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Declutter Your Schedule This New Year with the Right Tools

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Appointment Calendar at House of Doolittle

As 2022 draws to a close many of us will begin the new year with a collection of resolutions in the hope of improving our lives. The usual suspects often include eating better, exercising more, and improving relationships. There is not one thing wrong with any of these, but something to consider when assessing these goals may lie in a foundational resolution that can include the above examples and so many others. Decluttering our busy schedules and environment should be the starting point to achieve success throughout 2023 and beyond. 

There is no better way to start this process than with the fresh, clean slate of a new wall calendar or daily planner. Let’s start to declutter your time and then you can declutter the rest of your world.  

The Black Hole of Your Daily Schedule Fills Up Quickly 

January 1st- day one of a new and improved schedule. It may be a holiday, but there is no time like the present to make some positive changes. It might look like there are 12 long months and 365 days in the year, but before you know it, we will be celebrating 2024. So, holiday or not, let’s take a hard, honest look at your new calendar.  

Does the thought of your daily schedule send shivers down your spine as you try to juggle personal and professional commitments? It is easy to get overwhelmed before you even enter the first item. Just start with a few basics and it will fall into place.  

What are the things that are certain every day, especially Monday through Friday? School commitments and family and work responsibilities come to mind. Make sure you designate those for each week. If you have a work schedule that includes weekend days too, don’t forget to mark those as well. Once you have those two things figured out begin adding events you are already aware of- school vacation days, weekly staff meetings, and planned vacations or out-of-town trips.  

For school events, try to include a sports schedule with practice and game days, extracurricular activities including practices, concerts, and other performances, and parent teacher meetings and report cards. 

For work responsibilities include weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings, project deadlines, and scheduled days off or work holidays. Note your appointments for the doctor, dentist, or other commitments that may fall on a workday.  

There are also plenty of personal obligations to include like classes, workout times, and coffee with friends. And never forget to note special personal or family events like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other celebrations.  

Make Calendars a Priority 

Now that you have mapped out a significant portion of the year on your wall calendar or daily planner, take a minute to appreciate your accomplishment. What you entered might be just a framework or it may be almost all your commitments, but anything you noted that is worthy of your focus and time has laid the groundwork for a more manageable schedule.  

What are your next steps? All the information you marked on your wall calendar or daily planner is only as good as you consistently checking the entries and adhering to your schedule, albeit with some flexibility. You decide what works best for you- looking at your calendar in the morning or the night before? Or several times during the day? Once you establish this routine you will feel confident and in control of your time commitments and filling in more items will become second nature.  

The Digital Debate 

You might be wondering if a wall calendar, paper daily planner, or a paper appointment calendar are the most efficient methods for maintaining an organized schedule, especially with so many digital options available. You can’t dispute that digital calendars seem to have a lot of bells and whistles, but many people are still unabashedly loyal to paper calendars and planners and manually entering items.  

There are very good reasons to stick with tried-and-true calendars or daily planners. First, they are easily transportable, and they never need to be plugged in or charged. And no one ever complains that their wall calendar crashed! 

As visual learners, writing items in a planner reinforces the information so we incur less risk for forgetting something important. And they are flexible- we can color code, add to-do lists, and experience that very satisfying task of crossing off the things we have accomplished.  

Share the Calendar Love 

Keeping your schedule decluttered and organized does not have to be a solo project. There are many people, both personal and professional, maneuvering through your busy life. Sharing your methods for staying organized and on top of commitments can work for anyone and take some of the burden away from you. Whether it is your family or your colleagues, a united front in staying up to date by entering important items on a calendar or in a desk planner will keep everyone on an efficient path.  

So, on January 2nd will you be ready to start the new year with an organized calendar free from clutter and unnecessary items? You have your tools so get started now to keep your personal and professional schedule running like a well-oiled machine.