Ignite the power in your calendar

I used to be a production manager which meant I knew how to look at a project, make a production schedule, get it on a calendar and figure out what needed to happen when. In fact, I loved doing that. But for my own projects, I’m one of the cobbler’s children. I make better calendars and schedules for others than I do for myself.

So, I did something radical a few weeks ago. I hired a production manager to sit with me and review my entire project list. After our meeting, I went to Office Depot and purchased a yearlong calendar. Then, armed with colored post-its I laid out all my projects onto the calendar. I included everything: the magazine articles I promised to write, the blog posts, the deadlines for my big writing project and on and on.

Now, I’m reaping the joys of the power of a calendar. It’s the power of seeing a whole year laid out in front of me, not in my head, not in a teeny notebook or computer screen but big and in the real world hanging from the back of my office door.

Try this! Get a calendar for the rest of 2013. Layout your plans – the ones you know you have to do and the ones you want to do. Then work back from your deadlines. If the final project is due in December, what needs to happen by the end of November and by the end of October? Work each one back until you’re down to today. What do you need to do today to reach your beautiful goals by end of the year?

When I coach artists, this is how we use the power of the calendar. How have you used this power? What would move you to spend time this weekend working your big calendar?

I think the reason many of us don’t work the calendar is a fear of commitment or a fear of seeing how short a half year really is or a fear of seeing that you might not make it. But maybe it’s also a fear of seeing that you might make it. Or that to make it you need to drop some other things you’re working on. You may need to say “no,” you may need to claim your space, your time and your vision and disappoint some people.

In the next week, I encourage you to work your calendar. By the end of next week, 2013 will be half over. Let that fact inspire you to make the most of the six months you still have. What matters most? Where do you want to be by New Year’s Eve 2014?