One of the harder lessons I’ve had to learn as a disorganized person was how to use a planning calendar effectively. I LOVE planners, but I didn’t have very many “real” appointments, so most of the pages stayed blank year after year – and I constantly felt behind on things.
In order to find out when you can schedule decluttering time, as well as other projects on your “to-do” list, take your planner pages and:
1. Pencil in all obligated time: These are tasks and activities that have a definite time when they take place. (For me this includes things like church on Sunday, choir practice, and appointments with clients.) Don’t forget to add in appropriate travel time! If you have an appointment from 2:00-3:00 p.m. and it takes 20 minutes to drive to that location, mark out from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the planner
2. Next fill in stuff you have to do, but that does not have a specific time it must be done. This would be things like getting ready for the day (it takes me 45 minutes in the morning), grocery shopping, laundry/housework, daily exercise routine, walking the dog – whatever. For this exercise, block out the appropriate amount of time at the general time of day (in my getting ready for the day example, I block out 45 minutes sometime in the morning).
3. At this point, you can see where you can plug in other projects, like decluttering and hobbies. Think about how often you can realistically tackle these tasks and start penciling them in.
4. And finally, if there are things you want to do “someday,” put those in your planner as well. (I use pencil and schedule stuff like that a week, a month or a year down the line. Now it is no longer a lost dream – it’s in the planner and will be revisited at a later date. At that time, I re-evaluate: Is this still something I want to pursue? Is it time yet?)
Most of us don’t have a very accurate picture of the time we have – or don’t have! By using the planner to schedule the activities you say you will do or even just want to do, you can tell people who ask for your time, “I’m sorry, but I’m not available.” No other reason is necessary!
The bottom line is that using a calendar is key for staying in control of your schedule. You have an “out” when someone tries to put you on the spot for their plans and activities – you get to say, “I have to check my calendar and get back to you.”
Never say “Yes” without checking the calendar!!
Do you have tips for effective use of a planner?
We’d love you to share them in the comments!
*For further reading about this topic, check out: Celebrating National I Forgot Day! by Lisa Mallis