187 Spring Cleaning Part 2: Your Calendar and Task List
Taking time to spring clean your calendar is the number one way to really start to free up more of your time. Last week we talked about some simple things to spring clean your house. Today, I'm sharing how to spring clean the stuff you CAN'T see!
Tune in to revamp your calendar for a fresh, focused mindset and heightened productivity, and uncover how to optimize daily habits by monitoring time usage.
In this episode, you will:
1. Learn key strategies for eliminating clutter through the keep, toss, and outsource methods.
2. Grasp the importance of emphasizing crucial tasks for Work+Life Harmony.
3. Discover the One Notebook Challenge and its role in streamlining organization.
If you had to collect multiple notebooks to "spring Clean"...I have great news! The One Notebook Challenge is coming and it's FREE! Sign up here www.megansumrell.com/one-notebook
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00:00:00 Alright, welcome back to our spring cleaning little miniseries. Here our two parter. This week, I'm going to be talking about how to spring clean your calendar, which is like spring cleaning information, right? It's the stuff that we don't physically see, but man, if we're not careful, things can get out of control, completely cluttered, and we find that we're hanging on to things that are consuming our time when it is really time to spring clean it and let it go. So that's what today's kind of part two of our spring cleaning conversation is.
00:00:32 And definitely stay tuned to the end. I have some super exciting news about a completely free event coming up that is going to blow your mind. So let's get started.
00:00:45 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 #allthethings while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what?
00:01:02 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 and organization, to skyrocket your productivity so you can have Work + Life Harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you.
00:01:26 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 @MeganSumrell with the word Harmony, and my team will send it right over.
00:01:40 Welcome back to the Work + Life Harmony podcast. This week's episode is actually going to be a part two of what we talked about last week all around spring cleaning. So if you remembered, if you didn't catch it, you can go back and listen to it. Last week, we talked part one about just some basic tips and thoughts around spring cleaning, the physical stuff in your home. This week I want to talk about spring cleaning, the things we don't see, and we're really going to lean into how to spring clean your calendar.
00:02:10 All right, but before we dive into how to spring clean, specifically your calendar, I want to take a couple of minutes and talk about spring cleaning information first. And you may be thinking, how the heck do you spring clean information? Now, when I talk about information, I am talking about the nonstop real or ticker tape of thoughts, ideas, things you're trying to remember, all of that that so many women struggle with that is constantly going on in between your ears, right? The things that as you're in the car, you're all sudden going, oh, I got to remember this. Or the things that wake you up at 02:00 at night or the ideas that you're like, oh, I just heard there was three things I was trying to remember.
00:02:52 What are they? If you are in that place where you still feel like there's just this nonstop conversation or rolling task list going on in between your ears, this is a sign for you. This is not a one time spring clean activity. So what most people will do is tell you, oh, you just got to go do a brain dump, all right? Sit down and write down everything that's on your brain, get it onto a piece of paper and that will free up your mental space.
00:03:21 Now, they are true in saying that it absolutely will. But guess what? You're going to find yourself right back in that same place the next day, the next week, the next month. If you don't have the actual systems and processes in place for then where that spring clean of information goes that feeds into your daily living. Now, I cannot cover all of that here in the podcast.
00:03:52 That really is what my top planning system is all about. It teaches you everything that you need to know to have those repeatable systems and processes in place to prevent you from being in that place where you feel like you need to be brain dumping every single day. All right? So I just kind of wanted to touch on that before we dive into how to spring clean your calendar, which is, let's face it, another source of information, right? And this is something that I encourage people to do more than just once a year, all right?
00:04:27 This is not just a spring cleaning activity. This is something that I personally do every quarter and it's something that I teach all the women in my plan of Palooza to keep an eye on often as well. So here's what I want you to do. I want you to go grab whatever you use today to track your information, to track your appointments, namely, how are you spending your time? All right?
00:04:54 So it might be a paper planner, maybe it's the top planner. It might be a Google Calendar, it might be your ical, a digital planner, wherever it is that you hopefully have a way to go back and look and see how have I been spending my time? Where is my time going? Now if you don't have a calendar like this, we'll get to that here after I walk through this process of spring cleaning your calendar. So I go back and I'm always looking back.
00:05:23 If I were to do this now for the first time, I would encourage you to go look back over the last twelve months and kind of either flip through or click through and look at how you've been spending your time. What appointments are on your calendar, what committees or groups are you in? What about work? What about activities? Appointments?
00:05:41 All of that. And then you're going to just grab a piece of paper and you're going to mark it with three columns. There's going to be a keep column, a toss column, and an outsource column. So as I go back and review how I've been spending my time, what I want to do is make a note of when I see things that I had had appointments for, et cetera, is I'm asking myself, is this something that I want to continue to invest my precious time in? And it's something that I, Megan, am the person that needs to do.
