How to prioritize tasks and fill your calendar with meaningful things, including time for fun, rest and rejuvenation
When you look at your calendar – whether it’s on your wall, on your computer or on your smartphone – do you see what your days, weeks, and months look like and feel thrilled?
Or do you look at your calendar and feel a little defeated… kind of like,
“Well, there’s my life! Why is there never a spare moment?”
Over the last 40 years of studying transformational principles, I’ve found many tried-and-true ways of taking clear action in order to generate the results we desire in life.
One of the things I’ve learned over time is the power of calendars. If we’re not careful, our calendar can become something that starts happening to us, instead of reflecting our own choices as to what we want to have happen in our lives.
It’s very easy to quickly let our calendar become the dictator of our whole life!
So I’d love to share with you a few techniques for managing your calendar… so that it doesn’t manage you.
Remember that you are stronger than any circumstance, situation or condition. You are the keeper of your own life, and your calendar reflects this!
Our words are powerful and shape our lives, either positively or negatively
Positive, affirming, expansive language generates positive results, while defeated, constrictive language creates less desirable results. It’s that simple. Our words are powerful.
The way we talk about our calendar is no different – how we choose to speak about what we have going on in our lives informs how much we’ll enjoy how we pass our time and spend our days.
Many years ago I was doing a big project with Bob Proctor and Gay Hendricks and some others and we were trying to schedule a time to get together and prepare for a live event we were putting on.
One person would suggest a time and I found myself repeatedly saying,
“No, actually, I’m tied up there and tied up there and tied up there.”
Finally my friend Gay said,
“Mary, why do you love being tied up so much?”
I said that what I meant was that I was just all booked up, but Gay persisted, explaining that I had specifically said “tied up” – which means constricted, bound, held down – and ultimately not free.
I realized he was right and when I took a good long look at my calendar I realized that everything I was doing I was truly happy to be doing. I just wasn’t happy with the amount of things I was doing.
I started learning how to prioritize tasks by looking at what on my calendar, choosing happiness, and prioritizing those things… and giving myself a little bit of breathing room before completing the other things I cared about.
So in addition to giving more time to the things you love most, try shifting the language you use to talk about the tasks on your schedule.
The more optimistically you talk about them, the more energy and less stress you’ll approach them with!
Fill your calendar with VALUES first
You may be wondering how to determine which items on your calendar you most love, and how to prioritize tasks to reflect what you love.
The trick is to fill your calendar with values before obligations. Here’s what I mean….
There are two places where we keep unmistakable records of our values – our calendars and our checkbooks.
We can say all day long that we value family, but if our family doesn’t show up on our calendars, then these are just words, not values.
If you value giving back to charity, does your calendar reflect volunteer hours? Does your checkbook reflect donations?
So take some time to really think about and establish your values, and then make sure your calendar reflects them. For example, if you value family, put your family members’ birthdays on your calendar first, to prioritize celebrating them. If giving back is a value, add a charity event to your calendar!
Prioritize tasks AND fun… weeks and months ahead
Of course we need to practice mindfulness in the time we are giving to our jobs, meetings, doctor’s appointments – and the earlier we get these tasks on our calendar, the better able we are space them out and not feel flooded with obligations.
But another way to ensure that we are living a joyful life we truly love living is to get a blank calendar, and then think about some fun things we’d like to do some weeks or months down the line.
For example, maybe you haven’t been to a concert in a while and you want to make sure you go to one this year. Or maybe there’s a museum exhibit coming to town in a few months and you want to remind yourself of it. Go through your calendar and add some things you’d really love to do, even if they’re not coming up in the immediate future.
Doing this will create a balanced calendar that reflects a reasonable schedule as well as plenty of things to look forward to!
Create a calendar that reflects fun, freedom and growth
Above all, create a calendar for yourself that reflects and shapes who you genuinely desire to be.
Fill it with values, tasks and plans that foster growth and positive change, that set you up to be the person you want to be a year from now.
And remember: It’s great to have a calendar, but don’t let a calendar have you.
Notice that when you fill your calendar with things that are meaningful to you, when you prioritize tasks and leave room for rest and rejuvenation, your calendar will follow your command, not the other way around!
And now here’s a FREE gift that will help you create a life you truly love living:
If you dream of creating a life that is freer, fuller and more inspiring, I invite you to download a free copy of my ebook, Stronger Than Circumstance: 3 Proven Ways to Overcome Fear, Limitations and Procrastination to Achieve Your Dreams.
In this free ebook, you’ll discover:
- How your thoughts actually predict the course of your life and limit your ability to go after your dream, and how to shift your thoughts away from doubt and toward success.
- The hidden reason you may be sabotaging your dreams, and how to expand your ability to be more creative, happy and successful in any area of life you choose.
- Three simple and effective mental strategies that will help you overcome doubt, fear and excuses and consistently move in the direction of your dreams!