Here we are, spring upon us! I know so many of us think of this as a time to deep clean our closets, garages, storage units and the nooks and crannies of our houses. As a matter of fact, my husband, son, and I just spent last Sunday cleaning out our garage. I feel like we have a whole other room in the house! I’m sure many of you also often get these itchy feelings about cleaning up the clutter.
But what about your calendar? As a productivity expert, one of the things that is often the starting place for many of my clients is their calendar. If they can get that under control, then they can actually concentrate on many other things in their lives, jobs, and businesses. What if you concentrated some of these feelings of needing to spring clean on your calendar? I have a simple process I use that I would love to share here.
In order to get things cleaned up, you must create an overview of what you’d LIKE things to look like. Just as you have an idea of what you’d like your garage, storage space, or closet to look like, you need to do the same for the calendar. When I clean a closet out, the first thing I do is empty everything out and onto the floor so I can sort through it. How do we do this for the calendar you might ask? Use a blank calendar that is month X, meaning it could be any given month. This means I have a beautiful clean slate from which to begin. There is nothing like a clean, unmarred calendar!
FIRST: Create the “ideal” from which you’d like to work. That means that you start with what I call the non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are the things that you do for YOU such as exercise, family outings, kid stuff, etc. They are also the things that happen at the same time each week or month that you are not in control of. For instance, I always put my golf and tennis on the calendar for the summer (in winter, I schedule ski days in there). Then, I make sure that I put my networking on the calendar that happens each month. I know that the 2nd Wednesday of the month is a full day out of the office, so I mark that off. For you, it’s anything that happens that’s a set time that’s out of your control.
SECOND: Look at what your “big rocks” are and get them on the calendar. These are projects or things that you know would move you forward in some way. For me, this is time to work on things I am going to launch in my business and time to strategize and think. I try to schedule two one hour blocks a week to do just this. You may have more or less time that you need for this, but it becomes a date on the calendar—not just a wish that you could do someday. If we don’t create space, then it feels like we start squeezing things in rather than being intentional about them, and the big things just stay wishes instead of reality.
THIRD: Look at things that are moveable but need to get done. For me, I teach a class and run three programs for my business. I mark down when these happen as well as blocks that I am available to coach individuals who are in my programs. For you, there are things that you do each week or month that aren’t set times. For instance, you might put time to work on your books, your household finances, your social media or marketing, and meetings that you run. The beauty of this is that not everything needs to be done every week. Some need to be done once or twice a month. Remember, what you’re doing here is creating the IDEAL. We’ll get to reality in a minute!
FINALLY: It’s time to pull out your actual calendar and face reality! This is the tricky part that takes a lot of patience, but the beauty is that you can now look at the ideal and the actual items on the calendar and see where you can start making changes right away. Where can you already see that you can move things and get more intentional about getting things done? What you may find is that you can start moving things sooner than later. The hard part is that the calendar is likely already full. So take some time to look at what CAN be moved or integrated together to get closer to the ideal. Then get PATIENT. There are things that you are going to have to ride out before you can start integrating the ideal. If you can keep the ideal in mind, you can get pretty close to it in a month or so!
The most important part of all of this is to realize that you control your calendar…it does NOT control you! And all of us seem to end up in a spot every so often when that calendar starts to get out of control and ends up taking over. When your hair starts to feel on fire (or even better, before that), it’s time to clean it up! Grab that blank calendar follow the formula above and start fresh. You’ll be amazed at how good and in control it feels.
Need a little help controlling your calendar? We’re here for you! Contact Julie today for a FREE Discovery Session