Simplify Your Life: Calendar Planning

2016 binder calendarLife is full of things to do, places to go, and people to see. How do you keep it all straight and remember everything without going CRAZY? I certainly can not remember everything unless I write things down. When I write something down, it gets it out of my head and onto paper where I can sort things out and make some kind of plan. Calendar planning will help you make a plan and simplify your life.

The key word is PLAN. I love this quote by Benjamin Franklin

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

If I fail to make some kind of plan for my day, week or the month ahead, I have a tendency to get overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed is STRESS, and who needs more stress?

In a recent survey by psychologist and self-help author Robert Epstein, he found that one of most effective techniques for stress management was PLANNING. In other words, fighting stress before it even starts, by PLANNING things rather than just letting them happen.

What exactly is the definition of PLANNING? I like this definition from businessdictionary.com

A basic management function involving formulation of one or more detailed plans to achieve optimum balance of needs or demands with the available resources.

I love the part about “optimum balance of needs or demands.” I am all about finding balance. Not only in my yoga practice, ha, ha, but in my life. We all have needs and unfortunately demands that need to be met. Scheduling things out on some kind of planner calendar will help you sort out and find a balance between the unnecessary and necessary stuff in your life.

How does planning and using a calendar help simplify your life?

  1. Less Stress – Managing your schedule can directly reduce your stress level. There will be fewer surprises, less rushing from task-to-task and place-to-place.
  2. Less Wasted Time –  When you are aware of what you need to do, you waste less time in idle activities. Do any of you, when given some free time or an “unscheduled day” go into a state of panic because you want to make the most out of that time? Anyone with me? You can alleviate that somewhat by having some kind of plan even if it is for leisure or fun.
  3. Less Rework – Forgotten items, details, and instructions lead to extra work. How often do you have to make an extra trip to the grocery store because you forgot a few items?  A menu and grocery list is a great plan.
  4. Less Problems – A forgotten appointment or missed deadline, just creates more problems to follow up with.
  5. More Free Time – By effective planning you can get things done quicker which means you will have some free time. Scheduling free time may be the only way you will ever get it!  Leisure time is very important for good health and well being.
  6. Less Effort – A common misconception is that time management takes extra effort. To the contrary, proper time management makes your life easier!
  7. More Time Where it Matters – Managing your time is allotting your time where it has the most impact. Time management allows you to spend your time on the things that matter most to you.

 

Here are a few tips for using a calendar effectively:

  1.  Commit To One Calendar –  It is best to have only one calendar for all your needs. If you are scheduling things for your business on one calendar and then your personal stuff on another, you are most likely going to overbook yourself and not know whether you are coming or going. Every time you schedule something, add it to your calendar immediately. That way, you’ll be able to tell at a glance how much free time you have and what your upcoming obligations are.
  2. Choose Paper or Electronic – There are a lot of different ways to plan and organize your time. Calendars, planners, computer programs, smart phone apps, notepads, and even custom lists and planning systems. You have to find what works for you. Paper calendars often come in the form of a day-timer or a day-planner. They have the advantage of being paper, a hard copy, something you can actually touch. I find paper is much easier to use than computers. I can write more quickly, jot notes, draw pictures, and spend my efforts recording important information, rather than scrolling, pinching, zooming, and mucking around with my software programs. The disadvantage is, of course, you need to carry around a bulky paper calendar, while an electronic calendar conveniently requires nothing more than a little device you can slip in your pocket or purse.
  3. Back Up Your Calendar – One of the big features of an electronic calendar is that it exists in multiple places and can be backed up. With a paper calendar, if you lose it, you are toast. You can back up your paper calendar by using a smart phone that has a camera. Simply take some snaps of your calendar pages frequently and email them to your computer or data archiving program like Evernote. This way, if you do misplace your calendar, you have some kind of reference backed up.
  4. Schedule In Pencil – Get in the habit of carrying around a pencil or an mechanical pencil. If you have used a pen to schedule things in your calendar, and things change, which they will, you have to scribble over it. Scribbles are not pretty and will end up taking more space in your planner.
  5. Put Your Calendar To Bed –  At the end of your day, when it is time to go to bed, simply look over the upcoming day. Jot down any detailed tasks that need to be done, make a plan and then forget about it. Put your planner to bed. This is a great way for your brain to be at peace with the upcoming day, instead of stewing about things while you are lying there trying to go to sleep or taking it into your dreams.
  6. Find A Calendar System That Works For You – Calendars and planners that have each hour scheduled out and lots of lines, does not work for me. Way too constricting, I feel like I am filling out some kind of application every day. For some left brain people that works great. But for my right brain, I love more open spaces, clean lines and lots of space to take notes and maybe even draw a picture if inclined. I also prefer a hard copy of my calendar, over a digital form. I still use a classic size planner with paper. Experiment and see what is most effective for you. It needs to be simple, something that you don’t dread doing and something that does not drain your energy.

CALENDARS

Monthly Calendars are one way to plan and stay organized.

Here is a calendar that I have used for many, many years. A simple clipboard calendar that is an 8 1/2 x 11 page with big open boxes. This is a great way to organize, plan, and keep track of all your FAMILY’S ACTIVITIES and appointments all in ONE place!  simple Clipboard Calendar

I started designing and selling these  clipboard calendars almost 20 years ago. I used to print them out and sell the hard copies of the calendars, all printed on charming brown recycled paper. Now I sell the pdf file so people can print them out on whatever paper they want. The clipboard calendar is very popular. It is just a good “go to” calendar that can be thrown on a clipboard, hung on the wall, hung on the fridge, or just sit it on your desk. There is a lot of space to write in and very easy to print out.

Here are a few of my 2016 CALENDARS that are available in my Etsy shop.

WEEKLY PAGES

Weekly pages are great because you can write down more details about what is going on each day, stuff that you don’t have room to put on your monthly calendar. This is a great way to see your week at a glance.  These downloadable PDF files are editable and have a place at the right side of the paper to type in your favorite quotes or thoughts. The pages are embellished with bright cheery watercolor images from the Simple Things Collections.

Weekly Planner Pages

DAILY PAGES

Daily pages are great for jotting down or sketching in more detail the things that you want to accomplish or remember.

Daily Planner Pages

Your planning system does not have to be boring. Choose one that brings you joy every time you look at at.

2016 is just around the corner. Find a calendar that works for you, write things down, and get organized. I hope this post has given you a few ideas and inspiration on how to alleviate a little stress in your life by using a calendar.

Happy Planning!

Limited time menu planner set with every calendar order.

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