Do to your calendar what you do to your body.
If you've never heard of a Detox Diet, do a Google search and you’ll scroll through a long list of choices. Popular options include detoxing with raw food, grapefruit, herbal tea, fasting, and more. Seven days, three days, 24 hours to a new you. While some are gimmicky, healthy detox diets focusing on the removal of toxins in your body can produce some amazing results. From stress reduction to increased energy, the benefits are worth exploring.
With thoughts of toxin elimination, I set out to create a calendar detox that would produce similar health results. A steady accumulation of appointments and obligations was creating a residual build up of stress. In order to move forward in any one area with success, others simply needed to go away. I figured summer is a good time of year for calendar cleansing. The longer days feel like bonus thinking hours and the sunshine is a spirit lifter.
Here are my suggestions if your calendar is out of control:
Recognize the need for adjustments. It’s easy to grumble about how busy we are, and then keep doing the same things over and over. In fact, it’s quite a contest for some to prove they are the busiest human on the planet, feeling quite superior in the feat.
Make a written list of all your regularly scheduled events. Scan the last 12 months on your calendar (kid’s sports, committee work, bunko night). Secondly, make a list of your sporadically scheduled events (elderly care, holiday parties, business dinners).
Estimate the number of hours needed each week for your family routine. Think car pool, grocery shopping, laundry, bill paying, yard work, exercise, etc.
Make a list of long term goals. Include career, family, health, personal growth and anything else that you desire to be a constant in your life.
Stack the activities against your goals. Are there things that you do that are no longer as relevant? Should you really be hosting the company Christmas party, when every year your goal of creating more holiday family time is unmet. Maybe November planning should focus on a neighborhood caroling night rather than repainting the dining room for the boss.
Do a reality check. After subtracting the mandatory obligations, how many hours are left each week? Then note if you’re choosing to spend them towards achieving those long term goals.
Just Say No. Make the call, write the letter, do it now.
Skip the guilt. Being an active volunteer in your community is a noble way to contribute. But too many or ill-fitting choices may leave you exhausted, unfulfilled, and derailed.
Eliminating the toxins on your calendar is not an easy task. I have a list of criteria for adding new commitments. It includes identifying a need that matches a passion of mine, the potential for skill development, integrity of peers, total time commitment, (and occasionally just because it sounds fun) before signing on the line.
After all, who wants to do another detox?