Time Management

I recently attended a time management seminar. Coincidentally, my calendar was double booked and I had a choice to make. Luncheon with my business associates, or get control of my life? Hmmmmm, it was a tough decision. Especially since the luncheon was at one of my favorite restaurants and I love food. But, I knew that I needed to get my life back in gear so I went to the time management seminar.

Back in another life I was a lazy slob. My house was a mess and I had a sink full of dirty dishes and I was a hot mess. Okay, I’m still a hot mess, but at least my home no longer looks like an episode of Hoarders. What got me organized back then was a fabulous lady named FlyLady. Through her tutoring, I learned how to take care of my home (sort of – I’m still lazy) but more importantly, she taught me the importance of schedules and calendars.

While I was with FlyLady and at home, I had this fabulous color coded journal that contained everything from my families calendar to grocery lists to a private journal. It was my bible and I carried it everywhere and never missed a PTO meeting, school recital or doctor appointment.

Fast forward 15 years or so and I no longer work at home, I no longer have small children anymore, I work outside the home 50 hours a week plus I own a small photo booth company on the side. I have work schedules for both jobs, 3 adult children to keep track of, a husband who works a different schedule every week and a billion things, like every other corporate working mom to worry about like vet appointments, filling prescriptions, vacations and more. I have to schedule time to pee alone.

The digital age complicated things for me. I left my cute little journal/organizer/life saver behind. Along came a new life with a new job and Outlook calendars. Pretty great system. But didn’t integrate with my iPhone so well. Then came Google Calendar, and again, good, but not perfect. I’ve missed more appointments and forgotten more things in the last 3 years than I have in my entire life. I’m sick of looking like an idiot because I double scheduled or “forgot”. I swear, I’m 47, but some days I feel like I am a senile 97 year old.

Then , I went to this time management seminar at Regus Office Space with Leah Meyers from Impact and she did the most amazing thing. She told me to go back to my paper planner. What? I can’t. I kind of stopped using a paper planner because as good as it was, it didn’t ring an alarm to remind me to buy vodka. It didn’t set off an alert that I missed a staff meeting. And it certainly didn’t send me reminders that I forgot my mother in law’s birthday….again. That’s why I switched to online calendars.

But, I had to sit back and ask my sarcastic self, “How’s that digital crap working out for you?” Because I have all these calendars, and NONE of them talk to each other. There isn’t one system that I can use for me, work, and family that works for all of us. My outlook calendar at work doesn’t talk to my Google calendar. My iphone calendar doesn’t talk to the kitchen wall calendar. My photo booth calendar doesn’t talk to my alarm clock and my husband’s Blackberry? It doesn’t talk to anyone. It’s a freaking Blackberry.

So how in the world did this crazy woman think a paper calendar was going to solve all my problems? Then the moment came when it was all clear. She taught me about time blocking. I’d never heard of it. It’s a real thing apparently that organized people use. And her solution? I needed to time block calendar time. Duh! I needed to make an appointment to get my calendar straight. Why didn’t I ever think of that? And she taught me that there is a device that can make all these calendars talk to each other. OMG! I was so ready to buy it, download the app and get started! But, it was simpler than that. It is me. I am the one and only device that can pull all the information from all these calendars and put it into one useful place.

There’s never going to be a perfect solution to make every system talk to each other, but by allowing myself a block of time each week to organize my calendars, I will be blessing myself with the gift of time, blocked out, organized and all in one place. It’s a fact that by writing things down, you can remember them better. And, once they are in my handy dandy planner, all in one organized place, I can easily transfer them to a digital version. The key to it all is just setting aside the time each week to do it.

So, I ordered myself a pretty new planner (in pink of course, but it comes in different colors!), some fancy markers and even some nifty post it note flag tab things, and I am going to start being that organized mom boss I used to be again. I miss her. She was freaking awesome.

First order of business, I’m scheduling a manicure, time to read a self help book and a date night with my husband and then I am confident that the rest of my life will fall into place.

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