It is incredibly hard to manage your mind when you are constantly operating off of a to-do list. Your brain looks at it and freaks out, and it ends up being counterproductive rather than productive. There is a more effective tool that can help you get exactly what you want in life.
The tool of calendaring is one of the most underutilized tools available to you. Just as you would budget your money, you can calendar your time. The idea is not to overplan or overwhelm yourself but to be deliberate with the time you have.
Join me this week as I share how calendaring works, the benefits of doing it, and how using this tool gives you a clear mindset to create success in your life. When you use a calendar, you live in purpose because you are being intentional with your time, so I’m showing you how to incorporate this tool into your day-to-day so you can create the life you dream of.
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hey friend, welcome to the podcast. Today I have such a special announcement for you. I am hosting a five day mindset reset for women and mom podcast listeners. It’s $19. This is something I’ve never done before, and I’m not sure if I’ll do again. I want to see how it goes. It is August 23rd through 27th. So that’s in about a week and a half if you’re listening to this in real time.
We are going to cover so many different topics. I’m going to teach, and I’m going to coach. It’s going to be a way for you to deepen your own thought work. I’m going to show you how to uncover thought errors, redirect your mind, really understand the difference between allowing and resisting emotions. Get into balance with the masculine and feminine, and live from your future.
So if you’re someone who absolutely loves what you’re getting on the podcast, I want to invite you to come join me. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/mindset and send this to one of your girlfriends or the woman in your life who loves thought work and mindset work who you think would really love this.
The more people that show up to this, the more women we have showing up in the families and their lives more fully, more presently. That makes the world a better place. So I want to get this work out to as many women as I can with your help and your presence. So I invite you to join me. I so, so, so look forward to seeing you there.
All right. Let’s dive into today’s topic, which is calendaring. If you haven’t listened to the podcast episode The Problem With To-Do Lists, that would be another complementary episode to this one. I talk at length in that episode about what I don’t like about to-do lists and how I never use one. This topic keeps coming up repeatedly in Grow You. So this month in Grow You we’re studying time management and calendaring.
Today what I want to talk with you about is this specific method that I use for planning. I call it calendaring. It’s very simple. It’s basically what a budget is to your money, calendaring is to your time. So you put everything that you need to do on your calendar in time slots. The goal is never to over plan or to be overbooked. It’s actually just to be deliberate with the time that you have.
So I want you to plan self-care. I want you to plan to take time off. I don’t want you to plan to be overwhelmed. In fact, that’s the whole point of doing this system of calendaring is so that you take everything in your mind, and you get it out onto paper. So you have a very clear mindset. Whenever I’m coaching someone about time management and planning and calendaring, one of the very first questions I always ask is are you using a calendar?
It is incredibly hard to manage your mind if you are operating off of a to-do list. Because naturally your brain is just going to look at that to-do list and freak out. It’s kind of like wanting to get out of scarcity, but you spend hours scrolling on Instagram all day. It’s extremely hard to manage your mind around that. So why don’t we set up our environment for success? Let’s get rid of the to-do list and start using a calendar, okay?
So I want to talk with you specifically first about what to put on your calendar. You want to put anything that you would need reminded of. Anything that’s in your brain, put it on the calendar. So things that are not typically in your brain: showering, brushing your teeth. So you don’t need to put those habits that you do on a routine basis on a calendar.
But let’s say that you’re thinking, “Oh, I need to go to the gym. I want to look and see what that schedule is. I need to plan my upcoming work trip. I have a baby shower or a baby nursery that I need to plan for.” Whatever is sort of rattling around in your brain. The point of using a calendar is to clear your brain. Get it all out on paper and put that paper on your calendar.
I’ve said it on here many times, but I use G Calendar. G Cal is my lifeline. It doesn’t really matter though what you use. So you can absolutely use a different calendar, paper calendar. I like digital so I can move things around, and I have it very accessible on my computer and on my phone. It just makes it easier for me. There’s really no one set tool that you have to have. I always like to say that you don’t need another planner. You need a plan.
So what you’re going to do is you’re going to put every single thing on your calendar. So if you are thinking about how you need to hire a plumber to come look at the water tank, that is something that needs to go on your calendar, not on a to-do list. So basically anything you would put on your to-do list, you put on your calendar.
What you want to start with though is scheduling the time that you want to spend for yourself. So you have to schedule in self-care. You, as a woman, as a wife, as a mom are going to show up so much better if you have 15 minutes to 30 minutes every single day whether it’s your morning routine or at night where you can really intentionally reset and get to your best self. This might be through meditation. It might be through coaching yourself. It might be through getting coached. We have lots of different ways for you to do that in Grow You.
The bottom line is you want to have this on your calendar and treat it really as a necessity. Just as much as you would showering or taking your baby to the doctor’s, right. This is something that is truly important for your own sanity and then for everyone else in your life as well. You really show up better in your family when you prioritize your self-care.
