Today, I want to talk about the elusive art of calendaring. If you’re like me and have multiple areas of your life that you’re juggling each day…you better be using a calendar. Trust me, I’ve tried it both ways. The first way, just trying to “remember” (yeah, right) everything that needs to be done without scheduling it. No need for a spoiler alert here…things most definitely fall through the cracks.
The other (BEST) way, put it ALL down on a calendar and schedule it in. No need to try ineffectively to remember it all, nothing falls through the cracks. We have a system and watchdog (aka your calendar) for it all to get done.
I’m going to break this down into three parts. First, we’ll talk about the paper vs. digital calendar comparison. Next, I’ll show you how I get everything in my life down on my calendar and color-code it all. Finally, I’ll tell you exactly what to do when things don’t go according to plan. Let’s get into it.
Paper vs. Digital
As I’m sure you know, there are tons of different calendaring tools. Let’s start with the basics: paper calendars vs. digital calendars.
I’ve always been someone who loves a paper planner. I love the act of writing it down, using washi tape to mark off certain things (if you haven’t used washi tape – get some!), using colored pens that call my attention to specific areas, etc. It just makes me feel in control of my life when I can see it all there in color inside my cool paper planner.
But…and this is a big but…I also love a digital calendar these days. I’ve been trying to convert to digital for years, but couldn’t give up my washi tape and colored pens! About two years ago, I finally realized that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. These days, I use both paper and digital calendaring systems, but I use them in different ways.
Planning That Works For Me
Here’s what works for me:
For my paper planner, I use Powersheets Goal Planner by Cultivate What Matters. I’ll do a separate post on this later, but here’s a highlight list of what I love about the Powersheets Goal Planners:
- they have monthly calendar layouts that cross two pages and are tabbed for quick access,
- they have a complete section of pages at the beginning of each planner that lets you really set your goals for the year for every aspect of your life and then pages to work out the details of each of them,
- they have quarterly reviews built into the planner at the end of every three months that allows you to take note of the progress you’re making toward each goal and make changes if necessary,
- they don’t have those weekly pages for daily schedules that I would never use and just took up space in my previous planners,
- they have a large spiral binding for easy use,
- and they are beautiful! (and come with stickers!)
So, in my Powersheets Planner, I map out my year and then I record the big events for each month on the monthly tabs. I add birthdays, anniversaries, appointments (doctors, dentists, personal care, etc.), vacations, events, and holidays.
It gives me a quick view of my month…you know, because of the washi tape and colored pens!
Now, for the digital side of my planning, I use (and am in love with) my Google calendar. This is where I really plan out each of my days. I have several daily recurring appointments for things like bible study, workouts, and one called TCB (taking care of business). I use my TCB hour for making phone calls and running errands that need to be done for the day.
I also create some standing time blocks in my digital calendar weekly. Each weekday, I have a recurring two-hour block of time that can be used for concentrated attention to whichever topic needs it most that day. I also have two recurring 4-hour time blocks for each week to focus on larger topics. I have these scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Next, I have three different digital calendars that I integrate together for a daily view. I have my work calendar, my business calendar, and my personal calendar all coming together so that I can see all my meetings and appointments together on one schedule. Oh, and did I mention it’s all color-coded? Haha!
After that, I bring things over from my Google Task list to my calendar and fit them in where there is time. Those are as simple as click-and-drag!
When It Doesn’t Go As Planned
One of the things I love most about my Google calendar app is the ease of moving time blocks around. It’s as simple as click-and-drag. Our days often (very often) don’t go as we’ve planned, do they? Being able to drag things around and sort them in different ways lets me still get it all done, just in a different order than I had planned!
If I need to move one of my time blocks to a different day, that’s just a simple click-and-drag also.
Being able to sort and resort meetings, appointments, and tasks in this way keeps it all on the calendar somewhere, even if you aren’t able to get to it on the day that you had planned.
Those are just things that work for me, but you do you! Most importantly, just get it all down on the calendar(s) of your choice! You’ll be shocked at how it will free up sooo much space in your head! And…help you get it all done!
Hope this helps calm the chaos,