Planning your Personal Time

Calendar user? Yes, all day! or Nope, no way!

Most likely all of us have some sort of calendar we use regularly right? Or maybe you are one of those lucky ones that are saying….a calendar? What do I need that for? Oh how that sounds wonderful and scary all at the same time!

But for those of you that do rely on a calendar….it may be documented on paper or a digital version. Maybe it is even a bunch of post-it notes stuck to your computer or refrigerator. I say this because I remember this being myself way back when! But for the most part, we all need something to keep track of all those appointments and things we need to do. Are you with me?

One calendar, two calendars, three calendars…FOUR! 

So now that we talked about having a calendar. How many do you have? Yes, I am serious! Do you have one for work, one for personal use? One for who knows what it could be, am I right? We can often feel like we have too much going on and not enough time to accomplish it all. That is a very common complaint of many. I am here to tell you from a former 2 calendar person…it does not have to be this way. 

Let me ask you this? Do you plan your personal time? If not, you should. I am not talking about setting personal appointments that you need to attend like a doctor appointment, a lunch with a friend, or your child’s parent-teacher conference. I am talking about personal time for you? Maybe you are thinking the way I did when I was first introduced to this concept! There is no time to put personal things I want to do for myself on a calendar! Believe me, I thought the same exact things!!

A new way to Calendar!

The good news here is you don’t have to change anything about your process if it works well for you. However….if you find yourself struggling to stay organized or never integrating personal time and activities for yourself then maybe keep on reading. 

The type of calendar system you use isn’t the most important piece I want to stress to you. What I want to suggest is that you include your personal time activities on your calendar. Yes, it may cause your calendar to look quite full but the good news is you have a plan and what you plan increases your likelihood to accomplish it.  

So this is how my calendar looks. I use a google calendar. I have separate sub-calendars that are color-coded so I can differentiate them easily at a glance. I have a personal sub-calendar and a work sub-calendar along with some other additional sub-calendars so I can really break it down. I can see them all in one view or hide them with the click of a button. 

On Monday of each week, I take the first 30-60 minutes of the day and I dump all the to-do’s that are stored in my head on a piece of paper. This is everything personal, work, or otherwise that I am occupying space in my brain for. When I think I have it all out, I push myself to go even deeper. List those things that I want to do and never get to. 

I can’t stress enough the importance to include your health/wellness and personal care desires also. This is the only way we put importance on them. Which often means, it’s the only way we accomplish those goals as well. How often do you have a plan in the morning that includes these personal health/wellness to-do’s and they are the thing that gets pushed aside when the day comes to a close. 

Once I have all this on paper in front of me, I look at what amount of time I will allocate for each. This is a huge tip!! So listen up!! If you don’t tell yourself how long something will take, you will either take too long or never complete it. Tell yourself exactly how long you will take by blocking out the time for each project or task. I map out each item on my handwritten list until I have them all crossed out! Then I crumple up the paper and throw it away. You can’t imagine how good this feels! Everything is on the calendar, I don’t need all these notes hanging around cluttering up my space. 

Now…work on your plan!

I have been following this system for over 6 months and I cannot tell you how life-changing it has been. Early on I noticed my mind stressing over something that I remembered I needed to do. I just told my brain to calm down as it is on the calendar already. By doing this, I cleared up so much capacity in my brain to function more efficiently. I also built up trust with myself to know I will follow through on my commitments. I found my productivity skyrocketing! 

You may be thinking, this is too rigid. Trust me it is not rigid, it is so empowering!! I still have the flexibility and the ability to move things around, because we all know that life is UNPREDICTABLE!!! 

The most important thing here is to put importance on all parts of life, especially what rejuvenates you to keep moving forward. Don’t let that be what falls off the calendar….or worse yet…never even makes it on there!!

“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. ” ~Charles Richards

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