Last week, my oldest son started swimming lessons.
The Sunday before lessons were to begin, a reminder popped up on my calendar: “Pay Remaining Balance for Swim Lessons at [Website Address].”
This seems like a simple thing, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the power of this one simple reminder.
You see, I put this reminder in my calendar clear back in February. On the 1st of February to be exact. That was the day I signed my son up for swim lessons. And, at the time I signed him up, I asked myself, “What do I need to remember to do later on?” And, “How can I make sure the remaining to-dos get done when the time comes without having to rely on myself to remember?”
Here are the answers my brain gave me when I asked it these questions:
- Pay the remaining balance due the day before lessons start. –> Schedule reminder in calendar day before swimming lessons start. Include link needed to pay remaining balance.
- Make it so I can quickly and easily determine what we need to bring to lessons. –> Include all pertinent details in notes section of calendar event.
And then I did these two things, right then. I put everything in my calendar that I would need to know when it came time for lessons to start. And I gave myself the gift of done.
This is a habit I’ve been working on for some time now – the simple habit of putting things that I want done into my calendar, and giving them a time to be done (as opposed to just adding it to a to-do list somewhere and still feeling like “I don’t know when I’m going to get it done.”).
This habit is one of the best gifts I give not only to my current self – because I can then tell myself it will get done and I don’t have to think about it anymore – but also to my future self – who won’t have to spend any extra time thinking about this or stressing about it, and who will have everything done that needs to be done right when she wants to get it done.
No last minute scrambling.
No searching through emails to make sure I did everything I was supposed to do.
No thinking I paid the balance in full only to realize once we arrive at the first lesson that I still owe 2/3 of the amount due.
(And, by the way, I actually DID think I had paid the balance in full and we were good to go until that reminder popped up on my calendar. Ha!)
No using my precious brain power to remember all the things I need to do when I could spend that time and energy doing more important things.
When my current self benefits from my past self, it’s a beautiful thing. I take a moment to say thank you to me. 🙂
Thank you to past me for making sure it would be easy and stress-free for current me to get this done.
Truly. Because my experience used to be the complete opposite of this. There was a time when the only thing I would have put in my calendar would have been the swim lessons themselves. And then everything else would have been left in my brain…or somewhere in my email…or written down on a paper I misplaced somewhere…cause “I didn’t have a system that worked for me” and I just couldn’t seem to find a way to manage tasks that wasn’t more work than it was worth.
Now, I can see that I was over-complicating it. I didn’t need any extra apps or task management systems. My one calendar is perfect for both event AND task management.
If you find yourself constantly trying to manage to-dos in your head (perhaps even while trying out various apps and planners) because you don’t have a system that works for you, start small!
Pick a calendar system if you don’t have one already – paper or digital. I personally prefer Google Calendar. Then, start this habit today. Right now even.
You don’t need to set a big chunk of time aside or catch anything up.
Simply start adding things to your calendar as much as you can stand.
- When you think of something you want to do and you don’t want to do it right then, or when you are considering committing yourself to an event or activity, decide first whether or not it is really something you want to spend your time doing. Is it a priority to you? Is it a yes?
- If it is a yes, decide when you will do it and put it in your calendar. If it’s something quick and simple, you can create a reminder to go off at a time when you anticipate being able to do the task. If it’s something that you want to give a larger block of time, you can create an event.
- Include anything and everything you want to remember about events/activities in the notes section of your calendar appointment. Save yourself time later!
- Take a moment to schedule reminders for anything and everything else you are going to want to do related to that event. Going to a birthday party? When are you going to purchase the gift? Enrolling your child in some sort of activity or class? When are you going to fill out any associated paperwork, pay any remaining balances, or purchase any required supplies?
Once you’ve given the task TIME in your calendar, you can relax because you know it will get done and you won’t have to think about it anymore. You can say good-bye to the stress and overwhelm that comes from thinking you “don’t have time” and “don’t know when it will get done.”
AND…please know there is no right or wrong way to do this. You can do this even if you DON’T put something in your calendar the first time you think of it. You haven’t failed. Just put it in the next time you think of it. 😉
When that time comes on your calendar, prioritize that task and get it done. Know you won’t feel like it…and do it anyway.
And, if you can’t do it right then because of current circumstances, not a problem. Simply move it to the next available time slot you have to get it done and don’t make it mean anything negative about you.
Remember that you’re amazing no matter what, and you’re still going to get it done.
P.S. I am crazy passionate about coaching and teaching what I’ve learned to others. If you’d like help working through what you are experiencing in a specific situation, or if you hear your brain saying, “Ya, but…” to anything while you read this post, please shoot me a message using this form. I’d love to hear your thoughts and offer additional help if I can.
If you’d like to have a more in depth conversation with me, please book a free consult at a time that is convenient for you by clicking here. It would my pleasure to speak with you and help you move forward with your goals!