That was click baity, sorry. But I do want to come clean about something.
Friends have teased me for YEARS about the role freakin’ Google Calendar plays in my life. When I was younger, single, and car-less in Anchorage I’d ride my bike all up and down town to go from this event to that party to Title Wave to play Scrabble with friends and old ladies. My dance card was full, all the time. How’d I manage all of it, you ask?
Why, my Google Calendar, of course.
That was when the cracks started. “Alli, is there room on your calendar? Alli, I know if it’s not on your calendar it isn’t happening.”
Over the years, as coping strategies tend to, this relationship has, shall we say, evolved. It’s not just one or two levels of calendar anymore – say, personal and work. I have a training calendar that I change the title of depending on the race I’m working toward, I have a shared layer for my husband’s personal and work calendar, plus several different layers of work (my work calendar plus the “out of office” calendar). Then, there’s my art calendar, which has taken on special significance in recent months.
You see, my calendar is an extension of my brain. It’s actually a little terrifying. There is NO WAY the motherboard of my somewhat scattered, easily distracted (squirrel!) brain could manage all of the things I’m supposedly doing in any one week. So I use the calendar to block off time: to tell me where and when to do the thing; where and when to be.
Yes, I even schedule relaxing. Some nights I’m “busy” when that just means I’m staring at my navel and/or watching terrible television, or whatever drone thing I want to do. Baking in that “power down” time where I don’t need to focus, plan, or accomplish is part of how I stay sane throughout all the other things I want to do!
The benefits of my calendar are, of course, that I have an ongoing tool to keep myself accountable to my own goals and benchmarks; and that the time itself is baked in to my week. That means I have to make fewer decisions in the moment because prior-self already made the choice for me. Monday nights are painting; Tuesdays are for client prospecting meetings, Thursday afternoons/evenings are writing and administrative, etc, ec. My job is just to buckle down and, oh I don’t know, actually do the work.
The downside can be that my schedule can feel packed and, at times, rigid. Again, it’s a line to walk – I find that my calendar is a great tool for discipline and putting energy where it actually matters; but things in life change so I also need to be adaptable. In case you didn’t pick up on this by now, I’m not the most fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person so it can take me a minute to adjust to change. But when I’ve had a chance to rearrange things in my head I am able to change course.
But that calendar. I’m telling you. It’s where my brain lives. It’s how I set myself a track and stay on it. Someday when we all go back to analogue I’ll be fine with the slower, more deliberate pacing – I’m probably best suited to that anyway – but for the time being if I gotta keep up and keep myself going, this is the best tool I’ve found to manage it and stay sane.