So you want to put that on your calendar first, and basically block out space in your calendar where you don’t want there to be anything. It’s like the white space. Can you give yourself some extra space to read a book? To go on a walk? To be bored? Like what does that even look like, right? To just play with your kids. You have that sort of intentionally noted on your calendar that the evenings are for your babies after work. Or if you’re a stay-at-home mom, are there things that you want to get done during the day but also want to balance that with the kid’s activities and their school?
The more organized that you can be, the less overwhelm you’re going to be in. Now if you are overplanning, you can’t get rid of the overwhelm because your brain is in overdrive. That’s why the importance of self-care and having a hard stop in your workday are so important.
So when I coach someone in Grow You and they say, “Well, I’m using a to-do list and I’m working until 9:00 at night.” It’s like well, there is only so much coaching I can help you with there. Really what that comes down to is me helping this person uncover why they are doing that to themselves. Why are you saying yes to all of this? Usually it’s something to do with fear and self-worth, not being good enough. So wanting to prove your worth through taking action and doing more. So that’s just good to know.
So when you have the awareness that, “Oh yeah. I’m subjecting myself to overwork, and I don’t have to do that. What’s the alternative here? What does my life look like if I put in some white space, some downtime, some self-care time? I can still get twice as much done as I want to if I learn to think differently and use my resources in a different way. How can I get my husband on board with planning the baby nursery?” It might be me taking the lead, but then asking for his support to figure out X, Y, and Z.
I do this all the time with Steve. I’ll say, “Okay. I am planning something, and I’m going to need you to take the lead on blah, blah, blah.” Whatever it is. We recently just hung up all of our artwork and photos in our home. It took us a couple of months to get that all done after moving to Charleston, but there were a few frames that we hung that have the stock photos in them because we have a lot more wall space in Charleston. We used to have floor to ceiling windows in Chicago. So a lot of the things we didn’t have up on our walls. Here we have space for it.
So I said to Steve, “Okay, I am going to take care of the photos in the living room and be in charge of filling those, but the one in the bathroom can you be in charge of filling?” He said yes, absolutely. It’s sort of like looking at your “to dos” and delegating to your husband anything that you feel comfortable with. That’s not to say that you’re always the one delegating. He might delegate to you as well.
What I find for most women is we have a tendency to think, “Okay because this is something I want then I need to do it all.” It might just be let’s have a conversation with husband and see, “Okay. How can you help me do this?”
I was recently listening to a podcast for moms. I don’t remember which one it was, but they were talking about how every other day they switch who is in charge of the responsibilities for the kids so that the kids don’t always just have the one go-to parent. So if the child needs help in the bathroom brushing their teeth, going to the bathroom, anything like that. Monday, Wednesday, Fridays it might be mom’s day. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday it’s dad’s day. Sunday can be either, or something like that.
Not only does this help the kids sort of see equal responsibilities for both parents, but it also helps mom, right, who is normally seen as the go to so that you don’t have so much on your plate thinking that you have to have this on your plate.
So can you get creative in everything that you have on your plate? Not just in putting it all in time slots, but also in getting stuff off of the time slot all together. So it might be that you say, “Okay, is this something that I really need to do? Can I delegate this?” If it is something, you keep it. If not, you can absolutely delegate it out.
The same is true for hiring help. We don’t have a new cleaning service in Charleston yet, but in Chicago we always had cleaning ladies come. That was just something that I was happy to pay for. It was off our plate. We knew every two weeks our place was going to be absolutely spotless. I’m a little bit obsessed with my cleaning ladies from Chicago. They are just wonderful.
So this is a way for you to get something off your calendar. To start thinking about, “Okay, what other resources can I use to get some of my time back?” Often that’s money, right? You can pay someone like a cleaning service to do the thing instead of you using your time to do the thing. That’s not always the case and we don’t always want to use our money, but sometimes we absolutely do.
There are so many benefits to calendaring and using time slots. I think they all fit under the umbrella of living so much more intentionally. When you use a calendar, you live on purpose because you’re saying, “This is what I expect of myself to use this time in this way.” It gets you out of putting out all of those mini fires that come up in the day to day routine.
So it’s, “Okay, we need the plumber to come out and look at the hot water tank. What about spring break for next year? What about planning the kid’s birthday party?” Whatever the case may be of what’s kind of rattling around in your mind. If you can get all of that onto your calendar as soon as it comes up the first time in your mind, like right away you just put it on your calendar. This is the two hour block I’m going to plan the whole party. You will totally free up your mind. You will have a clear mind. What this does is it gets you out of overwhelm.
Because I don’t think there’s a place in time where people want less of you. You don’t really want that. You want to be invited. You want to grow. I’m really in this phase of us growing our family, right. So Steve and I got together. We got Penny, then we got Benji, and now I’m pregnant. We’ll probably have more kids. So we’re growing our family. It’s so much fun, and we’re adding in all of these new experiences of life that I’ve never had before. I’m just so in love with all of it.
