For those of you who do not use placeholders in your executive's calendar, I want to share some great uses I have found for these.
Tip 1: Use one to reserve a slot a call or meeting might likely fall on.
This ensures no offered times are accidentally filled while you are waiting for a response. You will need to remember to edit and/or remove the placeholder later, but it saves time in the long run. If you think are a couple possible slots then you could reserve two, but do that only when absolutely necessary.
Tip 2: Use one in between calls or onsite meetings.
Having at least 15 minutes in between calls allows your executive to prepare for the next call. If you know there's an important call that might require more prep time, then increase the placeholder time. Remember to turn off the reminder for these kinds of placeholders; they are not needed.
Tip 3: Use one for travel time to and from offsite commitments.
Google has a setting that can predict future traffic to help keep the travel time accurate. Also, keep in mind that your executive might need to allow time to find parking, use the restroom before or after, etc. Keep the reminders set on these if your executive needs a prompt for when to leave in order to keep his/her day on track.
Tip 4: Use one for a likely case of overage time.
Sometimes there are people or regular meetings that tend to run over the scheduled time, so try to learn what those are and add placeholders accordingly. Remember to turn off the reminder for these kinds of placeholders; they are not needed.
Tip 5: Use one as a reminder.
The reminders could be for larger items, such as upcoming deliverables and deadlines, or for smaller items, such as remembering to pack personal items for an upcoming trip. If applicable, remember to add related attachments and/or web links in the entry so your principal has all the information for that reminder in one place. I like to mark these as free if it's for something that takes no time (ex: the location of where something was placed) or mark as an all day reminder if it's something important that needs to show up right at the top of the day.
Tip 6: Use one to keep private information separate from the main invite.
This is helpful if you want to give information or reminders about the person your executive is meeting or has a call with that you do not want the invited person to see. I recommend creating one on your executive’s calendar that is the same duration as the invite. Some examples are for dial-in moderator codes, executive bios or photos of places they are going to for the first time.
Tip 7: Use one for travel placeholders.
Your manager might not have their flights and/or a car service booked quite yet, but it's helpful to add those placeholders as a reminder to not book meetings or calls in the window that they will most likely be unavailable. You can adjust the entry with the correct information once the travel plans are set. Another related placeholder would be for when your manager is going through security and boarding the plane.
Do you use placeholders in your executive's calendar? Please share your favorite uses in the comments below!