Create Your Ideal Calendar with Intention
Despite our best intentions as leaders, sometimes we find ourselves stuck and overwhelmed, feeling behind and a bit reactionary. It’s as if there’s never enough time in the day, and we constantly play catch up. Our calendars lead us rather than us leading with the concept of time abundance.
When this experience persists, the consequences can prime us for burnout: negative health and well-being impacts, less capacity to support and develop our people, and a lowered ability to perform for our organization.
The great news is that, despite the inevitable future pressures of our work and lives, we can change our relationship with time to one of growth.
So if you currently find yourself at the mercy of a crowded calendar, feeling reactive and overwhelmed, here’s a simple three-step system to recreate your time with intention (time abundance).
1. Create your ideal calendar.
If we want to change something, we first need to know where we’re going. In this step, the idea is to carve out time so you can map exactly what your ideal calendar would look like.
Imagine you had no constraints and could create your calendar exactly how you wanted.
- What are your highest-level priorities? How much time do you need to spend on them daily and weekly?
- When do you do your best deep work?
- When is the best time to catch up on email and other small tasks?
- What do you want to learn this year, and where is time for this put into your schedule?
- How are your meetings prioritized? Who are they with? How many are there?
- How are you incorporating breaks and self-reflection periods into your calendar?
By intentionally articulating your ideal calendar with intention, you create a roadmap to time abundance, where your vision and needs take priority.
Now that you have the end goal, it’s time to figure out the steps to get there.
2. Compare your ideal calendar with your actual calendar.
Next, take your ideal calendar and compare it with your current calendar. Reflect on the differences between the two.
- Where is your time currently going? Is this aligned with your values and highest priorities?
- Where are you taking on tasks, actions, or obligations that could be delegated?
- Where might you restructure your day to better align with your long-term goals and objectives?
- What can you stop doing altogether?
- And most importantly, what’s currently working?
This is a vital step in the process. By comparing our ideal calendar to how it’s currently going, we can honestly assess our current state of affairs and understand clearly where we can take action to get there.
3. Take action!
After defining your ideal calendar and comparing it to your actual calendar, you should have a clear list of obstacles, possibilities, and to-do’s that, once addressed, will put you back in the driver’s seat. Here’s where the rubber meets the road:
What actions can you take this week to put you on a path to time abundance?
We suggest choosing one to three items to start and taking action as soon as possible. Momentum is key to implementing and actualizing your intentional calendar.
This process pays outsized dividends if done intentionally and consistently. While it might be challenging, in the beginning, to set aside time or to take action on what you find, the benefits are numerous – more joy, better boundaries, more time for the big things, and a calendar that reflects your values and priorities.
If video and audio are more your learning style, listen to Maria Bruederlin, one of our coaches, walk through the process here: