is a huge timesaver. This leads me to my hack.
My assistant and I have a "ghost" system of scheduling. As an example of how it works, last week, for a client's business group, I did an hour and a half presentation on how to find and hire a personal assistant, which was organized as a straightforward event on my calendar. His assistant emailed the calendar invite and I accepted. But instead of just putting the one event on my calendar, I had two in the same time slot. My assistant and I have what's called the main appointment and a ghost appointment.
What's the difference? The first calendar invite is a shared appointment that the meeting organizer sent over. This is the kind of meeting invite that everyone is used to seeing. The ghost appointment is the same appointment, but it's for my eyes only. My assistant labels it "GHOST," and will color coordinate it for me so that it's clearly delineated from the original shared appointment. I know when I see GHOST and the same meeting details that there is sensitive or additional information that I might need for the meeting. This could include things like attendee or host bios, meeting notes that I might want to share during the call, details on a potential vendor, etc. This simple hack makes it so easy for me to stay organized and never show up at a meeting unprepared -- all my notes are in one spot.
So whether you have a personal assistant (which I highly recommend) or you are managing your calendar yourself, this simple hack can help you stay organized and ahead of the game for all your business meetings.