Time is precious. I think when you start adding more to your proverbial plate, you start to get less done, or feel as though you are getting less done anyway. So, how do I keep it all straight??? What are my tricks for staying on track??? Welcome to the world of Color Blocking your Calendar.
Color Blocking your Calendar is just what it sounds like, you block certain amounts of time for areas that are important to you. You will need a day planner or calendar with time slots (I love my day planner since I can take it with me to appointments and places I may need to schedule activities, however, there are great apps for your smart phones and also sites like Google Calendar that may work for you as well. My calendar has 5 areas that I “block” my time for. There are many subcategories to these, but here is my starting point: “Me” time, Family time, Work, House Work, and Time with “But Dad”. When I go through my planner at the beginning of the week, I look at what appointments I have, and I then “block” my time around them.
1. Me Time. The first time I schedule in my planner is “Me Time”. This generally happens before the kids get up (my coffee and get my thoughts together time) and once they go to bed for the night (my relaxing, play some mindless Facebook games, and catch up with friends time). I make sure this is scheduled 1st, and I try to make myself stick to it. When I have time for relaxing, or getting my thoughts gathered in the morning, I’m happier, and that makes for a better day.
2. Family Time. My family is my first priority, therefore, this is the 2nd time I schedule. This is time I spend with the kids playing, time we spend as a family watching movies or at a family gathering, and also time spent eating meals and time I spend with the girls at night (bath time, book time, etc). I also schedule therapy and Dr appointments in this color.
3. Work. Next I schedule “work” time. This consists of anything from blog post writing, editing, and scheduling, to working my Wildtree business, and keeping up on various social media pages I have for my blog and Wildtree business. When I schedule in the time to work, I know that this is what this time was set aside for. I don’t feel guilty for working when it is scheduled, because I know I have time outside of working time that I can spend with my family, or catching up on house work, so it’s okay to focus on work, and I get Waaaay more accomplished.
4. House Work. In this category, of course is the daily and weekly cleaning and meal prep, and also errands. When I have time set aside to do dishes and make meals, it generally gets done faster, since I know that is what I am suppose to do. It isn’t always pretty, and I have been known to WANT to continue working, or playing with the kids through this time, however, it is generally no longer than an hour or two at a time, and I keep reminding myself of how good it will feel when it is all done. It is a work in progress for sure, but I am getting better at sticking to this, and it is helping to ease the stress level in the house as well.
5. Time with “But Dad” Please do NOT confuse this thinking that we only spend scheduled time together. Some nights, my “Me Time” is spent hanging out binge-watching a show on Hulu, or a movie with “But Dad”, or during the day we snuggle on the couch and watch a movie as a family. This time I schedule is a reminder to me that it is important to take this time and focus on our marriage and each other. It is time (usually) during the middle of the day, while the littles nap. It is before the stress of evening comes with dinner, and baths, and bedtime. We use to wait until we got the kids in bed for the night, but somehow, a lot of nights there just wasn’t anything left from either of us. The sad truth is, we are both exhausted and brain-fried by bedtime, and it isn’t fair to either of us to not get that quality time with each other, so scheduling it in works for us.
These are the areas on my calendar. When I have an impromptu meeting come up (Business convo, play date, errand to run) I can see where that would fit in my daily schedule and add it accordingly, this way, I am not neglecting 1 area because I made my plate too full. It keeps me balanced, and focused, and my family happy. What would YOUR calendar look like???