I remember watching my Mom (one of the all-time, busiest women) stand in front of her wall calendar with a pencil in one hand and a phone in the other, carefully erasing and moving around her appointments like a wizard of train timetables. She could always find ways to "fit it all in", and she did so with an ease that laughed in the face of those who claim, “You can’t meet every train.”
Considering that she managed a house of 7, with 3 generations living under its roof, while running her own client-based business, her calendar was as full and well regulated as the scheduling boards of Grand Central Station. It was truly marvelous to watch her balance her calendar.
I must have adopted some of her will to “fit it all in.” While we may be meeting different sorts of trains, we both want to maximize our precious time.
Let’s be honest, time is our most valuable resource. We cannot get anymore of it once it’s spent.
So, we must all ask ourselves how do we want to be spending our time? We must decide what we want to share with the world while we are here. This requires discernment of values so that we can live on purpose, with meaning and with intention.
Our values can be translated into goals, which can be helpful for living on purpose. We can set goals related to career, family, friends, spirituality, health, and in all other areas of our lives.
Our goals can be big or small. I personally like setting big goals but acting in small incremental and attainable ways. Eating that elephant one bite at a time -- eww gross - eating a giant pumpkin one bite at a time? Eating a giant pumpkin pie?? You get the idea.
To manage my goals and my time, I prefer using a paper calendar system and over the years - dissatisfied with commercial products, I’ve invented my own system. I like writing and rewriting my goals and plans. I prefer having a place to keep it all - all of the disparate plans, ideas, and dreams so that my brain doesn’t have to busy itself with holding onto it all. I, also, believe that in writing everything down - getting all of our ideas and thoughts out of our heads - we make room for the next big thing.
In general, I like to set big goals over a year’s timeline. Then, I assign tasks to each goal and break those tasks down into the smallest steps. I divide the tasks among the months, then among the weeks, and finally among the days. I like to focus on one month at a time and have designed my planner to be in monthly modules, but more on all of that later. I will be launching my calendar system, Annalong Planners, in this Thursday’s blog. So stay tuned for that goodness!
All in all, I find taking a minute to plan saves much more time down the road, and more importantly, in planning, you get to put intention behind all that you do. Even the things that you have to do but don’t feel like doing. In planning them you are reclaiming the reason for doing even the most undesirable things.
How do you like to plan your life?
PS I should mention that I still prefer to use digital calendar for syncing family and cottage schedules! Techy calendars can be wonderful and convenient, too!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.