Leadership: How to make the most out of ‘living by your calendar’


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Recently, my daughter received a compliment from her boss: “I noticed your work excelling since you decided to live by your calendar.”

This simple instrument has been around for centuries and can be a magic organizational tool if you use it correctly.

I learned at a young age the value of a calendar. My mom, dad and grandma had a paper pocketbook calendar with them at all times. My dad wore it in the front pocket of his shirt. My mom and grandma stored their colorful devices in their purses.

In them, you would find appointments, reminders, birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers and notes. This reminder system was referenced numerous times during their day. It also was the first thing they looked at in the morning.

You might be familiar with entering data into a calendar. But what does it mean to live by your calendar?

Your calendar system needs to be your one-stop for life events.

It is common to have different schedules in your life. You have your work schedule, home affairs, kids events, weekend plans. I encourage you to keep one calendar for your life, not separate devices for each life category.

When my kids were in high school, the district-wide calendar came out in the fall. It was beautifully organized and detailed with important school events. A week after school started, more calendars were delivered for sporting events, concerts, practices and other activities. The more our family is involved, the more schedules to track.

I find the most liberty when I combine all schedules into my work calendar. This calendar syncs to my smartphone and is shareable with my husband. We have access to all of the details at all times. Once our calendars are combined, I recycle the paper schedules to reduce clutter or confusion on the paper piles at home.

Add everything to this one calendar location.

I often am tempted to not enter everything into my calendar. After all, I can remember to take my vitamins every morning, right?

Nope.

If a reminder is not dinging to get my attention, I forget even the daily routines. Do not depend on your brain. It will fail you. There are too many other important details that your brain should focus on throughout your day.

Give your brain a break and instead, choose to live by your calendar. Think once, enter the details into your calendar, follow your calendar daily. Adopt simple habits, such as adding appointments to your calendar when meetings are scheduled. Just like my parent’s paper calendars, include phone numbers and notes with each appointment, so that you are not scrounging for details at the last minute.

Keep this tool in front of you all day, every day.

If you choose to invest your time creating this life-saving system and entering details as you make commitments, then also create a habit to reference your calendar at crucial moments of your day. Maybe even add recurring events to your daily calendar to remind yourself to look at your calendar.

I do not prefer noises on my smartphone; however, I have found value in turning on the reminder notifications on my calendar events. Ten minutes before each event, I hear a sweet song on my phone. This habit has saved me many times from missing appointments. I have learned not to ignore my phone when I hear a familiar tune. Instead, I look at my phone even if I think I know what the reminder will say.

More than likely, you are smart and responsible. That is exactly why living by your calendar is a necessity. We can be involved in numerous activities and accomplish amazing goals, but not without strong systems in place. Just like my daughter, I guarantee you will find success and growth when you choose to let your calendar guide and lead you.

In reality, your calendar is the location of your decisions. You have spent time thinking and choosing activities of all sorts. You have added these decisions to this journaling system we call a calendar. Now, you need to follow this system, and you will see success. There is no need to rethink options or worry about forgetting something if you are consistent with living by your calendar.

So, what’s the next step? Go splurge on a colorful, bedazzled 2022 calendar. Or, download a new app. Make the calendar journey fun and exciting so that every time you view your schedule, you smile.

Stay organized and be great in 2022, my friends.

Kathie Rotz is a leadership consultant and John Maxwell certified speaker, trainer and coach with Unity Consulting in Dubuque.

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