5 Systems You Must Have In Place to Make 2011 Your Best Year (Part 2)

#2 Value-Driven Calendar System

Often our calendars run our lives! Too often the urgent consumes our day like a hungry vulture leaving only unusable scraps behind.  The people and things we truly value such as our spouses, children and health get this remnant usually at times when we no longer have the emotional or physical strength to enjoy them.  Like money, our calendars make a great servant but a poor master!  Learning to have a system for scheduling our lives allows us to both accomplish those things that are urgent but also to create a life by design and not default!

In the 1989 Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” hit the best seller list.  In this and subsequent books, Stephen Covey created a quadrant to distinguish between Urgent (X-axis) and Import (Y-axis) teaching us to place our “To do” items in one of these quadrants:

He taught that the less time we spend on quadrant number 2 the more we will end up spending in quadrant 1. This same idea can be brought into creating a calendar! The less time we allocate to that which is truly important to us the more we will spend our days and ultimately our lives living in the urgent.  The cost of living by default is great!  Failed marriages, broken relationships with our kids, and an out of shape and overweight body are all signs of having been mastered by that which in the end truly didn’t matter.

In studying this issue, I have come accross two great systems for creating a calendar that lines up with my values and what is truly important, not just what needs to be done.  One of these systems was shared by Dani Johnson www.danijohnson.com .  She uses a color coded calendar system.  To start: print out a month at a glance calendar and take out 4 highlighter pens.  Now mark out blocks of time each day/week using these colors beginning with the most important.  For example my priorities are God (blue), spouse (pink), family/kids (yellow), work (green).  So in my case, the first couple hours each day are colored blue, as well as Sunday mornings till noon.  Next I put pink for date nights, quiet times to talk and plan with spouse. Then, add the yellow – game nights, family dinners, kid’s activities, special times with each child, etc.  Then and only  after all the important things are added put in the times you are available for work, appointments, meetings, etc.

Another great system came from Eric Lofholm  www.saleschampion.com .  Each morning and evening ask yourself a series of questions (that you design).  Sample questions include:  “How can I grow closer to God today?”, “What will I do today to increase my skills?”, “What can I do to increase my income today?”, “Who do I need to follow up with?”  etc.  You can design these for all the areas of your life. Then, my favorite two questions:  “What are the 2 most valuable things I can do today?” and “What must I accomplish today?”

Perhaps a combination of these two systems works for you.  Perhaps you have refined these to an entirely different system.  Share with us what works for you!

Praying YOU prosper in ALL things!

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you Brenda! Another friend keeps telling me that I need a planner that I can carry around, not just the calendar in my phone. I’m finding she’s right. Unless I have something I can physically look at, the times I block seem to be spent doing other things. I’ll be taking the advice of you both!

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