It’s Sunday evening and you take a look at your calendar for the week ahead.
You’ve either booked in something every night and feel exhausted already, or you hear crickets chirping from your planner, with nothing to look forward to but work, work and more work.
Over the past few years, I’ve managed to get my diary into a state I’m really happy with.
The structure changes from time to time, depending how busy I am at the office, what season it is, or how I’m feeling health-wise, but I’ve collated my top tips to help you look at your planner and feel excited for each week ahead.
Set weekly parameters
First, you need to set some ground rules. They can be flexible and a trial for now.
Why not try a month with an initial calendar framework, and set a date in your diary to review how it’s going after that month has passed?
After a super busy start to 2017, I was feeling spent and tired by the end of each week, so started trialling the following parameters:
- A maximum of 2 weeknights out per week
- Booking at least 2-3 exercise sessions a week - usually 2 in the evenings and 1 on the weekend
- One free weekend day or evening to recharge
I put the exercise blocks in my calendar but they could be moved flexibly depending on the week. Also, when friends asked for dates for a catch up, I was able to quickly see if I already had two nights booked out in any given week.
Be mindful of your weekends
I have seen this often with my coaching clients (and myself!) - we get to the weekend and jam pack our calendars and to do lists in an attempt to play catch up or pack some fun in after a long work week.
Before I started managing my calendar more wisely, I would wake up on a Saturday, go to see my trainer, do my groceries and errands, meet a friend for lunch, head for a wine in the afternoon, then move on to dinner and a night out with friends...
Sounds like a fun day right?
It usually was, but it also left me feeling exhausted come Sunday morning.
I started to pluck out the activities I loved doing and put in some that weren’t in my routine yet.
Firstly, I loved catching up with friends on a Saturday, but three catch ups in one day was just too much. I preferred the evening catch up so would usually suggest that to friends where possible.
Although I liked my Saturday morning routine, I really loved (and still love) a slow morning on the weekend. I make sure to block Sundays for this - I get up, make coffee, read my book, then take a long walk along the river.
Considering six mornings a week I’m working to a timeframe and pretty tight schedule, this type of morning is so appreciated. I love the quiet and slow pace of this practice.
How are your weekends looking at the moment?
What activities do you want to keep and what is missing from your weekends?
My four tips on creating a new routine can help you too.
Look at your calendar and ask yourself this tough question
Now that you’ve set some parameters and addressed your weekend planning, it’s time to look at each booked activity and ask yourself the most important question - ‘Am I happy this is in my calendar?’
If it’s a workout, it’s easy to roll your eyes at that question, but if the answer is a firm ‘no’, can you try a new class or take a friend for a walk with you so you actually look forward to your appointment?
If it’s a catch up with friends and the answer is no, you have permission to cancel.
Whether it’s because that week you don’t feel like going out with certain people or it’s a bigger issue to address, the key is to love looking at your calendar, not respond with ‘meh’.
If you could replace a ‘meh’ catch up or activity with something that makes you say ‘yes’ to the question of ‘Am I happy this is in my calendar?’, what would that activity be?
I’d love to hear how these tips help you improve your calendar and, even better, I’d love to see what your calendar looks like once you’re happy with it! Please shoot me a message here and share.