Do you have a calendar you use daily? If not, you aren’t taking responsibility for yourself, your time, or your life. And I’d hasten to bet you are not using your time effectively. That means you aren’t achieving the results you desire.
I began thinking about this topic recently when a reminder email failed to go out to a segment of my clients who are members of a group coaching program. Because the reminder didn’t go out, only one person showed up. Why? She had written the session down on her calendar. She looked at her calendar and, therefore, knew where she had to be and when.
I send out tons of reminders for my programs. I’m always amazed when someone emails me after the fact and says, “I’m so sorry I missed this. I didn’t realize it was today.” What? I want to say, “You got the memo…You know…The email? And the date was posted on my website for months.”
I’ve known people who rely on their intuition and memory to be where they need or want to be. I understand the desire not to live by a clock or calendar…to go with the flow, but I firmly believe that type of system or strategy won’t get you the results you want.
Despite my desire to rant about this topic (I did so in the video below), what I want to do is tell you why and how to use a calendar daily, so you become effective more consistently.
Why You Need to Get (and Use) a Calendar
The highest performers in the world live by a calendar. On that calendar, schedule manager or Day-Timer, they block time for the things they need and want to do. And they look at this calendar multiple times per day.
Their calendars don’t run their lives, though. They run their calendars.
They decided what goes on the schedule and what doesn’t. And these highly effective people also decide where to place “white space” on the calendar to do nothing if they please. In fact, keeping a strict eye on their calendar and what events or tasks end up in specific time slots allows the people to have more freedom—to do nothing or things they enjoy.
Additionally, the calendars or scheduling systems used by the highest performers help them accomplish the results they desire. And those results could be an increase in productivity, more time for family, accomplishing major projects, or going on vacation three times per year.
By blocking time on the calendar and using the daily time slots as a GPS system, they get where they want to go…and they get there on the right day and at the right time. They don’t miss or forget about important events because their calendar helps them remember and keep what’s important front and center.
It also gives them the ability to say, “Today, I don’t need my calendar. There’s nothing on it!” And off they go…until the next day.
Let’s now talk about getting a calendar and using it.
Don’t Use a Physical Calendar
While I know it’s nice to have a physical calendar to look at, and many people prefer this over a computer app, I don’t recommend these. The reason is simple: They get lost and left behind.
Even if you have done a great job of blocking your events, task, and activities on a paper calendar, like one a desk planner or a notebook (even a Bullet Journal), this effort will do you little good if you leave it home or can’t take it with you. And if you lose it, that’s your entire schedule for months to come…gone.
You want a calendar that goes with you everywhere and can’t get lost. Or if it does, can be recreated easily and quickly.
Get a Calendar App
That’s why I recommend you use a calendar or scheduling app. For instance, I use iCal in conjunction with the Google calendar. I also use a scheduling app so my clients can get on my calendar. These synch with my iCal so they don’t schedule sessions at times when I’m already busy.
I like both the Google calendar and iCal because they synch with my iPhone. All I need is my phone to check my calendar at any given time, like when I’m making a follow-up appointment at the doctor’s office.
And if your phone, computer, or tablet get lost or stolen, all your information is stored in the cloud. You easily can get it back in moments.
Plus, I get reminders from my calendar app! That means I’ll see the reminder show up on my phone or screen 15 minutes before an event. (You do have to set this up in your settings.) The reminders help me do what I need and be on time during the day without constantly checking my calendar to see what’s coming up next.
Which brings me to how to use your calendar…
Consult Your Calendar at Least Twice Daily
Here’s how I use it—and I suggest you do the same:
Each evening before I leave my office, I review the next day’s calendar. I also look at the rest of the week. I create time blocks for the things I need to do the next day or on subsequent days.
I also may review the calendar again just before bed—if I feel the need. Doing so helps me wake up in the morning knowing what my day involves. I also unconsciously prepare for the next day as I sleep.
I review the calendar again the next morning. This activity keeps my schedule fresh in my mind. I also can alter it at that time if need be.
Each Sunday I review the entire week. I then have a good idea of what my week looks like. I might block time for activities for the whole week.
I often look at the entire month or even several months into the future and make adjustments or simply keep myself apprised of what’s coming up.
It’s a good idea to look at your entire year in December or so as well, which I also do. Make sure you are plotting in time in your schedule for what you want to do and need to do. This might include vacations, educational seminars, promotions, or deadlines for major goals.
Take Responsibility to Achieve Results
A calendar does not have to tie you down. It can free you. And it can ensure that you do the things you want to do—like showing up for a class or webinar.
Here’s the point: Your calendar helps you take responsibility for your life and the results you achieve daily.
Don’t let life just happen to you. Craft your life day by day, hour by hour. And then show up for that life.
Tell me in a comment below how you use a calendar and what difference doing so makes on your results.
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