There was a time I could simply never get ahold of my calendar. Commitments entered into a calendar would never be noticed again. Digital reminders were excused and promptly forgotten. I couldn’t even tell you what day of the week it is, let alone the date.
I tried digital calendars. Some paid, some not. Eventually, Google Calendars made the most sense for us. It’s shareable which means I can delegate the task of entering appointments to all concerned. But still, I needed more help when it came to keeping the calendar in view. Once an app is closed, it’s out of sight and… out of mind.
One year, I started drawing out my calendars by hand. I would start each week and month with a hand-drawn calendar in my journal. Nothing fancy. Just basic grids. Then my commitments were written in by hand. Here’s what a week spread looks like.
In this day and age, it sounds so silly to do that. Starting out, I did feel a bit of a fool. But one Sunday evening, while I was laying out my calendar while watching TV with my husband, it clicked.
Writing down all my commitments by hand actually helped eliminate overwhelm. First, it helped me remember them better. There are lots of studies indicating the connection between writing something down and retention. That was definitely true for me.
Second, the act of setting time aside to do this, helped me think through each day and how I was going to manage the day. For example, if I have several commitments that day, I would go through in my head and envision how the day would go.
What can I fit between this appointment and that? Can someone else do this so I can have this on my calendar? Or, this is a shorter work-day which means I must finish XYZ the day before and so on.
It is said, that athletes often envision themselves reaching the winning line, and that convinces them they are already winners long before the race begins. It’s the same here. By visualizing your days, they automatically become less stressful. You feel more in control and you’re more likely to have a good day because you’ve already laid it out in your head.
You could argue that a digital planner can do that too and you’d be right. It all boils down to whether you can make it work. I found digital planners too easy to set aside. I had a tendency to add to the list but never sitting down long enough to review it. And that is the key…
If there’s anything I learned this year, it’s the power and tremendous value in the review process. No matter what it is you have in mind. Long term or short term goals. Weight loss, being more mindful, being a better boss etc. If you don’t review, you don’t know how far you’ve come, you don’t know how much further you have to go and you don’t know how to fully maximize your days. Handwriting things slows you down so you can that.
That’s why I started publishing a printable planner for bloggers 9 years ago. When I started, I still wasn’t completely sold out on pen and paper. As I grew, learned more, and am not fully committed, I’ve tweaked the planner each year into a significant tool to help bloggers achieve their goals.
The best thing is, the planner is 100% FREE. Claim yours today.