167 Having a Full Schedule Doesn’t Equal a Full Life
I'm always surprised when people look at my weekly planner and see how much white space is in there. To the outside world, I appear to be a highly productive person. But the fact is, I have a lot of free time on my calendar. That's because I prioritize the things that are most important to me. And I've realized that a full calendar or full schedule does not necessarily mean that you have a full life.
In fact, sometimes it can mean the opposite. If you're constantly overbooked, over-scheduled, and over-exhausted, it's time to take a step back and assess what's really important to you. That way, you can fill your life with the things that bring you joy and make you feel accomplished, content and satisfied.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. How my schedule looks more blank than you think
2. The importance of removing things from your calendar that don't fill you up.
3. The benefits of having large chunks of time in your life that are not full.
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Hey there. So whenever someone gets the opportunity to look at my actual weekly plan, they're often times surprised by how much white space is in there. Meaning they always say, well, I thought I'd see a lot more stuff on there, because from the outside looking in, I do appear to be a highly productive person. The external definition of productivity. But the fact of the matter is, I have a lot of white space on my calendar.
What goes on there are the things that are most important to me. And I wanted to use that example here as we kick off today's conversation around how we measure how full our life is. Because what we're going to be talking about today is the fact that a full calendar or full schedule does not necessarily mean that you have a full life. And for me, I know the better I get at removing things from my calendar from my schedule, the more full my life actually becomes. So let's go ahead and jump in.
Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the Top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife, and just like you, I'm juggling hashtags all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what?
You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity so you can have Worklife Harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you.
And if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my Work Life Harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram at Megan Sumrell with the word Harmony, and my team will send it right over.
Hey. Welcome back to work life. Harmony. Today's episode is going to be a fairly short one because it is a very specific point that I want to leave you with that I want you to really spend some time thinking about. You may have seen from the title of this episode.
What we're going to be talking about today is the relationship of having a full life to having a full schedule. And I don't remember where exactly this nugget dropped into. I've been lulling on it for quite some time, but I feel like the world in which we live in and also based on numerous conversations I have with the hundreds of women inside of my top program, is this need or this pressure that we put on ourselves internally, and we also allow in externally to fill up our calendar. And this manifests ultimately in us being constantly overbooked, over scheduled and over, exhausted. And then we take a step back and if we're really honest with ourselves and we realize maybe this is not like a joy filled existence anymore, it is constantly in motion from one have to to another.
And we wonder why. Because we're like, I have a full calendar. Why do I not feel full and complete on the inside? So if this is resonating with you, I want to share with you today kind of an exercise that you can go through to help you get that more in alignment. Because I know for myself there is a certain point at which if my schedule or my calendar gets any more full, it is diminishing returns.
But on the flip side, there are things that bring me pleasure, that bring me joy, that do fill me up, that I want to make sure take a priority on my calendar. Now, what level of a full schedule you need to maintain in your life to feel like you have a whole life is going to be completely unique for you, right? And that's going to be based on your personality type. There are some people that thrive with lots of if you want to, just nuts and bolts of it, more extroverted type, where it really fills them up to have a lot of external activities versus other people who that will lead to overwhelm and then kind of people anywhere in between that. So here's what I want you to do.
First of all, without looking at your calendar, your schedule or whatever, take some time when you are well rested, quiet and relaxed and have a conversation with yourself, focused on understanding. At the end of each day, how do you tend to go to bed feeling? Do you go to bed feeling accomplished, content, satisfied? Or do you go to bed just thankful that the day is over and maybe even a little worried about the next day? I have lived on both sides of this and I see time and time again with women that I meet.
A vast majority of them are living today in Morphe, going to bed exhausted and like, here we go again tomorrow. What we want to do is shift the pendulum to the other side where the vast majority of our days are ending, where we are going to bed feeling accomplished, content and satisfied. So if you are not in that place today, then it is time for you to go look at your calendar. And what we want to do is just analyze the last week. That's it.
So whether you're using a Google Calendar, a paper planner, maybe you even need to go look in a couple places. Because what we want to do is we want to go back and look at how did you spend your time all of the previous week. And as you're analyzing that, we just want to label everything on there as a thumbs up or a thumbs down, thumbs up. Meaning what were the things on your calendar that lit you up, that when you saw that appointment, you're like, yes. Or that task that you did that made you feel so great, versus what were the things on your calendar that was a, oh, my God, I don't want to do this, but I have to.
The thing that maybe sucked the life out of you, the thing that you avoided doing but felt like you should have done, and that's all we're going to do. We're not going to create a ranking scale, just a thumbs up and a thumbs down. The next step is, once you've done that for the last week, is to take an honest assessment at what percentage of your time was spent in thumbs up and what percentage of your time was spent in thumbs down. Now, you don't have to get add up every minute and do the actual mathematical equation for the percentages. You should be able to visually start to see this.
So if you were to see on Monday, wow, look at that. I spent my entire morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon doing things that were thumb down. That means that you probably have 60% of your day and the things that do not fill you up versus maybe you look at a day and you're like, oh my gosh, I did five things that day, and all of that, I went to bed that night feeling amazing. Once you've gotten that kind of analysis of the time, now we need to take the final step, which is looking at the things that we put a thumbs down on and start having a HeartToHeart conversation with ourselves of, why are they on my calendar? And more importantly, are there things that I can do to get them off?
Meaning, is it something I just need to start saying no to? Is it something I got shoulder into? Is it something that I don't enjoy doing, but I've never explored the option of outsourcing or getting help or maybe sharing the responsibility with somebody else? Is it something that you're just doing because you've always been the one to do it, or it's always been done this way and you haven't taken a step back to say, hang on, do I still need to be doing this? Because at the heart of everything that I teach and work with on women is getting you back in control of your calendar again, putting you in the driver's seat of what you say yes and no to, and really understanding what those boundaries need to be.
Because it is very, very rare for me to meet someone where truly a full schedule equals a full, satisfied, content life. For most of us, we do need space and time on our calendar to live in the moment, to have the flexibility and the freedom to decide what to do, and to have a wide-open Saturday with nothing on our calendar, right? To then live in the moment and go do something that we are inspired to do. So if you are feeling pressure to make every minute count or have every second of your day being captured in something that somebody else on the outside looking in might consider productive, please know you deserve to have the control and the freedom to intentionally have large chunks of time in your life, your calendar, in your schedule that are not full in order for you to truly live a full life. Now, again, this balance of what this is going to look like, that ratio is going to be different for everybody and it also will change with the seasons of life as well that you are in.
You may find sometimes you're in a season of life where there is more on your schedule and it is bringing you joy. And you may find there are seasons of life where there is less on your schedule and that is bringing you joy as well. But I just want to encourage you all listening here today to not measure the fullness, the abundance of your life by how full your calendar is, all right? Because that is not going to be a true representation. Have a fantastic week.
I'll see you guys back here again next week. Getting on top of all things time management, organization, and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one, tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the App Store or Google Play, and download the Pink B app. It's one word. The pink b.
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