A lot of people dread looking at their calendars because it causes too much stress. But what if your LOVED your calendar—and even felt a little giddy using it?
That’s the goal of today’s post, where I’m sharing three tips that have been game-changing for me. (And if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, this is going to help….)
Idea #1: Use One MAIN Calendar that Only Holds Appointments and Deadlines
This can be paper or digital, but the idea is to have a clear, open, beautiful calendar that feels like an empty canvas.
When we clutter our calendars with routines, unnecessary information, or lots of stuff we want to do, it feels heavy. And then we often spend way too much time shifting calendar appointments around because something gets in the way.
Keeping your calendar super simple—with only appointments and deadlines—will serve you on good days because you’ll have so much energy that you will think, “Ahh! What an open, awesome day I have ahead of me. I think I will create a masterpiece!”
But it will also help you on those low days—because you’ll think, “It’s okay. I can cancel the few things I had planned and take care of myself instead.”
If you don’t have any low days, that’s awesome, but I do. And a LOT of people do. There are about three days a month when I feel like I am walking through mud. I get cranky with Eric, I can’t process information properly, and I feel like the world is on my shoulders. (Those are the days I streamline my calendar and invest in personal replenishment. It feels good to know we can take breaks, don’t you think?)
Idea #2: Create a Second “Layer” for Calendar Triggers
If you’re using a digital calendar, this is really easy to do. You simply add a new “calendar” and assign it a different name and color. If you’re using a paper calendar, you might want to write all of your main calendar tasks in one color–and then record this second layer in another color.
My green Google calendar is my “main” calendar, and then my purple calendar is my “trigger” calendar.
I use the trigger calendar to schedule things that are flexible and personal—like naps, Pilates, calling friends on the phone, playing the piano with our children, etc.
Those things don’t have to be done at the designated times, and they don’t involve anyone else, so if my day gets a little crazy, I just turn that calendar “off,” and I can see what needs my focus.
It’s obviously important to prioritize things like rest, exercise, social activities, and family time, but having these kinds of things separate from your key appointments and deadlines gives you one more way to ease the pressure if your day turns out differently than planned.
Idea #3: Create a Single Place to Record Date-Specific (But Time-Flexible) Tasks
As we work with thousands of people throughout the world, we notice that most people have some kind of a calendar to hold appointments, but very few people have a reliable place to record time-flexible tasks that need to be done that day.
This is incredibly important because, if you’re looking for mental clarity, your mind needs to trust that you will at least see the appropriate tasks on the appropriate days.
For example, let’s say I need to email someone next Monday to set up a meeting, I need to check our health insurance on Wednesday, and I need to get cash from the ATM on Friday.
If we put those tasks on the calendar at specific times, we may skip the appointments or waste time rescheduling them because we knew they were flexible.
If we put them on one to-do list (that is continually growing), we’ll waste time and energy scanning that list over and over, looking for deadlines.
So where do we put them?
Eric creates them on his Google calendar as “All-Day Tasks,” and he has a routine to review them every single day so they don’t slip through the cracks.
I use a two-page-per day Franklin Planner, and I write these in the “task list” area. It’s typically a tiny list, so it doesn’t overwhelm me.
Then my day goes like this:
- Check my Google calendar (admire the empty canvas)
- Review my Franklin Planner (think about the best way to incorporate my date-specific tasks—and possibly pencil them into the day if I have total control over specific time blocks)
- Move through my day, balancing tasks, routines, project work, and incoming needs from my family, email, phone calls, etc.
Hopefully these ideas will be helpful to you—or maybe they’ll spark some new ideas that will work even better! Our goal is to help you to feel more organized, happy, and supported whenever you interact with us at LearnDoBecome.
Thank you for being with us! And if you have any additional ideas, comments, or questions, please share them below!