That doesn’t mean that there’s not problems, but what it does mean is that I can use these tools. Particularly when it comes to managing my time, I can use calendaring to make sure that I’m still taking care of myself. That I’m intentionally growing. That I’m intentionally living out our family values and sort of not just reacting to the mini fire of the day.
That’s the biggest thing that I hear from my clients is, “I’m living in reactive mode. I want to make more money. I want to work less. I want to grow my family. I don’t really think I can do it all.” I think that calendaring is one of the most underutilized tools to help you get exactly what it is that you want, and to really create the life that is your dream life. Not mine, not someone else’s, but yours. Like what that looks like. You can literally calendar your dreams.
Now typically when I’m coaching someone and I ask them, “Have you heard of my method of calendaring where you put whatever you need to do on your calendar in a specific time slot.” They’ll say, “Yes, I have. I tried it, and it didn’t work for me.” That comes up a lot. I’ll say, “Okay, explain that to me. What do you mean it didn’t work for me?” “Well, I tried it and it was hard. So I stopped.” I say, “What do you mean it was hard?” “Well, I put it on my calendar, and then I didn’t follow through.”
This is the part where you need a coach. This is the part like losing weight where you try to do the diet and it doesn’t work, so you quit if you don’t have a coach. So I truly believe everyone needs a life coach. I welcome you to join Grow You. I’d be happy to help you with this. For today, what I want you to know is that your brain would rather have you run around like a chicken with its head cut off than use a calendar if you’re used to running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
I actually took this from one of my clients. I was explaining to her that it makes perfect sense that her brain would rather be in overwhelm and would rather not use the calendar. It makes perfect sense that you have resistance. Why? Because your brain prefers comfort. It does not want to do something new. It wants to be overwhelmed because it knows that as a pattern.
So if you think of momentum, like the path of least resistance is the path you’re already on. So if you’re on the path of overwhelm, your brain loves that path. So it would rather keep doing that path of overwhelm than get off the path and get on a new path. Consciously you’re saying, “But I don’t like overwhelm.” Subconsciously your brain’s like, “But we know how to do overwhelm so well. So let’s keep it up. This calendaring thing it’s hard, it’s complicated. It takes so much energy for me to figure out I don’t want to do it.”
That’s when my client said, “I get it. My brain would rather run around like a chicken with its head cut off than use a calendar because it’s used to running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” Like yes, that is it. So if you’re someone who’s used to eating salads every day and going to the gym, your brain would rather do that. If you’re used to watching Netflix and having wine after work every day, your brain would rather do that.
Your brain always wants to repeat the past. It’s predictable, and it knows that predictable means you’ll stay alive. It’s just a survival mechanism. I think if you know this, if you understand that that’s the root cause, you can override this part of your brain. So you can train yourself slowly to take the next step.
So this is what we’re doing in Grow You this month. It’s not about calendaring your whole life. It’s about choosing one thing in your life, one area in your life where you’re going to calendar. So for me it might be something new. So every time you grow, and you expand, and you evolve, your circumstances change because your results have changed. So, for me, I’m pregnant. That’s my circumstance right now. So there are a lot of things coming into my life experiences that weren’t there before. That’s an opportunity for me to use the calendaring tool.
For example, the baby shower. People coming in town for it. The nursery and thinking of all of that and registering. So I’m putting all of that on my calendar. That’s just me taking the next step in using this tool instead of thinking, “Okay, I need to change everything I do in my entire life and do calendaring better where it feels even more overwhelming.” So what we’re doing in Grow You this month is committing to one thing, up leveling that one thing in our life by using our calendar, and planning for resistance. Planning for it to be hard.
I truly believe that if you’re willing to do the hard thing, if you’re willing to overcome that desire for comfort, if you’re willing to embrace that resistance, you end up as such a better woman, wife, and mom because you feel better. You feel more in control. You can show up in your life with more attention and with so much more to give than if you had a million things going on in your head and it being so hard to focus that way.
So I want to encourage you to prioritize your time. Be intentional with your time. Know that one of the biggest reasons for doing that is so that you can live your life on purpose in total alignment with your values. Just like you’re seeing with me go through my first pregnancy, it changes as you change, as your life changes. As the seasons of your life change, you’re going to change how you use your time.
I’ve coached a lot of women who have had diagnoses or health scares, and their capacity changes. So their capacity needs to change because how they spend their time needs to change. So we can use this calendaring tool throughout our entire lives as we evolve and grow. It can really be there for us as a support system. So I say start using your calendar religiously not so that you’re overbooked, but so that like a budget where you’re planning where every dollar goes are planning where your time goes.
So if you’re not in Grow You yet, I invite you to join me in Grow You. We will take your calendaring up to the next level. I will see you next week. Bye, bye.
If you loved this podcast, you are going to love Grow You. Grow You is my virtual life coaching program where I take everything on the podcast to the next level. I invite you to join our amazing community of women and moms and deepen your own personal development. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.