Conquering Your Calendar: Mastering Your Schedule So It Doesn’t Master You

"Home Is Where the Om Is": A practical series on the art of mindful living.

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Getty Images

Home Is Where the Om Is” is the practical series to the art of mindful living. In each article you’ll learn ways to get your external world set-up to give your inner world more room to breathe. You’ll learn how to minimize distractions, be more efficient, and how to create more space externally and internally. Turns out a clean and clear closet, purse, kitchen junk drawer really can set you up for mindfulness. 

I frequently hear people say: “I don’t know how to be mindful. I don’t have time to meditate. How do you find the time? I get distracted easily. I don’t even have time to keep up with my errands. I would love to be more mindful, but…” And, usually, the “but” contains a reason relating to time, energy, or scheduling conflicts. 

How do you manage time? Do you say: “I am too busy,” “I have too much to do,” “I don’t have enough time for…” Here’s something you might not want to hear: You’re already in control of your time. You just haven’t set the time aside to do the things on your wish list. If you don’t set the time aside, you’re absolutely correct; you don’t have enough time. But, if you do set the time, magically, you will. 

Start using your calendar as your key to unlocking what you want. What you spend your time doing is what your life will become. You want to be more mindful? Set yourself up to learn how to practice mindfulness. For me, the key to unlocking mindfulness was my meditation practice.  

Here are a few tricks to get you launched on your mindful practice:

1.    Schedule it. What? You want me to schedule being mindful? I thought the whole idea of mindfulness is that it was a constant approach. Well, yes, it is. But, are you actually being mindful constantly? No? Me either. We all let the distractions of our daily lives interfere with our focus on the present. So, how do we cultivate mindfulness? Just like any skill: Practice. Practice. Practice. So, take out your phone, open your calendar and set some time every day to mediate which is one way to plant the seeds and cultivate mindful living. I like early mornings best; I especially enjoy dawn. But, I can hear you pulling up the comfy covers over your head with a deep sigh that says: “no way, maybe tomorrow.” So, pick a time that will actually work for you. And, put it on your calendar as a repeating event.

2.   It’s Alarming! Set two alarms on your phone. Give yourself a 15-minute warning, so you can finish up whatever you’re doing and put yourself someplace where you won’t be physically distracted. Set the second alarm to ring when you want to begin meditating. Flick the “do not disturb” on your phone. Ready, set, go.

3.    Deconstruct it so you can construct it. Make your calendar your guru. Wanna have lunch with an old friend? Workout? Meditate? Brainstorm? Clean your closet? Declutter? Create a calendar that tells you when to do what you’ve decided you want to do. So often, we tell ourselves “someday, I’ll…. clean the closet, write my grandmother, take my kids to my hometown…” If we break down the steps, schedule time for each step and visualize our goal already completed; we can actually make it happen. 

4.    Set yourself up for success. Every night, look through the next day’s schedule on your smart phone’s calendar. Is everything you want to do tomorrow on your calendar? If not, assign it a time on your calendar. Be sure to be realistic on how much time you are going to devote to that task. Notice, I didn’t say how much time it’s going to take to complete the task, because I am sure you might have told me: You didn’t know. Instead, you’re going to give yourself a chunk of time to give energy to something. If you complete it before the allotted time, great. If you don’t, schedule more time to devote to it another day. Now, go to your alarm on your phone and set an alarm for each new task. If you need to get set-up before you begin a particular task, set warning alarms too.  

5. The bell is ringing for you. I guess it’s tolling too; so carpe diem. You’ve set yourself up to tackle that task, make that phone call, listen to that guided meditation tape, and get that show on the road; so, when the calendar alarm bell rings telling you it’s time: It is TIME. Smile. You’re on the road to where you want to go. 

In each article, I will provide easy steps to set you and your home up to be supportive of your mindful practice. We’ll talk about decluttering your space, to create space. We’ll do it step-by-step together. I use these techniques in my daily life, they work. 

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