One of the most soul-satisfying things I’ve ever done was to release all of the superfluous things from my life so I could make room for my soul to breathe.
For years (and years and years and …), I filled my day with activities just so I felt productive. At the time, I wasn’t making much money, didn’t have very many clients, and lacking in direction, I decided the best strategy was to fill my calendar with things I thought would be useful.
So I wrote web copy, over and over again.
I designed my website, over and over again.
And I stared at my computer until I was blurry eyed, just because it made me feel like I was doing something.
Transitioning Out of Busy-ness
Not all people’s version of busy-ness looks like mine did.
Some people say yes to every invitation they receive, without stopping to think about the long-term impact, so they end up with a totally full calendar that leaves no room for writing that book they want to write.
Other people just work on legitimate projects for hours on end, skipping lunch, then working late into the night and putting aside what they truly desire for a “better time.”
It’s an addiction for some, a guilt response for others, and even a badge of honor to fill your calendar
But when done chronically, it’s toxic.
So if you’re in the midst of your own unrelenting busy-ness, think about doing a calendar detox.
Spring Cleaning Your Calendar
For the past several months, I’ve been helping my clients restructure their lives so they have more “me” time and less “we” time, meaning the time during which they put everyone else first.
We start with a blank calendar, no numbers, no days, nothing. It’s like a fresh, clean slate.
Then we write Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday across the top.
The next step is the most important one. We contemplate what they really want to accomplish: what is their heart’s desire? To write a book? To start a new program?
Whatever it is, this is the first thing scheduled in their calendar. Not necessarily first thing in the morning, but we make sure there is room for it on the calendar. It might be to write for an hour every morning.
The following step is to create a rhythm so everything is predictable. I love to be spontaneous, but when my calendar is chaos, I can’t be. So the irony for me is that I need a solid, repeatable, predictable structure so I can be as spontaneous as I want to be. I recommend the same for you.
My calendar looks like this:
I work with my clients on the mornings of the first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month as well as the third Tuesday and Wednesday of the month. In the afternoon of those days, I schedule calls with prospective clients. I also set aside Thursdays for unexpected calls. That leaves Monday and Friday of those weeks with unstructured time, as well as the entire second and fourth weeks during which I write my blog/newsletter posts, do things like social media, and go to lunch with friends.
This rhythm works well for me because at any time I can hop in our Sportsmobile and take off for a long weekend. Or I can spend that time writing or creating art and doing things that will help me connect with prospective clients.
I love my schedule and encourage you to experiment with a schedule that works well for you.
Dealing with Calendar Detoxing
The funny thing about this process is that as my clients’ calendars started to reflect their decision to release the superfluous stuff so they could experience the spaciousness they desired, it made them nervous!
They felt guilty, like they weren’t doing something they were supposed to be doing.
They felt anxious, because they were afraid they wouldn’t make as much money as they had been making or because it felt like the world might fall apart because they weren’t holding it together.
As I observe the calendar detox process, it’s become clear to me that women fill their calendars because on some level they feel like they are not deserving of “me” time, so this transition to a more spacious calendar is not as simple as it seems.
There is a lot of inner angst that can accompany it, but it’s worth confronting it, it’s worth moving through it, especially with my help, because eventually, if you confront it head on, it begins to dissipate and you end up sliding into the groove of wholeness that is more healthy for your soul.
This is a transition from a masculine to a feminine way of working, and it is far more peaceful and healthy for women. It also makes life more meaningful and fun.
I highly recommend you do a calendar cleanse and if you need my help, let’s talk.