How to Prioritize Using Separate Calendars

1.

The first step is to get your calendars and planner. I use a traditional calendar and a dry erase calendar. You can use whatever combination works for you, and most calendars that aren't overly fancy are not expensive. You also need a small to medium size planner/agenda book that you can carry around with you when you are not at home, and appropriate writing utensils for all of the above.

2.

Post your calendars close to each other in a place that is easy for you to access and see. For example, if you have a wide desk, placing your calendars behind it may be a bad idea because you'll get frustrated trying to lean over your desk to reach them. Find a nice open wall near your work space.

3.

The purpose of the planner/agenda book is so that you have a place to record things you need to do when you are away from home, and therefore away from your calendars. Carry this book and something to write with at all times during the day. This is an especially helpful tip for college, where unless you're truly exceptional you will not remember all of your assignments without writing them down. Whenever you discover a new to-do item, write it in your book on the appropriate day. Due dates, deadlines, appointments, anything of that nature.

4.

The next step - surprise! - is writing down fun activities. Does it suddenly occur to you that you want to take up kite flying? Write it down. Someone invites you on a hot date? Write it down. Remember that fun and relaxation are as important to your health and well-being as work!

5.

When you get home, the next thing to do is separate the things you've written in your planner onto your calendars. Choose one as your Work Calendar and record all work-related activities, tasks, etc. on the appropriate days. Then, use the other calendar as your Fun Calendar and write down all the things you WANT to do. The fun stuff! The spice of life!

6.

The purpose of using these calendars is to help you visualize the difference between what needs to be done and what you want to do, so that you can do work first and play later. Having a Fun Calendar in addition to the standard to-do list type calendar also reminds you that you did have fun last week at that party, because when you're bogged down in work it's easy to forget that you ever had time to do anything else. Reflecting on your Fun Calendar will remind you of the good times you've had and let you look forward to that next shindig or kite-flying session. Enjoy the peace of mind this simple strategy brings!

Tips and Warnings

  • Your calendars could be as simple as computer printouts and your planner could just as easily be a 99-cent notebook. This does not have to be expensive or complicated by any means.
  • Sometimes spur of the moment fun happens. Why not record this on your Fun Calendar too, so that you can recall it later for a smile at work?
  • If you know you're a procrastinator, it is very important to find a way to stop procrastinating. This strategy may be helpful, and you may also want to research other methods of fighting procrastination.
  • If you feel like you can barely keep track of what needs to be done from day to day, you're not alone. It can be difficult for anyone to get work done and still have time for fun. Here in 2010 we are very busy people, but as humans we have needs for both work and play. Here's how to set your priorities straight using two calendars - yes, two.