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DAILY RHYTHMS PART 2: EDIT YOUR CALENDAR
Welcome back, Lovie, to the RS Blog and part two of our series on Daily Rhythms. Last week we kicked off our series by focusing on editing our lives. I challenged you to schedule an appointment with yourself and start looking around your environment with fresh eyes. Decide where you can downsize, what you can donate, and how you can delete things to make room for growth in this next season.
My hope with this series is to help us make room in our lives for growth, determine how we want our lives to look, and then eliminate anything that doesn’t align with the vision we create.
PUT AN END TO OVERWHELM
Today we are shifting our focus from our environments to our time. We will begin to edit our calendars. If you are ready to get off the hamster wheel of hustle, wake up to your dreams, and design a life you love, you are in the right place.
It is time we stop feeling overwhelmed by our lives. They are OUR lives, and we need to take control of them instead of letting everyone else, the sack of shoulds, and our current circumstances decide how we spend our days.
MAKING AN ALLY OF YOUR HABITS
Last week I wrote about habits and how daily rhythms create habits, habits build a strong foundation, and a strong foundation allows you to build a beautiful life with strength and clarity. I heard a quote recently that makes this even clearer:
Time will multiply what you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.
I believe this principle works for many things. Your mind will multiply what you feed it. Positive thoughts make your mind your ally. Negative ones make your mind your enemy. Because of this principle, I want us to shift our mindset about our time as we evaluate our calendar as it relates to establishing daily rhythms.
Just to give you a stunning stat: 46% of every action we make each day is a habit. That means almost half our life choices run on auto-pilot. Does that blow your mind like it does mine? I mean, I have experienced living on autopilot. We have talked before about how you are driving somewhere, arriving there, and don’t recall making the drive.
Another statistic says that most of us have 60,000 thoughts per day. And the bulk of those thoughts is repetitive. Clearly, patterns matter.
Daily rhythms are the patterns our lives dance to. We can make them a peace-filled waltz or a chaotic freestyle with no order. I also want to point out that we all have daily rhythms we live by regardless of if we formally identify them as such.
As many of us are preparing to transition from summer to fall, it is the perfect time to evaluate our lives, examine our existing daily rhythms, and assess how we would like things to be different going forward.
I confess fall is my favorite season. First of all, temperatures drop which gets a yes and amen from me! I would ideally like to live where the temp has a 30-degree range. The 58-78 degree range is where I live my best life. The second reason I love this time of year is…school supplies. No, I don’t have school-age kids but yes, I do buy new school supplies each year. Blame it on my pen and paper obsession!
To me, the changing seasons of weather always offer the perfect opportunity to reset our lives…not just swap our closets. They often signal a change in the pattern of our days because the hours of light shrink and temperatures shift. And we have to change our calendars and rhythms with them.
MOST IMPORTANT DAILY RHYTHM
If I was forced to pick the most important daily rhythms, it would have to be AM and PM routines. After all, they bookend the day. Our morning routines launch us forward, setting the tone for the day, and our evening routines help us wind down and prepare for rest at the end of our day.
For me, my daily routine starts the evening before when I look at my calendar to see what the next day holds. I look at the weather to make sure I have an appropriate outfit selected. I make my lunch and preset as much of my breakfast as possible. I go ahead and turn down my linens and lay out a pair of PJs so I am ready to go to bed. I also do a quick tidy because future Tammy gets cranky when she starts the day surrounded by dirty dishes or chaos.
TIME TO EXAMINE OUR CALENDARS
When it comes to my calendar, I have learned a new tip that has helped me streamline what I allow in my days. That tip is: You should have three lists at the start of every month (or week or day): to do, to be, and to let go of. Isn’t that a great measuring stick for what goes on your calendar?
With that idea in mind, let’s dive into a simple process for evaluating what is on your calendar and what you say yes to because those choices are what make your life. Now, remember our focus for this series is to make room for what you want, determine how you want your life to look, and then eliminate anything that doesn’t align with the vision you create. Because of that, we will examine our calendar through a lens of awareness, intention, and vision.
AWARENESS IS KEY
First up is awareness. If you’ve been here before, you know I talk about awareness all the time. I believe it should be the first step you take when you are making a change of any kind.
