The idea that opposites attract could not have been more apparent than it was when my boyfriend and I first started dating. There I was (a professional organizer with my color-coded calendar, sectioned off into daily tasks and appointments) and there he was (a social butterfly who couldn’t seem to balance his social activities with his personal goals and ambitions).
I couldn’t count the number of times he missed important events or became frustrated because he hadn’t accomplished all he’d wanted to in a day. Today, 3 years later, we have reached a beautiful compromise. I can appreciate moments of spontaneity and he doesn’t miss an appointment and accomplishes more of the things he intends in a day.
The ability to manage daily tasks, events and aspirations is such an important function of life. How are you going to meet your own expectations if you’ve not utilized all the materials and tools you have available to you? Finding a way to remind yourself of the grand list of things that you’d like to accomplish in a day, week, month or, year is essential. No matter what your perception of time is, it can’t be ignored; the clock keeps ticking. While we don’t have the ability to slow time or speed it up when it’s convenient for us, we can control how we occupy those moments.
I recently heard Joseph Ferrari, PhD, procrastination expert, speak at our local NAPO Chicago meeting and he agreed, “You can’t manage time; you can only manage yourself.” So many people look at the use of a calendar as a way to manage time, but really it’s a tool to do something much more powerful, “manage yourself”. In this blog post, we will discuss why it is that your calendar is one of the most important tools you have. A lesson in self awareness, management and organization awaits you.
It Can Be Used as Your Most Productive To-do List
Writing a to-do list and crossing things off can be very rewarding, however, a list leaves out some very important information. It doesn’t usually take into account how much time each task takes to complete or all of the other things you have going on in your daily life.
If you schedule tasks and events right into your calendar rather than on a to-do list, you can place them during times they can realistically be completed. For example, if you need to call the gas company, you had better do it Monday through Friday between 9am-5pm when they are likely to be open. By assigning a task to a specific day and time, you will be less likely to write an impossibly long list and feel more rewarded when you have completed more of the tasks you set out to accomplish.
Love crossing things off? Use a paper calendar and cross entries off once they are complete. Google Reminders is a helpful calendar tool with a super handy strikethrough feature. Schedule reminders in your Google Calendar then cross them off.
It Can Make You More Aware of How You Spend Your Time
Ever look at the clock and wonder how the day is flying by so quickly? What if you could look at your calendar and see what you did, when you did it and for how long? Even if you didn’t accomplish all you set out to do, you would at least know why. You would know what took up so much time. That kind of knowledge will allow you to better anticipate how long certain tasks take. As a result you can plan and schedule your time more reasonably in the future.
Not only does your calendar help you schedule accurately, it can help you pace yourself while completing a task. For example, if you have 1 hour to complete a task, you may be more cognizant of avoiding getting hung up on small, insignificant details. When you know you have a certain amount of time, you can police yourself, move past certain hurdles faster and stay focused.
It Can Help You With Your Social Life
How often have you said to an old friend or new contact, “Let’s get together soon!” or “Let’s stay in touch!”? These verbal promissory notes are nice and polite, but not actionary. Turn these phrases into calendar events. Put something on the books and make it actually happen.
Whether it’s scheduling time with someone or remembering important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, parties or an appointment, the simplicity of having events on the calendar and scheduling around them can be the key to your success.
When you have a detailed calendar, planning events with others is much easier because you can see when you realistically have pockets of free time. As a result, the plans you have are more likely to occur and the you’re more in control of your life! Every week my boyfriend and I have what we call a “To Do Meeting” we share things we want to accomplish that week independently, together around the house and on our date night. We help each other focus in on goals and we put things directly into our shared calendar. Scheduling together gives us more time together not only during our meeting but later in the week!
It Can Help You Achieve Your Goals and Finish Projects
Goal setting is exciting! Many of us have big dreams and plans and love to make ambitious goals during the beginning of the year. Breaking down your goals and projects into smaller steps over a course of months or years is the key to success. Utilizing your calendar to set specific times for you to work on these steps is necessary. Once the excitement of starting something fades, having your calendar to remind you of the structure you setup is very helpful. It can also keep you from becoming stressed out over how much you need to accomplish to complete your goal or project.
Your calendar can help put things in perspective. By having all of your projects, activities and appointments located in one place you have a more realistic view of how much you are accomplishing. Simply having a reminder of what you have achieved or accomplished in a week or month can be very motivating! Gaining a sense of big and small accomplishments may just be the propeller you’ve been looking for to help you continue to grow and make strides toward your goals.
It Can Help You Cope With the Unexpected
Now don’t get me wrong; just because something is in your calendar doesn’t mean it magically gets done. Things happen and spontaneity is good! I’ve learned that from my previously unscheduled boyfriend. But when you have a plan (A.K.A. your calendar), you can pivot more easily. It makes the unexpected easier to deal with. If something comes up or you have an emergency, you know exactly what task or event needs to be shifted or rescheduled. Whether you use a paper or electronic calendar it can be your magic tool because of its beautiful balance of versatility and structure. Join in on the fun!
Now that you know the benefits of a calendar, our team would love to guide you through how to get started with this M2O-TV video How 2 Organize Your Calendar with M2O Co-founder Schae Lewis, CPO®. Once you’re up and scheduling like a pro, share your success sorties with us! We would love to geek out with you over color-coded calendars and your favorite calendar apps. For more tools on managing yourself and getting organized, check out these other blog posts!