🎉 Reclaim is free through 2021 Learn More

ReclaimAI Blog

Productivity tips, calendar hacks, and product updates from the Reclaim team.

Here's how your coworkers manage their calendars
September 18, 2019

It's hard to know if your calendar is "normal". That is, with the amount of chaos that we encounter just trying to defend our time every week, it's often tempting to ask "is this what everyone else is doing, or just me?"

At Reclaim, we've been working to bring more order to the calendar: analyzing and evaluating trends in how time is managed and where it's spent, providing workflows for seamlessly mapping your time to what matters and defending it from the endless distractions of the day. We wanted to find out more about the preferences and habits that go into calendar management, particularly when it came to managing privacy and etiquette around scheduling. So we sent out a survey to which 37 folks responded to find out more.

Survey respondents

We surveyed ICs and managers from a variety of different roles: Product Management, Sales, Engineering, HR, Finance, Program Management, and Marketing. Despite the differences in their jobs, we found some pretty consistent trends in terms of the tools they use as well as the way they use them.

Tools for managing your work vs. personal calendar

One of the things we've learned from the folks we interviewed in the process of building Reclaim is that there are often some big differences in how people manage their work calendar versus their personal calendar. Some of this is obvious, but there is a good deal of nuance to it: for example, how do people think about merging their work and personal calendars so that they don't lose track of when they're busy? To that end, the first questions we asked survey participants about related to the services and apps they used for their personal and work calendars.

We took a few obvious things away from these results:

  1. People overwhelmingly use Google Calendar for both their personal and work calendaring service (PS: you should check out these Google Calendar hacks if you're looking to be a better GCal user)
  2. While a majority of people use Google Calendar's native mobile app, a significant percentage use iOS Calendar for both their work and personal stuff (probably because it combines their calendars into a single view)
  3. Nobody seems to like Outlook as a personal calendar ;)

The next thing we wanted to know was how people juggle events between these calendars. There are a bunch of ways to make personal time appear on your work calendar, all with pros and cons. Here's what we found:

It seems generally that people prefer to keep church and state separated, so to speak, when it comes to personal and work time. If they add personal time to their work calendar, it's basically as a duplicated block of time that masks any personal details they want to keep private. Adding your personal calendar to your work calendar or adding your work email as an invite on personal events has some advantages in terms of simplicity, but it makes it hard to ensure you're keeping your personal events private on a consistent basis.

How private is your calendar?

Along those lines, we wanted to know more about people's habits when it comes to overall privacy of their work calendar. Some folks pride themselves on having their events public across their organization, whereas many others take the approach of just showing free and busy times without any details. There are merits to both, but this is what our surveyed group thought:

Most respondents trended toward completely private calendar events here, but a surprising number of folks indicated that they keep most of their events public while marking particular ones as private. Personally, this is the one I've always leaned toward: generally, I want people to know what I'm up to and don't mind sharing my calendar, but if I have an event that is sensitive (e.g., a personnel issue or a people review) I want to make that event private. Very few folks indicated that they would favor a calendar with completely public events.

How much time are people spending on their calendars?

Anecdotally, we've heard that managers spend anywhere from two to ten hours per week managing their calendars (which is already too many hours, and a big driver for why we're building Reclaim). One of the big things we wanted to learn is how much time this stuff takes up week to week.

We found an interesting correlation between the number of people who responded "<1 hours" and their role: nearly all these people were individual contributors who likely didn't have the level of calendar insanity we see in managers. Managers, understandably, quoted a slightly larger range: they all spent between one and five hours per week managing their calendars on a weekly basis.

Finally: how stressful is it to decline a meeting?

Nobody likes letting people down, particularly when their career is on the line. There are a ton of signals that you send every time you cancel, decline, or reschedule a meeting that's on your calendar: you're tacitly telling someone that you have something that is more important than the meeting they've scheduled. However, good managers understand that you absolutely have to make time for your priorities if you're going to get anything done or have a sane work/life balance. We asked people what their biggest concerns were when it came to moving events around:

Nearly everyone here thought about the value of the meeting to the business -- which, of course, can mean a lot of things -- but there were quite a few respondents who also indicated that seniority of the attendees as well as team optics were a big deal for them as well. This is a hugely important aspect of calendar management that is often overlooked: you can have a great process for managing your time, but if you aren't able to say "no" in a way that preserves your social capital and emphasizes the importance of your time to the business, these kinds of fears take over. In any case, it's evident from the data (only a handful of people said they had "No concerns") that nearly everyone feels this pain and gets some stress from it.

As we build Reclaim, we're going to keep asking questions about how people manage their time and their schedules on a regular basis. What would you like to know that we haven't asked here? Let us know by sending us a Tweet or emailing us.

Top Posts

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

10 Google Calendar Issues You Didn’t Know You Had

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People
July 28, 2021

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People

Time management experts and real-world data both suggest that making time to read isn’t about forcing it into the nooks and crannies of your schedule. It requires sustainable systems and habits. Here are five practical strategies you can implement immediately to reach your reading goals.
Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square
July 26, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square

In this edition of Calendar Heroes, we talk to Rohini Pandhi, a Product Lead at Square, to learn about her style, tools, and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the product efforts for one of the leading digital payment companies in the world. Follow Rohini at @rohinip on Twitter and on LinkedIn. 
15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work
July 22, 2021

15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work

Check out the top 15 Slack apps productive teams are using today to build and support the future of work at their organization across calendar management, project management, status updates, HR and team building.
Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge
July 19, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge

