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In three simple words…… I HAVE GOALS.
That is the simplest answer to why I schedule everything into my calendar.
I’ve maintained some sort of calendar since I began working at 15. Knowing me, I probably had some sort of schedule even before that, but I can’t remember that long ago. My calendars have always included work schedules, appointments, upcoming events, birthdays, etc. The fundamental purpose of my calendar was to keep track and not forget important things.
That is pretty much all my calendar included for decades.
Now my schedule on Google calendar has a lot more in it. I’m not talking about all of the activities of my children; I’m talking about just my schedule.
If you have ever read or heard anything about goal setting, you know that goals should be SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
I agree with those assumptions; however, timely usually meant set a deadline for achieving the goal. I would like to change “timely” to “time” and it would mean you set aside time to work on your goals.
You can set a deadline to reach the most specific goals that are able to be measured and are attainable and realistic, but I argue if you don’t set aside time to work on them then they will never be realized. Life is busy and there are always competing obligations. When life gets busy, most people, myself included, will put their goals on the backburner. Instead they attend to the tasks right in front of them that must be done.
You could spend your whole life putting out fires instead of trying to find out what was causing the fires and prevent it.
Spoiler alert…..there will ALWAYS be something that “needs” to be done that appears to be more important than your goals.
But it’s not always more important, in fact it seldom is. We just think it is.
This is why I began scheduling dates with myself for my goals on my calendar.
I put my doctor appointment on my calendar and I don’t miss it, because I value the appointment and I have scheduled it into my day.
So why should my goals be any different?
I started doing this with my workouts out of necessity and saw the positive impact had. Brian’s work schedule switches every other week and since the girls are too young to be left home alone I have to plan out when I will work out if I want to be sure I do it. On the weekend I look at the week ahead and decide when I will work out and what type of workout I will do (running, group exercise class, lifting). Then I put it on my Google calendar.
The simple act of putting these workouts on my calendar has been great for holding me accountable to get my workout in and knowing that I have the time set aside for what is important to me.
As I started this venture into blogging, a big dream of mine, I realized I was going to have to get even better at scheduling my time if I didn’t want it to impact my family time. As I started out I was working on it here and there but with no consistency. Then I realized how much work I had to do so I decided to aim for 5 hours a week dedicated to blogging and business development.
I wrote this goal down and actually tracked how much time I spent weekly to hold me accountable.
My big goal is to eventually make this business a full-time job and I knew 5 hours wasn’t going to be enough. I needed to increase that to 10 hours a week, which was going to be the most I could set aside given my current schedule. Without proper planning for these 10 hours it wouldn’t happen without negatively impacting my life and my family. I would either sacrifice my workout time for this venture or I would scramble to get the hours done on the weekend thus impacting my family time considerably.
I was unwilling to give up my family time, especially since more time with family was one of the driving forces behind this dream. It was equally important to maintain my workouts because they are critical for both my health and sanity.
To prevent one goal from sabotaging my other goals I knew I needed to schedule my life even more.
Now on the weekend I plan both my workout schedule and a tentative blog schedule. It’s not a rigid schedule, but I block out times each day to work on the blog. The time blocks have to add up to 10 hours. I started this process back in the summer and it worked. I didn’t sacrifice sleep, my workout or family time.
That is until August.
With the change of jobs and adjusting to working at home, the blog got pushed completely to the back burner. Now that I am settling into my new roles I am again blocking out the 10 hours a week.
When I utliized this type of scheduling before it not only worked well, but it allowed me to be more focused on each area of my life. I didn’t worry about the blog when I was playing with the kids, because I knew exactly when I would be working on it next. I didn’t worry about trying to squeeze my workout in, because it was already scheduled.
The system is not perfect nor foolproof, but it’s a huge improvement.
While this type of scheduling seems rigid it is actually quite flexible. Sometimes midweek I have to shift some thing around and that always seems to work out fine. Depending on what is going on in our family life, there are weeks when I will give myself a pass to only work on the blog 5 hours, but that is a conscious decision ahead of time.
I am confident that I will reach my goals because every day I am doing something to work towards them.
It may be something small, but I am doing something. Since August, I did not do my scheduling on my calendar and the progress towards my goals suffered. I felt completely overwhelmed at times and like I was drowning. I am excited to finally be back on track with my scheduling and therefore my goals.
If you have big goals, then you owe it to yourself to schedule time to work on those goals. EVERYONE no matter what age they are should have big goals).
You can spend time daydreaming about your goals or you can schedule time in your week to work on them.
Imagine life a year from now if you spend just a little time every week working towards your goals.
What are you going to do TODAY that is going to get you closer to realizing your dreams?
If you really want to achieve your goals, you must state them publicly.