Let me ask you a question: have you ever woken up and thought, “Here we go again.” You feel like everything is the same—in a way, mundane—and you feel like you’re missing something. You feel like there just has to be more to life than this. You want a life of purpose and meaning, but you just don’t know how to get there.
In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to use a simple tool—your calendar!— to plan a life of meaning and ease and joy and purpose, no perfection required.
In your last lesson, you named what matters and placed it in a prominent place. If you haven’t done that yet, pause this video and go do it. That one action will guide you through the rest of this course. The things that matter are the direction you’ll point your pen for the rest of this course (and hopefully all of your days).
Knowing what matters and keeping it in mind as you plan is the solution to a full-but-unfulfilling schedule. It’s the antidote for wasted days.
So what was it you wrote down? More time with family, a healthier lifestyle, growing a business, resting well?
In the book Essentialism, Greg McKeown writes, “There are two personal learnings that have come to me on the long journey of writing this book. The first is the exquisitely important role of my family in my life. At the very, very end everything else will fade into insignificance by comparison. The second is the pathetically tiny amount of time we have left of our lives. For me this is not a depressing thought, but a thrilling one. It removes fear of choosing the wrong thing. It infuses courage into my bones. It challenges me to be even more unreasonably selective about how to use this precious, and precious is perhaps too insipid a word, time.”
So, instead of going through the motions every day, waking up and feeling like everything is the same, today you’re going to learn how to realistically plan a cultivated life. Now, let me just stop here and encourage you, planning a cultivated life does not mean that you’re going to have to turn into super organized, super woman. It’s not what this is about. Wherever you fall on the organizing, planning, the I’ve never-even-been-successful-with-a-planner spectrum, this is for you because this is about the heart from which you live your days, and we are going to give you a very practical and simple way to use your time well. Let’s do it.
To start, in your workbook, write down some things you’d like to accomplish at the end of the next 90 days.
Why 90 days? We’ve found it’s the perfect amount of time to make a realistic plan. Many people struggle with the feelings of permanence when planning. They worry about setting the wrong intentions or how things will work out right at the start.
But knowing you’re only planning for the next three months makes it easier to dive in because you know you only have a short window of time. So, commit to planning just for the next 90-days.
Remember, it’s just 3 months, so dream big, but be also realistic. Would you like to finish a certain number of books? Organize a special area of your home? Plan a night out with a loved one? This is your space to dream. 90-days will pass quickly, but, when spent purposefully, it’s enough time to feel big success.
Now, it’s time to dig a little deeper and plan your months. In your next lesson, you'll plan your weeks, so right now you’re looking at the big picture of each month.
Open your planner or your workbook and jot down important dates like anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, work deadlines, etc. These bigger events will anchor you when it’s time to make your weekly schedule.
So, if you have any days you already know you’ll be tied up, or special events or holidays coming up, mark those now.
A note of encouragement: you might need to tweak or add some things later. That’s ok! Do your best to fill in important upcoming dates right now, but remember: a cultivated calendar is flexible, it’s simple, it’s life-giving and it helps you use your finite number of days on this earth well.
Now, I want to ask you a question. Think back to Lesson 1 when you wrote the things that matter most to you.
Imagine someone else taking a look at your calendar. Would they know what matters to you? Take a look at your calendar right now. If someone who didn’t know anything about you came in and looked at the things on your schedule, would they know what matters to you?
In other words, if you were to hold up what matters to you next to your calendar, do they match? Ooh, did you feel that in your heart, too? I did.
So, with that in mind, look at your calendar again next to the things that really matter to you…
And here’s your homework: Make. Them. Match.
Now, we know you can’t abandon your family and/or work responsibilities, but you can mesh those two things together. What we plan time for becomes our priority and what we spend time on grows.
So, use these calendar spreads, these next 90-days, this life like it’s the only one you’ve got.
Remember when I said you might need to tweak or add some things? Now’s that chance! Schedule a day away, a night in, a dance party, a pantry organization day, a hike, a vacation or a staycation—purposefully create a calendar that leads you to who you want to be by writing in those things on your list of what matters most.
You don’t have to do this perfectly, but you can do it purposefully and productively. We’re with you each step of the way.
We’ll see you back here for lesson three.