Time Management

Before I begin this post I must preface it explaining that up until 1990 I ran my household with four children with no calendar.  I kept everything in my head.  But my life changed when I started my own business and needed to keep track of not only my family’s activities but my customers as well.  So on with the post…

It’s  the first of July and that means investing in a new calendar to plan my next year.  My favorite planning calendar is an AT-A-GLANCE Academic/Fiscal Professional Appointments callendar.  Using a calendar that begins in July gives me a six-month jump on planning for next year (more on that later in this post).   I like this calendar for the following reasons:

1.  The time span for each day is 7 AM – 9 PM (pretty much the hours of my life)

2.  It’s set up in 15 minute increments (more on this in the next post)

3.  It allows me to look at least six months into next year

Yes, I use all the electronic devices to help me remember events, but I still like being able to grab my calendar and put things on it without having to turn on the computer.  Also, you need to know that this system is not about what calendar you use but the order in which you plan things.

So here’s a system I’ve used for years and it’s the best I’ve found.  Thank you Judy Kawiecki, one of my many mentors over the years, for sharing this with me.

Grab a pencil and a red erasable pen. (I’m curretly using a Pilot Frixion ball point with an eraser).   You can ink in information after it happens if you like but up until then life has a way of changing.

Your goal every week should be to pencil in any dates you know about for a minimum of two weeks but ideally out as far as you can go.  Fill in your calendar in the following order and you will find amazing things happen.  For one thing, your life will feel more balanced and you’ll feel like you’re prioritizing more effectively.  Make certain you account for travel time in both directions when scheduling appointments that include driving:

1.  Church time (include any church meetings, choir practice, scripture study etc.)

2.  Job (pencil in the hours you work plus travel time).  If you work nights, you may have to use this calendar for your daytime schedule.

3.  Appointments:  Dr., dentist, nail, hair and any driving commitments you might have for baseball, soccer, ballet, senior citizen obligations, etc.)

4.  Family Time (no telephone, television, electric devices). Go have fun together!   Sunday evenings are a great time, to have family members bring their calendars and get together for 15 minutes.  It’s a time to find out when reports are due, when treats are needed for classroom activities and when everyone needs the car that week.  It’s also a valuable time to teach children how to begin managing their time as well.

5.  Date Time (no telephone, television, electric devices).  If you are not married, set aside time each week  to build relationships with those friends who are important in your life.

6.  Personal Time.  PENCIL IT IN!  Do activities that you need to do to “fill your cup”.  Spend at least 2 hours a week developing a hobby or persuing an interest that makes you feel fulfilled.  Regardless of what it is, PENCIL IT IN ON YOUR CALENDAR!

7.  Other obligations; projects that other people have imposed on you to get done.

If you have appointments or need to make contact with someone, pencil in all pretinate information; address, phone number etc.  Your calendar will become a quick reference for this information.

I enter all birthdays and anniversaries in red ink and each person’s phone number in pencil (phone number’s change sometimes) and I try to call each person on their birthday.

In July of 2009, I picked up my new calendar and that evening sat down to enter birthdays for the year.   That’s a chore in and of itself as we had parents still living, nine children, their spouses and 29 grandchildren.  When I went to bed at 3 AM I had a full picture of our life the following year:

My dad turned 80 in February in California (We needed to plan a party!)

My husband’s mother turned 90 the following week in New Mexico (We needed to plan a trip since we’re in California!)

Three of our granddaughters were turning eight and would be getting baptized in three different locations in July; one in Tracy, CA, one in Tehachapi, CA and one in Mesa, AZ   (We needed to plan two more trips!)

In September, we were hosting a family reunion at our house for about 50 people. (We needed to start some lists!)

In October, my mom turned 80 (We needed to plan another party!)

In November, my parents were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.  (Still another party needed to be planned!)

In December was Christmas with more planning needed for gifts (yes I use an Excel spreadsheet for Christmas shopping!)

Whew!  That was a year!!!  However, it could have been much more challenging had I not had six months to help me start my planning process.  That’s what scheduling your time can help you accomplish!  The other valuable thing that happens when you use this calendar, is that you will see when 15 minutes increments open up in your schedule and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in 15 minutes.  That’s the subject of my next post.  So until then, this is the first day of the rest of your life so start planning your future!

Thanks for checking in!

Cheryl

Call to Action:  Put a “Note to Self” in your calendar, on your grocery list, in your palm or whereever you look for your To-Do List. 

Pick up a calendar

Keep a list of how to schedule your time binder clipped in the front of your calendar until you have it memorized…

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