Whatever would I do without those markers?

August 31, 2011

I feel like I am getting a handle on things. I have my calendars almost all set up. That helps me feel like I’m on top of everything. When I don’t have my calendars set up, then I feel like I’m running behind all the time. It’s amazing how those calendars seem to create a sense of control and peace.

I’m quite a visual person. I like to use colours when organizing my calendars, my files, my office. I have specific colours for the different activities that are on my calendar.

Green is for those activities when I am working on the tasks that pertain directly to my goals. Jack Canfield, in his book, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, calls these your “core” activities. They pertain directly to your “core genius,” what you are specifically good at doing. And what you specifically want to be doing. Jack calls the days when you do these types of activities as “focus days.”

Red is for those activities that are necessary to prepare for the green activities. The red tasks might be attending meetings, planning workshops, organizing files, traveling somewhere, etc. They likely are considered “work,” but they aren’t directly related to what you would consider your “core” goals. Jack calls the days when you do these types of activities as “buffer days.”

Blue is for those activities that relate to my children. Either activities that they do on their own, or activities that involve me in some way. It’s the only way I can keep track of where they are, and with whom. It’s also the only way I can ensure I know if I’m required to drive someone somewhere. If so, then I know I can’t plan something for myself around that time.

Purple is for those activities that deal with personal development, exercise and physical activity, and personal items, such as doctor’s appointments. And orange is for those activities that I classify as “relaxation.” Jack calls days that you set aside specifically for down time as “free days.”

In his book, Jack explains how important it is to schedule free days and focus days. Quite often, we spend most of our time on the “buffer days,” then we have no time for relaxing or accomplishing specific goals.

The colours provide a greater role than simply to make my calendars beautiful or enjoyable to look at. The different colours have a practical application as well. Because of the different colours, I can see at a glance how many focus days, buffer days, and free days I have. I don’t even have to see the details. I simply have to see the colours. If there are too many red days, then I know I need to adjust my schedule. If there are not enough orange days or purple days, again, I know that I have to adjust my schedule.

So now I have my yearly calendar set up. And I have my bimonthly calendar set up. The only one left is my daily planner. My yearly calendar simply shows the overview. There is no room for details. The bimonthly calendar has room for more details. Its use is to provide a detailed overview. My daily planner has all the details for each event: time, place, description, person’s name, whatever information is required.

I’m hoping that, by having my calendars set up in this manner, I will not overbook myself. Whenever another opportunity comes my way, I can look at my yearly calendar and contemplate my ability to squeeze that into the schedule. If I need more information, I can look at my bi-monthly calendar.

At this moment in time, there is no room on either calendar to allow for any other opportunity. Without my calendars to so clearly point that out to me, I may assume I can squeeze one more item onto the calendar. And that is a habit that I’m trying to change.

If you want more information about Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, click on the following link:  http://www.thesuccessprinciples.com

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