OK, so you have now chosen your calendar system (preferably digital), the next step is to begin putting everything in.
I love time blocking. It's pretty a simple technique to implement, you basically start by creating a list of things you need to do or places you need to be, and then you block the time out in your calendar for them. See it as making appointments with yourself.
INDIVIDUAL CALENDARS OR CATEGORIES
Think about your main life areas, or tasks you do, and set up an individual colour-coded calendar category for each.
This is really easy to set up if you are using a digital calendar. If you're using paper, get your coloured pens or highlighters out!
I keep my categories relatively simple, with the following;
EVENTS & APPOINTMENTS
LIFE ADMIN & TO DO'S
Everyone's lives are different so choose whatever works for you and fits in with your lifestyle.
EVENTS AND TIME BLOCKS
☐ First add any one-off big events, appointments and plans that you have made. Things like holidays, school holidays, meetings, weekends away or important days out. I like to add these as 'all day events' so that I can see them right at the top of my calendar as priorities.
☐ Next, add in your WORK commitments, including your travel and commute time.
☐ Add your FAMILY commitments. Childcare, school runs...
☐ Add any other regular appointments and time commitments, such as gym classes or health appointments.
Assign each event to one of your categories.
Once, you have got into the flow and habit of using your calendar, you can start to add the other important things that take up your time and begin to build your days intentionally.
HABITS, ROUTINES AND RITUALS
☐ Block out SLEEP. It might sound silly to add it to your calendar, but it is so important, and it takes up your time. What time would you like to wake up and go to bed each day? Add it in.
☐ Block out any other essential tasks. List the things that you absolutely must get done every day/week to run your life the best that you can. To begin with, only block out the things that you need to do, rather than what you would like to get done. I add in my home cleaning tasks and life admin.
☐ Morning and evening routines and meal times, if you have them yet. If not worry, you will get to them!.
☐ Birthdays and anniversaries (add a reminder the week before if you want to send a card or present).
TIME BLOCKING TIPS
⇢ For digital calendars, if there is something that you regularly do, you can set up recurring event blocks that will be added to each day that you assign it to daily, weekly, monthly or annually.
⇢ The important thing to remember at this point is not to worry about setting the perfect amount of time for each block. You can adjust over time as you become more aware of how you use your time and how long things take.
⇢ Take some time to play around with the order of your day. Do a weekly review and keep editing until it you have a typical day that works well for you. When is the best time for you to accomplish specific tasks?
⇢ Don't over schedule. Realistically, you can't be productive for 10 hours straight. Give yourself time between tasks and always schedule more time than you need for each task, and don't forget travel time.
Leave some white space to do nothing! I love a completely free Sunday with no plans at all to just lounge on the sofa and watch movies.
⇢ Do the important stuff first, over busying yourself with the unimportant things.
⇢ I like to include as much information as possible in my event. If I am scheduling an hour block for a meeting, I like to include any 'to do's' and must remembers in the notes section, reminder notification if I think I need to, and the location. Always add the location details for an event or a meeting to save yourself having to try and find it again at a later date.
⇢ An most importantly, allow yourself to flow - things happen. Your calendar should allow flexibility. You aren't always going to be able to stay on track. That's OK. Just get back on as soon as you can. Time blocking gives you structure, but it doesn't have to be fixed or rigid.
REGULAR PLANNING AND REVIEWS
Check in with your calendar at least once per day.
Have a weekly plan and review session of your calendar. Review last week and set your intentions for the next. It helps you mentally prepare and be clear on what's happening in your week, and in your life. This is one of my Sunday rituals.
What went well? And what didn't go so well? What can you simplify and declutter?
When you have been intentional with your time, it's easier to look back with no regrets.