It’s amazing how intentional you have to be to get shit done. My family knows that one thing I say all the time is that if it isn’t on your calendar - it won’t happen. And it’s true. You know that technique of writing down your goals, I think what that really means is put it on your calendar. I’ve been studying personal development for a long time and I don’t even remember the first time I heard this. When I actually got it into my head and started living my life by that, EVERYTHING changed. Seriously - you want something?
PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR!!
And you should put it all on your calendar. Including your time off. This is what I mean when I say you have to build in your balance. If you don’t set aside time to do the things you need to recharge guess what? They don’t happen. See, here’s what usually happens.
Most people (lets say 90%) move through their day on autopilot. They get up and do mostly the same things they did the day before. All things that they have likely been doing for years. The reason for this is simple. The human being is a creature of habit. In an attempt to conserve energy we create habits of behavior and thought that don’t require us to do things we can’t automate. So what does a day look like for most people then?
Well let’s suppose that a day could look like this. You snooze through your alarm a few times. You get up, use the bathroom, have something to drink (likely coffee or tea), shower, get dressed, and go to work. At work you do your job.
Maybe it’s office work so you check emails, chat with a few people, have lunch, pound out some more work on the computer then head home.
Or maybe it’s outdoor work. You clock in, chat with a few people, run some equipment, have lunch, have a meeting, head home.
Or maybe it’s COVID time and you get up, don’t get ready, work in jammies, have lunch then maybe turn your computer off about 6 to watch TV.
How close did I get? Maybe the time shifts and you work in the evening instead of the day. Or maybe the environment shifts and your answering phone calls or taking care of people. Or teaching. Whatever it is - how much does it shift from day to day? Now. How many times in your life have you said, “I should do _______ more.”? Maybe it’s going outside and playing with your kid. Maybe it’s taking a bath and having a facial. Maybe it is signing up for that class you’ve thought about taking at your local church. Whatever it is - how often do you really get around to doing it? Ok, now be honest with yourself about it. How often? How often do you really WANT to do it but aren’t?
I can guarantee that it is at least in part due to the fact that you haven’t put it on your calendar. You haven’t made it part of your routine. Dude! When it’s not part of your routine the habit follower that you are will find excuses or legitimately forget to do it! Even when you say it’s important. Even when you really want to. Even when you know you should. Because you do what is familiar. PERIOD.
So today I want to talk about how to build balance into your calendar. Into your life. It’s being on purpose with what you actually want to fill your day up with. And a few strategies for helping it stick.
Now balance to me does not mean equal. It’s not a 50/50 even split of things in your life. You don’t take 24 hours and divide it between all the things you need to do and make them the same. So remove the idea of a scale from your mind. Instead think of a diet. Like a healthy diet. You need a certain amount of different things in order to keep your body running optimally. And, like diets, some folks might need different qualities of each thing. We all need a little bit of everything; how we get it and how much we get is dependent on individual factors.
For example; I need a little less sleep than my partner and generally do well with about 6 to 7 hours a night. He does better with about 8 to 9 hours each night. Both are well within normal ranges; we just have a different optimal standard. So what are some things we all need in our lives to create balance? Well here’s a start:
Time with friends
Time being productive/working
This is just a start and the specifics with change from person to person. For example; I get time alone and self care by making sure I get a bath once a week. I pour myself a glass of wine, add something good for my skin to the water, put in some soft music, light candles, and give myself some good skin care while I soak in the tub for at least 30 minutes. I also make sure that I have at least 30 minutes every weekday meditating, and journaling. So that is also time alone, self care, and reflection. It’s like a little puzzle figuring out what you need and how you want to give it to yourself. My partner’s time looks different because he has different needs. So too do our kids. But we work hard to encourage them to make time for the things they need.
So, guess what the trick is on this? I’ve scheduled these things in my calendar. For reals everyone just knows that I wake up early so I can meditate and journal. Because it is part of a schedule it is an expectation for myself and so - it gets done. And now that I’m doing these little things for myself every day/week. And giving myself what I need emotionally, mentally and spiritually I am able to handle stress and disruption better. I mean; I just feel better overall. And especially right now, that’s worth its weight in gold.
