I hopped in the shower yesterday and midway through, thought to myself, with pure joy, I don’t think I scheduled this shower! I don’t know the last time I looked at my calendar to shower. Then I laughed out loud at how far I’d come and a trick I use that may seem strange to some.
More strange than scheduling showers?
Depends on how important it is to really do the things you want to do instead of just daydreaming about them.
Whatever it is that’s important enough that you know you want to do; schedule it.
I love Google Calendar but there are many other similar options available.
Get a paper calendar/day planner.
Get a Virtual Assistant or a live in person one to do it with/for you.
Write one out by hand for the next week.
Whatever it takes to make that plan reality.
Is it really that important? Fuck yeah it is.
Just like bathing is! For a good bit though I couldn’t generally remember when I had last showered. Granted that “good bit” wasn’t really that good. As I look back on it, I really planned and scheduled my way to way better.
I wrote schedules for million dollar businesses and now I do the same for mine. My business is now my life, or my life is my business, either way I love my schedule. I love sticking to it. I love to plan it like a boss. I love to execute it like my life depends on it.
Because it does.
It took me awhile - a couple years to really make that connection.
Having made plans and schedules in my previous professional life that ruled my world, when it fell apart I wanted to be free of schedules, plans, appointments forever!
This echoes others I’ve talked to when they leave their job or their job leaves them. They now want to be free of that routine. Step out and away from that schedule, never to return.
I’ve heard said:
I want to be free of routine!
I don’t want to be boxed into my life!
I want freedom to do what I want to do when I want to do it!
If I really want to do it, it will organically manifest! I Swear! I have heard this one and I sheepishly admit I thought it would work. It sounded so good.
The very tool I used to run successful businesses is the very same tool used to run successful lives.
Don’t hate me for my genius!
It is the great joke the creative spirits play on those longing for the freedom to unleash their creativity. You still gotta make the time. The secret lies just between all the time in the world and never enough time.
The simple answer: schedule it. Pencil it in. Make a plan. Follow it through. Repeat. Until death do us part. I may not be one for marriage but you can bet I will be scheduling my living until the very end!
Here is what this week looks like:
It’s a big week because I now live a big life. I had taken what I called: A Most Fantastic Journey to Creativity & Radical Freedom Unleashed so it makes perfect sense that my dance card is quite full… of my life.
One thing that stands out this week, other than bathing is still on the schedule, is I have a massage. Planning self care is as important as planning the most important business at hand.
In honor of scheduling self care, I recently started getting massages again.
Why, you might ask? Why were you not getting massages? What happened? Is there something about massages I should know? Even if you’re not into getting massage, the two of you might still find a bit of insight.
I jacked my back up moving. Not one, but two lives about the country and just knew I needed some musculoskeletal treatment to help try and repair the damage I’d done. On top of that the doctor told me to. I’m that girl.
The hesitancy came from my previous career, much of it spent scheduling healthcare and self-care, in various forms.
I hate to tell you; some, some of you out there don’t have the best overall record for sticking to a schedule, keeping a schedule, honoring a schedule. This isn’t only massage therapists but on this day it was.
Many times the people getting massages aren’t the most reliable either (I could barely get out of bed) so having totally changed gears to the other side of the desk, I apprehensively made a massage appointment.
I showed up early. Of course I did. Just after parking my car a woman frantically pulled in right after me, jumped out of her car, and ran inside.
Please don’t let that be my massage therapist.
I gave it a couple more minutes and then I went inside to find the waiting area vacant. This began my real concern and ignited some leftover feelings, strong feelings, from my medical & restaurant management days. Namely, try to be in the waiting area for arriving guests. There’s this schedule and you can see who’s coming and going. If someone is supposed to walk in the door at 8, be at the door a few minutes before to greet them.
Sitting alone in the waiting area, eyeing all the goodies ripe for the taking. Hearing people distracted in the back.
I took a few deep, cleansing breaths.
Trying not to project my management style onto this perfectly fine clinic, while trying to avoid thinking of the discomfort nudging me from behind. Literally my low-back hurt so bad aka my ass hurt. Gluteus maximus strain with some deep abdominal strain. It’s getting better. I hope!
As the clock crept closer to my appointment time. My first appointment. I began to fall into my distress over timeliness.
Where the hell is the massage therapist?
What kind of place is this?
Why am I even doing this?
I knew this was a bad idea!
One minute before my appointment time - the one minute before I was going to leave, an apparition flies in the door, says a quick “hi” as she breezes past. That is my massage therapist.
A few more minutes pass and in unison the massage therapist and office manager make an appearance. The massage therapist picks up some paperwork from the desk and says, “Megan?”
Holding my paperwork up as I stand, I say, “you’re not ready. I think I’ll go.”
I can see myself saying this and by the reaction of both women it was clear, I have managed to get my temper pretty under control through some actions I’ll share in an upcoming blog. Sometimes I forget how I can affect other people with my brazenness because both their eyes got so wide and they adamantly apologized and protested I not leave.
I conceded. I’m so glad I did. It was a great massage. Made better by the guilt upgrade.
