We all have moving parts in our day. Parts that include our obligations to family, work, friends, our community, and to ourselves. How we allocate that time and not fall into overwhelm can be a daunting task. Dare I say – another task to add to the list.
We start with our basic calendar and all that gleaming open space. Many calendars have the time of the day running along the side or somewhere embedded in each day. We run along this time – a meter that shows us where we are at and where we have yet to go. Those obligations start filling in that blank space and before we know it, we’re looking at a field of commitments.
How do you organize your calendar/schedule? How much of that space do you experience agency over? Do you look at the blank space and before all else, take ownership of how and where you are going to spend your valuable time? Do you schedule things down to the minute or block off approximate times? Do you color code? Do you have a shared calendar with members of your family or place of work? Whatever your circumstances and likes for how to display your day-to-day going-ons, I am sure we can all agree that it gets filled.
I like to color code. I have a calendar for work and a calendar for my family and even a personal bullet journal that serves as a “Christina” calendar. In each of these calendars I code activities by color. Each color has its own purpose on the schedule and I appreciate being able to do a quick glance and see where my time is being spent. If you’ve never tried color coding or you aren’t sure of how to make it work for you, send me a message or leave a comment, I’d love to help you out. Alternatively, maybe you have a way of organizing your time that is worthy of shouting from the mountain tops – I want to hear that too!
Now that we are in the calendar and looking ahead at where we will be and what we will be doing throughout the upcoming days, do you have any “me time” activities scheduled? Are you diligent about working those in weekly? What fulfills the task of “me time” for you might look different for your friend. We may have similar ways that provide tender loving care to our souls, but we may also have some very dissimilar ways in which we get to that sweet spot. Either way, you know you’ve hit the sweet spot when you aren’t forcing a smile, but rather it forms deep within you and exudes from every pore of your body. Someone may remark on how you look radiant or happy. This state of being comes from deep within when your soul has been recognized and fed.
Own your time
My “Christina” calendar/bullet journal, serves this specific purpose. I color code this calendar in the following ways: green for parenting, pink for self-care, purple for future oriented tasks, blue for writing activities, and black for household tasks. Each Sunday night I look at our family calendar and fill in the dates and times when I know I’ll be needed to pick up or drive my children places or activities that I’ll be attending. After that, I follow a specific order in filling the remainder of my calendar. I always start with my self-care activities, then time to write, followed by time to make phone calls or schedule activities for long range goals or events, and lastly household tasks (i.e., cleaning, shopping, sorting through mail, paying bills, etc.). Once I have all of those placed on the calendar my eyes dazzle with contentment at the beautiful array of colors and my heart sings with satisfaction. It is empowering to own your time.
I think more than anything, engaging in this activity of intentionally looking at my commitments and strategically placing them on the calendar is a way to accomplish the ever-elusive balance. With so many balls in the air, we can feel like characters in a three ringed circus. I don’t know about you, but I greatly dislike feeling out of control and at the whim of someone else’s discretion. We have a limited time in this life, a limited time that we will be able to fulfill the whims and needs of this one body, and a limited time that we will be able to engage in the beauty and wonder of this world.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or dissatisfied with life right now, take a look at the things that are pulling your energy. Decide today that you’re going to explore options to take back the reigns on where you ride out all those hours each day. I trust that this practice will be worth your time 😉