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I have always loved calendars! Obsessively. As a kid, I created monthly calendars on a bulletin board in my bedroom. Full-on, elementary-school-teacher-quality calendars displayed on my wall. I loved the process of designing each one and the act of taking it down to make room for the new month. Later, I became fascinated with the Filofax. Oh, what an amazing thing! So many colors. So many inserts. All the possibilities of a fresh calendar page.
I was a calendar junkie.
I couldn’t get enough. I always had several calendars in operation, simultaneously.
After I had children, my calendar collection grew...
-Wall calendars with colored markers for ever-changing schedules.
-Pocket versions to carry from place to place.
-Large tear-off calendars positioned on my desktop.
I was unrealistically attached to all of my calendars and the illusion of order they brought to my busy life.
In case you haven’t already guessed....
There was a problem with my method.
I never had all of my schedule information in one spot. I’m sure you saw that confession coming:-) I had the bits and pieces of a cohesive calendar divided among three or four different versions. It was inefficient and exhausting trying to keep up with filling in all of the squares!
I was forever lured by the idea that a new calendar would make me better organized. Some were beautiful, some utilitarian, some erasable...all not being used effectively.
Enter my always patient and often right husband.
Matthew would repeatedly, following my tearful asking, attempt to help me with my disheveled scheduling system. He would lovingly proclaim that I needed to use one calendar to actually house my entire schedule.
Consistently, Matthew would reassure me that if I had (and adhered to) one calendar where I scheduled everything that was on my very long list, I’d have more free time. Sure. I wanted to believe him, but didn’t.
It took years, many years, for me to actually come around.
I’m pleased to announce that I'm finally using one calendar. It was a long, sometimes uncomfortable road...and I still get hung up sometimes and forget how essential it is to really trust the process and use my calendar to organize my time.
I use Google Calendar on my laptop and iPhone.
I schedule everything that matters.
When I forget or foolishly decide it’s not necessary...things slip through the cracks or I feel overwhelmed. Or both.
I still love a beautiful calendar. I’m romanced by the site of a well-filled Filofax. I long to fill in the boxes by hand.
I know my issues and I walk away. For me, one paper calendar leads to several paper calendars...all taking up space- both physical and mental- yet not really keeping me on track.
What’s makes it onto my calendar?
Kids’ sports and stuff
But there’s also…
I’m so close to using my calendar to completely support my schedule!
Recently, I’ve realized that I also need to be scheduling time for..
Or else these important elements of my life are overlooked. My days fill up with other tasks and I run out of time...often missing out on the activities that would bring me the most joy. Time to make some adjustments.
I have finally learned that the list is only the first step.
For ages I was stuck in the space between making the list and making things happen. I now understand that ultimately the list must be transferred to the calendar in order for any action to actually occur! Duh. I can’t believe how long it took me to really get it!
I receive a monthly email from the blog Afford Anything. The following is an excerpt from a recent post. Paula, the author, decided to keep a diary of how she spends her time. I was in shock at after reading this...
"Imagine that you spend 45 hours per week at the office — 9 am to 6 pm.
You commute 30 minutes each way, leaving home at 8:30 am and returning home at 6:30 pm.
You also spend 30 minutes each weekday morning “getting ready” — showering, dressing, brewing coffee.
You spend another 30 minutes on work-related tasks after you return home, like checking email or ironing shirts.
You sleep 8 hours per night.
You spend 10 hours per week on chores and errands.
You exercise 5 hours per week.
Sounds like a jam-packed schedule, doesn’t it?
But guess what?
In the schedule I described above, you still have 42 hours per week of free time.
That’s the equivalent of a full work week.
Here's a link to the full post
So, I’ve learned that if I use one calendar and schedule everything, the result is lots of open space. Or plenty of free time.
I’m still in awe of how this actually works. Seems so counterintuitive to me...but alas, a full calendar gives me more time:-)
Starting this month, I am going to use my calendar for all of the items on my unrealistically long to-do list. I’m going to do as Matthew has taught me and ‘schedule everything’.
Swapping my summer clothes for fall clothes in my closet
Cleaning out the garage
Buying new bras and make-up
Helping Greta with her college applications
Enjoying fish tacos with Matthew
When used properly, my calendar reminds me how much time I truly have in a week.
When I utilize the squares by filling them with what’s on my to do list, I create a realistic picture of how much I can truly accomplish in a day or a weekend.
What are your calendar tricks?
How do you use your calendar to make your life flow more smoothly?
Do you rely on paper or an electronic version?
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Thanks so much for being here. Can't wait to hear your thoughts.