Ok so how do we actually get this done? The first thing you need to do is look at what you’re doing right now. Keep a journal for a week and just write down what you do and how much time you spend doing it. (TIP: put an app on your phone and watch how much time you spend scrolling through social randomly - we’ll get back to this). This will be eye opening, I guarantee it. And I really encourage you to be extremely precise with this. Everything you do and how long you do it. Did you spend 30 minutes in the shower and 10 minutes getting dressed? Write it down.
How much time did you spend eating; including the little snacks you grab on the go? Write it down. What did you do right before you fell asleep and how long were you in bed before you did? Write it down.
You will not believe how much time you actually have in your day when you do this and you will likely be surprised what you are doing with that time.
So once you know where you are at it’s time to #ConsiderYourLife and #BeOnPurpose with deciding what you want. Please note that you don’t have to hack your life to pieces. This is just about being intentional, not about being someone else. Make a list of things that you want to do, or know you should do, or would like to try. Anything you have thought about putting time into and just haven’t gotten around to it. Learning the guitar, or another language. Spending more time being physically active, hell it could be getting a facial. Whatever - just write it down.
Now look at that list and think about how much you want to do it. Rank them by importance. Then decide how much time you think will make you feel it is reflecting how important this item is for you. Do you REALLY want to learn Spanish (a goal of mine to be sure). Do you need to spend an hour a day on that to reflect how much you want to learn? Does it need to be more time? Less time? This is a subjective scale y’all you can’t mess it up. Just be honest with yourself about the level of importance and how much time that means to you.
Ok; you know some things you want to do. You know what you are spending your time doing. You have a fairly good idea of how much time you want to spend on the new things. Next is, guess what? Yep -
PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR!
Find the time in your day and literally type that shit into your calendar. Set a 1 day and 10 minute notification on the task/event/reminder. When the notification comes up don’t think - just do it. Unless someone in your house is bleeding or something is on fire, I don’t care what is happening. Do it immediately. Don’t think. Do whatever you need to do to just do the thing. I like Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule but man you do you.
DO NOT THINK - just execute. This is critical. And I want you to do this for at least two weeks. Preferably 3.
In 3 weeks if you aren’t feeling good that you have made the change then go back and retweek stuff. And then start again. When you get it set to a “balance” you like it’s time to celebrate - you are creating a new habit. Another week or so and you won’t need the notifications, it’ll just happen. How awesome is that?!!?!
Mic drop! BOOM BABY! 😁🎉
Ok, a couple of notes from here. Some items on your list might not need to be done daily. That’s ok, you still need to decide how often and put it on your calendar. For example, one thing I am working to build into my schedule currently is hiking on Saturdays. My son loves to walk, it’s good for me, it gets me out in nature and we live in an area where there is no shortage of places to go within a few hours drive. I am putting it on my calendar. And when I say that I mean I have put on my calendar during the week to decide which trail I think we should walk on Saturday then putting that location on Sat in my calendar. And before y’all go crazy thinking holy shit that’s a lot of detail I’m not detailed like that, I could never do that, let me just let you know I am not detailed. Like really all - the secret is to just not think about it. Remember - don’t think, put it in your calendar and then just execute. This doesn’t take detail, it takes a reminder in the calendar. And this one we are still building into a habit, and it’s a hard time of year to do that because of the holidays. But by God I will do it.
The second note that I want to say here is to tell you to NOT leave out your leisure time from this calendar. You like to watch an hour of Netflix before bed? Guys; there’s no shame in that - watch the damn show. Just put it on your calendar. And let me tell you why this is so important (especially for leisure time) because it keeps you from OVERINDULGING. See if you say, I want to relax...you could spend the rest of your life not doing anything and ultimately you won’t feel fulfilled. But if you say I need to make sure I give myself some time to chill and then decide upfront how much time you need, you won’t cross the line as often when you go to do it.
So feel free to do all the things. Give yourself what you want AND what you need. Sometimes the needs are harder to follow through on - don’t think, just execute. You’ll get there.
And don’t forget if you need help to reach out. That’s what coaches are for. Send me an email or a DM and book an appointment. This isn’t complicated but sometimes having someone to hold us accountable and help us wade through our options is helpful. Again, you’ll get there.