Generally, I try to participate in my massage with good breathing and “trying” to relax. Which is really just me being present to letting go of the tightness and strain, and open to help working the tightness from my muscles.
This massage had an additional element of coaching to it. One of the many reasons I’m thankful for the training. She had great massage training but she was very obvious in her struggle to get everything done that she wanted to with all the things that cause her to get sidetracked and off schedule along the way.
On the bright side I was just telling a friend of mine about my experience and she has been working with a specialist physician - the big-time of medical providers, and they can’t keep to their schedule so don’t feel bad massage therapists.
I’m not just writing this to pick on you, and if this story triggers your relationship with time, you are not alone!
It turns out all kinds of people can’t stick to a schedule and I have been one of those people on a few occasions.
Actually, this pretty much sums up my teen years. To the extent that I remember my high school principal lecturing me that if I couldn’t stick to a schedule, I wasn’t going to get anywhere in life. He told me this as he was issuing me a school suspension for tardiness. What a fucking oxymoron! Suspending someone from school for not wanting to go to school.
An early lesson that we can get the things we ask for in life but the more clarity we add, the more accurate the reality.
Thirty years later and I’m going to give him a little credit. Far more than I did in high school. He had a point. I hated high school though and herein lies the secret: You have to be in agreement with the schedule to keep it. It’s more than just making a schedule or sticking to a schedule. It is the passion and drive for the things scheduled that counts.
Something about the truth in what we want to do and the time it takes to accomplish what we set out to do is another important key.
The only reason that unfinished projects abound. You have the weekend but the weekend isn’t long enough to finish the project.
I started to rebuild my life through scheduling the things that were really important for me to do. The things I wanted to be successful at went on the schedule and I tried my best to stick to it.
I quickly learned that one of my biggest problems was being realistic with time.
The time it takes to get something done.
This is huge. At least for me. I am notorious for underestimating how long it really takes to do certain things.
Get into reality.
Have a back-up plan.
Add double the time.
Sticking to the plan to completion.
Not getting side tracked during my time. If I schedule 3 hours to paint. I now paint. But if I don’t complete the painting in that time, there are other painting days scheduled.
Painting for example: I’m going to paint regularly for the rest of my life. Once I let that sink in I was able to let go of some of the pressure to, “finish this painting in 3 hours!” I just schedule the time to paint and paint. Right now I’m trying to complete 5-10 paintings so I continue to pick those paintings out that are closer to completion so that I have a plan of attack for my next session.
This is how I started to plan for my success: Warning! There’s some math.
There are 24 hours in the day.
How many hours do you need to sleep?
Take that number and subtract from 24.
How many hours are left?
Use that time, in whatever capacity you can to unleash your creativity & radical freedom toward your own success.
I’ve heard too many people say that they want more free time, wish they had more time, or can’t make it to an appointment on time and now there’s just no excuse anymore.
It’s costing you! One way or another. If you aren’t honoring time and playing nice with it, it is going to rob you.
I can say this because I full-out committed to going with the flow for like 20 years and I didn’t get shit done. For myself that is. I worked my ass off for million dollar businesses, while my personal creativity sat whimpering in the corner until it became an all-out cry for help.
Now I schedule my flow and flow through my schedule.
Flow and freedom have a whole new meaning and with my new goal of filling my day with fun, it helps me gauge how much time I want to spend on what is most important.
I want to spend most of my time creatively. Specifically several hours a day painting, writing, designing, photographing, and connecting with my community.
When I recently listened to my friend that works in a restaurant sigh with exasperation that he hadn’t gotten his schedule for work yet, I was livid. Remember, I’ve got a righteous temper, I was especially hot since we were sitting thousands of miles away from his work on a little getaway to New Orleans. Since his flight was the next day and he scheduled it that way to be at work the day after, I asked when he normally got his work schedule?
His answer put me into an apoplectic fit.
He hadn’t gotten his schedule that started in 2 days and there was no consistency to his schedule so it’s not like he could just show up at his usual time.
As I jot this down, it occurs to me many people may not face this. They go to work the same time everyday. What about them? They don’t need a shower schedule. Or do they need it more?
Maybe not a shower schedule but a passion project schedule might be just the thing.
A schedule that balances the things that must be done and the things desired to be accomplished.
One of my favorite management mottos: we are here to take care of business so we can go home and take care of business that feeds our soul. That what fulfills us outside this job is what makes us better employees.
Part of the fun I experience now is integrating the many aspects of my life and skills I have gained. The only reason I embrace scheduling my life now is that I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to get a grasp on time and learn how to use a schedule.
Start with a rough sketch of what the week might look like. A day to start. Next thing you’ll know your life might be planned out by the year. How exciting would it be to know what your doing? You won’t ever know what the future holds unless you plan for it.
As an expert at scheduling, seriously, the comments are gonna be abundant to my scheduling expertise! So not holding my breath.
Go! Get started now and if you need help, the options are a plenty.
Just added to the previous list: the life design + soulful planner 2019 that I see a colleague of mine creating. I’ve been seeing more of these and they give me hope that in these, some might say, turbulent and technological times, we aren’t sitting back letting life take charge of us but taking charge of our life.