We talk to Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge, to learn about his style, tools, and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the marketing vision for the brand that brought the world the first RFID-blocking wallet. Follow Connor at @couuor on Twitter and on LinkedIn. 
Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools
July 7, 2021

Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools

We get asked almost every day - what's the difference between Reclaim.ai and Clockwise? While we're both in the smart calendar space (and are awesome tools to help make more time in your calendar), there are some key differences to consider in these two calendar automation tools.
Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips
July 2, 2021

Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips

How to create better calendar event titles to communicate context to your invitees, colleagues, and incoming schedulers. Establishing workplace calendar communication is simple, yet it starts with the first thing people see: the event title.
Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity
June 22, 2021

Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your quality of work, energy level, and creativity? In this article, learn 5 ways in which taking a lunch will actually boost your productivity.
Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time
June 17, 2021

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

Learn the 5 key differences between effective vs. pointless meetings, and 3 tips to avoid unnecessary meetings getting booked on your calendar.
3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
June 10, 2021

3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

You want work-life balance, but work and life can't separate into equal halves. Forget balance, here are three ways to make work-life harmony a reality.
Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉
May 26, 2021

Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉

We're excited to announce that Reclaim has raised $4.8M in seed funding led by Index Ventures. Here's what comes next.
Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management
May 25, 2021

Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management

How to use the Pareto Principle 80/20 rule to block time for your priorities.
10 Google Calendar Issues You Didn’t Know You Had
May 11, 2021

10 Google Calendar Issues You Didn’t Know You Had

Google Calendar is great, but sometimes it's not enough. Here are 10 problems you're probably experiencing, and how to use Reclaim.ai to make them 10 times better.
3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus
April 28, 2021

3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you struggle to do one thing at a time, you're not alone. Here's how to switch to single-tasking to improve your focus.
How to Create a Smart Calendar
April 22, 2021

How to Create a Smart Calendar

A smart calendar can help you simplify calendar management and boost productivity. Here's how to create a smart calendar so you can take control of your busy schedule.
Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them
April 9, 2021

Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them

Most time management advice is out of touch with reality. Here are the top 3 problems with it and how to solve them.
Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek
April 5, 2021

Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek

We're excited to announce that Planner is now available in public beta for all Reclaim users. Planner lets you prioritize and schedule all your Tasks and Habits exactly the way you want, every week.
4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules
March 25, 2021

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Blocking time in your calendar is one of the most proactive ways to manage your schedule. Here’s the most popular time blocking approaches. Plus: learn how to use Google Calendars and Reclaim to easily practice time blocking.
Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It
March 16, 2021

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

How do you stop context switching from eating into your productive time? We look at tactics to help you reduce task switching and improve your concentration at work.
Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track
March 8, 2021

Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track

It's not always easy to achieve deep focus in the modern workplace. Here are evidence-based strategies you can use to improve your focus during the workday.
Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar
March 1, 2021

Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar

Battling to find time for your most important priorities? Here are time management techniques for regaining control of your calendar.
Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar
September 1, 2020

Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar

We just launched Tasks. It's like your backlog and your calendar decided to make it official and get hitched.
Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines
June 26, 2020

Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines

Struggling to make time for the things that matter in these crazy times? Never fear, Habits are here.
Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix
May 27, 2020

Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix

We had a chance to sit down virtually with Zachary Smith, who founded Packet before it was acquired by Equinix, where he now serves as Managing Director for their bare metal and edge computing business.
Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts
May 11, 2020

Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts

We just launched Reclaim Assistant, a smarter way to get your calendar under control.
The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need
April 23, 2020

The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need

Tired of reading posts about Google Calendar hacks and tips that just aren't useful? This is the one for you.
4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home
April 16, 2020

4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home

If you're new to working from home or working remotely, these new features from Reclaim will help you to keep your sanity intact.
5 ways to help your remote teams
March 31, 2020

5 ways to help your remote teams

Now that your teams are remote, how do you make sure they don't burn out? Here are 5 ways to help your remote teams keep things balanced.
How good is your work-life balance?
February 7, 2020

How good is your work-life balance?

How defended is your work calendar? Here are some numbers that might make you wonder.
Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!
January 24, 2020

Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!

We're excited to announce the launch of Reclaim LifeWork. Automatically block time on your work calendar for personal events, and never miss out on life again.
8 tips for running a great product demo meeting
October 15, 2019

8 tips for running a great product demo meeting

Are your weekly demos getting stale? Here are 8 easy ways to make them better.
Google Calendar's working hours feature just got stronger
October 2, 2019

Google Calendar's working hours feature just got stronger

In September, Google made some changes to its Working Hours feature that hint at how it's trying to defend your work-life balance.
Here's how your coworkers manage their calendars
September 18, 2019

Here's how your coworkers manage their calendars

We surveyed 37 workers across different roles to find out more about their calendar management and meeting habits.
How to have fewer (and better) meetings: a sitdown with David Grady
August 21, 2019

How to have fewer (and better) meetings: a sitdown with David Grady

We sat down (virtually) with David Grady of TedTalk fame to chat about his perspectives on meeting hell, how to gracefully decline bad meetings, and where he sees the future of this whole affair going.
How to fix your broken work calendar
August 6, 2019

How to fix your broken work calendar

This handy template and tool gives you a way to take back your time by focusing on what matters.
Time blocking makes your calendar busy (in a good way)
July 16, 2019

Time blocking makes your calendar busy (in a good way)

Want to have a great workweek? Start by blocking time on your calendar.
Why does my calendar suck?
July 8, 2019

Why does my calendar suck?

You're a smart person. You're good at focusing on the right stuff. So why does your schedule still suck?
See more posts

Ready to Reclaim?

Try it out