Sometimes it’s just easier to fill up your calendar as things come along. It becomes a fill in the blank exercise. And then as you step back, you realize there is no room to LIVE your life. The very things that matter most to you take a back seat to everything else, so you must either fit them in or not participate.
There’s a better way.
It starts with a proactive approach to planning your calendar. I try to work with an 18-month rolling calendar. Starting this month, I begin looking at next year. This approach gives me time to THINK about WHAT is important and HOW I want to spend my time to LIVE life.
Make a list, starting with your vacations, important dates and events. Reserve the dates on your calendar and invite others that need to be there too. If you are unsure, put a hold on those dates to reserve the space.
Then schedule everything else.
If you are a leader, help others practice scheduling their calendars around what matters too. I suggest getting the school calendars of your employees. If you have multiple schools, look at the schools that effect most employees or the common trends between the schools. Establish “gray zone” days where you ask your people to not schedule meetings or events. Important events might be school breaks, Prom, Concerts, Parent Teacher Conferences, or Spring Break and of course any major holiday. It allows your team to plan their calendars without the added stress of work conflicts. And affords them the ability to extend a day on either side or take advantage of a “clean up or reentry day” before they leave or when they return. It also promotes “real breaks” so when they return, everyone is ALL IN. And when they are away, they are ALL IN with their family and friends.
Once you have it together, take the time to review with your team so they understand the expectations. Your intentional leadership helps everyone be intentional about HOW they want to LIVE their life too. In addition to the big picture planning, I also ask for input from my team, so I can schedule around their life events too. Of course, you won’t be able to avoid everything. But, proactive planning and communication make it possible to optimize what you can AND be aware where there will be issues.
As the year moves along, its important to live by the rule-what is first on the calendar stays on the calendar. If something comes up for the same date, it will be clear where you will be and remind everyone else the importance of proactive planning too.
And the best news, your team and family will see by example what matters to you. WALKING your TALK in your life shows everyone your commitment. Learning to live an integrated life where everything fits together promotes healthy living for everyone.
And all it takes is being proactive and intentional in planning ahead. It’s FREE and makes all the difference to you and your team.
And isn’t that what leadership is all about when you create an environment that empowers your team to lead healthy lives, so they can be their best too?