A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. – Annie Dillard
As soon I flip the calendar to the month of August, my thoughts turn to fall. At the drugstore, the Seasonal aisle has been cleared of sunscreen and beach toys, and shiny new school supplies line the shelves. (Why am I drawn to the teen value pack every year at Shoppers Drug Mart? I always resist buying one but, clearly, I need help.) Gone are the fashion magazines promising Frizz-Free Hair! and Bikini-Ready Body! In their place are telephone-book sized tomes guiding me through the fall collections (I’ve heard my namesake is gracing the cover of Vogue this year. Oh, let her be in Dior!) After weeks of taking it easy, my mind is starting to crave structure and routine.
Time to update the calendar.
Since I am a bone fide paper lover (Florence will be heaven), I use a paper-based system with only minimal information in my iPhone’s calendar as a back-up. After years of being a Filofax gal, I recently switched to the Whitney English Day Designer, supplemented by Lara Casey’s Powersheets (I know I talk about them a lot, but they are great if you are serious about achieving your goals this year.)
My problem is I can get so caught up in the art of organizing that I don’t actually get anything done. As Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote, “The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they’re organized for.” At some point, I need to push past the fancy paper and the colour-coded markers and focus on the content within.
When it comes to my writing work, there is nobody telling me what to do and, without a schedule linked directly to my goals, I could waste my days on Facebook and reality TV. Annie Dillard observes, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I want to publish a book that gets read, I want healthy and happy kids, I want deep relationships with my loved ones and God. And so my days need to reflect those desires.
Brian Tracy writes, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” It’s true. The trick, of course, is figuring out what’s important. August is a wonderful month to figure out what matters to you most and schedule activities to support your goals in September.
And if every week you want to reserve four hours for watching cats do stuff on YouTube, three hours for fighting with your family, and nine hours for watching old episodes of Degrassi Junior High, then, hey, who am I to judge? I’m just saying it’s a bit of a shame if you what you really wanted to do was connect with your kids, read War and Peace, and learn how to paddle board.