As it’s the start of a new year, and new projects are starting to come up, dreams awakened, goals set and waiting to be achieved, intentions overarching our actions…it’s time to give y’all some structure to kick major butt this year.
We can’t do all that we want to do, and be all that we can possibly become, without some foresight and intention. Calendaring, old-fashioned as it sounds, really helps move your life along in a sane, grounded way.
I calendar like my life depends on it. Because it does. I’ve got 1 company, dozens of clients, 2 part time jobs and an active social life. If I don’t put everything on my calendar, things fall apart fast. In fact, I developed my system because I got too embarrassed double or triple booking myself and constantly having to cancel last minute and apologize to friends. Never before unveiled publicly, here is the system that revolutionized my life.
Look at all your commitments. Nights out with friends, your job, school, concerts, part time work, etc. What do you spend most of your time doing?
Look at their impact in your life. What are the things you do because they earn you money? Because they are super fun? Because you ‘have’ to? Things that are just plain good for your soul? Start creating some overarching categories based on impact. Some helpful ones are: for me, for others, for work, for fun or: Fun, Work, Passion Project, or: things that give me energy, things that drain me, must-dos – the categories should make sense to you and not exceed 4 of them.
Pick your categories, and pick your colors. Yep. You’re going to color code your calendar. Why is this important? Because now you can see at a glance, without even having to read, how much of which things is in your week. So you can tell in a tenth of a second if your week is already filled up with ‘must-dos’ that it might be kinda a tight, stressful week, and you should book some relaxing time in there while you can. It also gives you a visual cue when your life is getting super out of balance, and you need to make time for the more personal, energy giving activities (why are these always the first to go when things get busy?)
If you use a google calendar you can create 3 or 4 different calendars, color coded for their impact. Then as you continue adding events to your calendar, you just select which calendar it applies to. Et voila.
I have my calendar divided into 4 colors – 1 for each part time job, 1 for The Creative Giraffe, and one for personal life. It looks pretty and works amazingly. It really frees me up to say yes or no with clarity and insight to what my future plans are.
Bonus step 4:
When asked to do something, attend a meeting, or take on a project, always respond with ‘let me check my calendar.’ – for the smart phone carrying among us, this is a 20 second delay, and enables you to say yes or no with confidence that you won’t have to backtrack later. Which I hate doing, so I always check first.
Calendaring is a huge life skill – it lets you lay out, in a really concrete way, your hopes, dreams and actions towards them. It lets you say yes or no with clarity and confidence. It’s a structure for you to start trusting yourself, and earning the trust of others by not constantly backing out of commitments. If you’ve got a passion project, put your action steps on your calendar as events.
It will help you maintain some semblance of balance and sanity in your life. Most people get fairly stressed out when they don’t know what’s happening next, or when they are going to do something again. It enables fear and scarcity to take over, and the stress and anxiety are sure to follow. Calendaring breaths oxygen and space into that process. It empowers you to take a really clear look at your life, what you’ve got going on, and what you might want more of. If you want more of something, put it on the calendar! Create a recurring date for the dance class you’ve been meaning to take.
You will be infinitely more capable of achieving your intentions and goals this year (and your whole life) with a secure calendar backing you up. Plus, wouldn’t it be great if this was the year you stopped double booking yourself?
Photo from URL.