Let’s face it. Life is full for all of us. Here is a simple practice that I have adopted over the years that has saved my sanity many times over. It incorporates the free tool of the calendar provided by Google.
Google’s calendar is connected to your gmail account. Just “Google” setting up a gmail account, if you don’t have one, and then set up the calendar next.
The goal of this practice is to simplify your life. If you are interested in doing so, I will invite you to let go of two things. The first is a belief that is not serving you and the second is a habit that may be complicating your life.
The belief to let go of is “I have to do it.” The most powerful tool you will ever have as a leader is your relationships. Adam Markel said it best recently. The shift to make is from “How can I get this done?” to “Who can help me get this done?”
The habit to let go of is making lists. Stop making lists. Lists are draining and time consuming and actually create one more thing to do.
From now on, all tasks get written in the calendar. Nowhere else. This wonderful practice saves you from having to look for a list, and has the added benefit of scheduling and allocating the time to get the task done. If you don’t finish it in the allocated time, move it to the next day.
Step One. Create recurring appointments for anything that is important to you. I commonly hear that my community members do not have time for exercise or for dates with their loved ones.
Is it important? If so, schedule it.
When laying out my goals for a new year, I start with vacation and time off with loved ones. This goes on the calendar first. Exercise goes on next as a daily recurring appointment. For me, most days start with a yoga class. Write it down. Make the appointment with yourself.
Step Two. Choose the time block that you would like to use for deliverables (working). For example, between the hours of 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm Thursday, I take calls from clients and business partners. I will occasionally take calls outside of this window for our high level private clients, but almost everyone I speak with easily fits during this block.
Step Three. Choose a day or a block of time for personal and professional development. These are Fridays in my calendar. On Fridays, our team will dig into new creative opportunities, or I will personally learn a new skill, or maybe get a massage.
My calendar is accessible to my entire team from any computer with a central login and synchs with my cell phone. If anyone adds appointments manually, all of us get the update.
When life happens and “to-do’s” show up that are not in our regular course of life or business I write them right on my calendar. I usually add them in the early morning hours when no-one has appointments. This way I don’t lose them, don’t have to keep a separate list, and can erase them when they are complete.
At the end of the week, a clean calendar gives me a strong sense of completion.
When you put this into practice, let me know what you decide to do with your newly found free time.