Now, what’s vital is for us to tell the truth about who we are as reflected by our calendar. We can say we are someone who values reading, but if we don’t make time in our day-to-day living to read, we aren’t moving as if we value reading. The same could be said of any other thing. If you tell the world you are a runner, yet your running shoes are buried in the front closet and haven’t seen the light of day in a few seasons, you aren’t a runner. Maybe you were a runner in a former season or hope to be one in a future season. But here at this moment in time, that isn’t happening.
Please do not let shame have a vote here. Allow yourself to be truthful without passing judgment on yourself.
SET YOUR INTENTION
Once you allow yourself to be aware of the choices you have made, are making, and want to make, you can start to get a feel for where things might be out of order. That leads us to step two of the process: intention.
Just as we said to use the filter of to do, to be, and to let go of, we are going to set a clear intention for the week. Grab a piece of paper so you can prioritize your tasks for the week. At the top, I want you to write your active core values. These need to be front of mind when you list your tasks for the week.
(Quick pause: If you are new and have no idea what I am talking about, head back to post three where I talk about active core values. I created a free mini-course you can download to learn all about them there.)
Back to setting intentions…
MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE
It’s time to list all the appointments, commitments, and time-locked tasks for the week. Next, I want you to write all the things taking up rent in your mind. (Yes, that includes the most ridiculous tasks you have in your brain.) If it’s taking up space in your head, this is your chance to offload it.
Now it is red pen time. Scratch out anything that is not in alignment with your core values. Now mark off anything that is just not going to happen this week. Strikethrough anything you are choosing to let go of. Again, it isn’t a forever and all eternity choice. It is simply for this week. Eliminate anything that isn’t helping you become more beautifully you.
As we narrow things down, we clarify our intention for the week. You may even choose a word to be your anchor point for your week. I tend to do this each week. Once I see what is on my schedule for the week, it can become clear what might be a stumbling point for me. Giving myself a word for the week helps me come back to center when I find myself drifting.
CLEAR UP YOUR VISION
By getting crystal clear on your intention for the week, you can move into the week with focus and direction. This will automatically increase your productiveness, eliminate decision fatigue, and move you closer to where you want to go. Now let’s move on to our final step in this process of evaluating our calendars: vision.
There is a scripture that says without a clear vision the people perish. Whatever your personal beliefs, I think it is a solid idea. If you want to get where you are going, you have to decide where that is.
Think about it. If you decide you want to go on vacation, you take days off from work. Figure out who will get your mail, water your plants, and care for any animals. The day before you know you need to pack. You pull out your suitcase, open your closet, and grab your phone to check the weather. That is when you realize you have no idea where you are going. You can’t pack because you don’t know the weather. Do you need a coat or a swimsuit? Jimmy Chou’s or your Birkenstock’s? Camping chairs or pool float?
MAKING ROOM FOR WHAT MATTERS
Without a vision, you cannot prepare to make the journey, so as you prep for the upcoming week, decide where it is you hope to be at the end of it.
Maybe you need to get to the end of the week with a full day to recover from the week. Maybe you need to have laundry done on Thursday to ensure you have what you need for an outing on Friday.
This step is about looking forward to all the aspects of your week. Identify pre-work that needs to be done. Be aware of any possible obstacles. Tuck in space to exhale.
One of the most important things you can do is make room for you to be who you were created to be. Make room for things that refill your cup.
Don’t ever allow this process to be a framework for stuffing as much as you possibly can into your week leaving you exhausted, depleted, and maybe even a bit of a crabby patty by the end of that. Remember prioritizing what matters most beats efficiency any day because what matters gets your attention. Get clear on where you want to go, craft a plan to get there with your sanity in tack, and step into your week with confidence.
EDIT YOUR CALENDAR WELL
If you will edit your calendar through the lens of awareness, intention, and vision, you will map a plan for your week that leaves you feeling satisfied and proud of who you are and how you moved through your days and that is a life well lived.
Be sure to come back next week, Lovie, when we wrap up this series with our focus on eliminating points of friction.
Until next time, remember, I am in it WITH you, always,