Your Ideal Calendar: The Road Map to the Life you Want

When I was a kid, my parents were teachers, and we had the summers off as a family. Each summer was a great adventure and enforced family bonding. I never went to summer camp with my friends; instead, we drove to Canada or California, or Utah in an old van and either slept in the van or camped at KOA in a tent when that got old. (Yes, this used to be perfectly safe.) I wouldn't trade those grand adventures for anything.

Pre-GPS when we would travel cross-country, we would get out the Road Almanac and highlight our route. I remember sitting around the dining room table looking at that highlighted path and the circled activities we would do at each stop. We had a plan. It was going to be epic.

Of course, even with all the planning, things didn't always go as expected. We would have a few Chevy Chase-family vacation moments each trip. But imagine the experience if we got in the van and headed out without a map or highlighted route. Instead of driving the most direct path to the desired activity, we would have spent hours arguing about the best place to stop or the ideal activity. We would not have been seeing and doing the things that meant the most to us. We would have robbed ourselves of the joy of anticipating the next great adventure.

Creating your ideal calendar is like planning your route for a road trip. You get the opportunity to anticipate making room on your calendar for the things that matter to you. You block off the time that you will dedicate to each activity. You share the plan with your team and your family, so everyone is on board. Then you get to do what you planned efficiently.

Does every week follow the ideal perfectly? No! In the beginning, I did not have room to put all the blocks of time on the calendar since I had scheduled commitments already. When I started this process, I had to look out a month and start putting my time blocks that far out. Then upon implementation, I found things that didn't work as well as I liked, and I had to tweak the plan. However, if I had never taken that step, I would not have known what worked and where I needed to pivot.

However, there may be some essential pieces of the puzzle you can start sliding into place now. I recommend finding some time each week for overflow. Overflow is the space where you make up whatever you missed because a true emergency came up, and you chose to respond. You can also start blocking out some intentional free time. As your schedule opens up further out, you block more and more time with intentionality. But do it now! If not, that precious time will get eaten up with things that appear on the schedule without forethought.

Otherwise, you may wander through Paris, Texas, but miss the Grand Canyon.

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