00:06:15 So if I see something like that, I'm going to write it in the keep column. So some examples in my life there could be like right now, I've shared, I started taking cello lessons. So that's something I want to keep. That's something I'm doing. It's taking up my time.
00:06:28 I want to keep spending time on my calendar doing that. Now, there are also household things that I want to keep doing. There are things for the business that I enjoy that take my time that I want to keep doing. Now, there may be some things on there that I don't love doing, but I know I'm still the one person to do those. And so I'm going to put those in the keep calendar because it's worth it for me to continue to do those.
00:06:49 Now let's talk about the toss versus the outsource. As you're going back and looking at how you've been spending your time, you may find that you have been spending a significant amount of time, or even maybe just 1 hour a week, potentially being part of an organization. Or a group or a committee or something, that when you really sit back and look at it, you realize this is no longer serving me. I know I've kind of spent time in and out of different groups of people, whether they are networking, whether they are business, whether they're educational, personal, whatever, which were a great fit. But then suddenly I find looking back and realizing, you know what, this isn't serving me anymore.
00:07:32 And I could free up some time by saying, I am ready to toss that from my calendar. All right? So those are the kinds of things that a way to help you understand if it's something you may want to toss is when you see that appointment pop up on your calendar, do you kind of grown an eye roll? Right? That's a definite sign that this is something that we want to look at either potentially tossing or let's talk about the third court category, outsourcing.
00:07:57 We all have things in our lives that are a yes, this has to get done, but if we get really creative, we may be able to find ways where it doesn't have to be done by us. All right? And that's what that outsource bucket is for. Now, please know when I talk about outsourcing, and I've shared this on other podcast episodes. It doesn't mean something that you truly have to spend money on.
00:08:23 Right. We can outsource in a variety of creative ways. It can be other members of our household stepping up and kind of contributing a little bit more. It might be swapping something for something else, like maybe you have a friend or a family member that you can say, hey, I don't mind doing this other thing, but I really don't like this. Do you want to trade?
00:08:42 It could also be a trade and services carpooling is a perfect example. Right. So at this point with your spring cleaning, we're not trying to figure out the how of the outsourcing, but what we want to do is make that conscious awareness in our calendar of how have we been spending our time, what do we want to keep, what do we want to toss, what do we want to outsource? Now, when we think about physical, this is kind of similar to, let's say you're cleaning out a closet, which we talked about in the last episode, where you've got, these are the things in my closet I want to keep. These are the things that are it's time to toss them.
00:09:20 The shirt has 20 holes in it. I need to toss it. It's time to get rid of it. Versus the category of a donation, right. Where you yourself are you're not throwing it away yet, but you yourself are not owning it anymore.
00:09:33 That's kind of what we're thinking about with that outsourcing. Now, once you've gone through that spring cleaning exercise, you have two homework assignments. The first one is anything that was in the toss category. You now need to go make sure that you put in place whatever needs to happen to remove this from your calendar. It might be calling someone and saying, thank you, I'm not going to be coming anymore.
00:09:59 It might be removing yourself from a membership. It might be unsubscribing to emails. Whatever it is, even if it feels uncomfortable, the only way we're going to toss it is by cutting ties with it and saying, I'm not allowing this activity to take up space on my calendar anymore. All right. And then with the outsource now is when we start to get really creative on how we can start to get things off of our ownership and onto others.
00:10:30 Now, I have a previous podcast episode where I really take a deep dive in thinking about different ways to get things from your to do list over to your to don't list. So I don't want to repeat all of those here today, but I do want you to pick one thing from the outsource column after you have spring cleaned your calendar, that you're going to make the commitment to actually get a plan in place to start getting in motion of outsourcing. This, whether it's trading with a friend, whether it's delegating to a family member, whether maybe it is saving up money to actually pay for outsourcing. All right, what happens so often is because we don't ever see an instant solution in the here and now of today. We just assume that it can't change.
00:11:24 But getting awareness is the first step of understanding what is it that I would like to get off of my calendar and truly spring clean out? And then how do I start taking steps towards making that happen? Just as if you have maybe a health or fitness goal. As much as I would love to say, I ate one salad, why am I not healthy? Right.
00:11:49 It's getting the awareness and then the plan in place. It may take you several weeks or months to get it fully outsourced, but you have to take that first step. So if you've never thought of really thinking about how to spring clean your calendar, namely how to spring clean your time, I really want you to start to consider what this is going to look like for you. Right. It really is no different than how we tackle spring cleaning our physical stuff.
00:12:23 Because whether we're going through a closet, a pantry, the junk drawer, or whatever, we are deciding, what am I keeping, what am I throwing away, what is it that maybe, yeah, this needs to be I can't throw it away, but I don't want it being put right back into the same place. Right. The same applies with our time. What things do we want to keep on our calendar? What things do we want to continue to invest our precious time in?
00:12:50 What things are no longer worthy of our time and need to get tossed? And then what things are yeah, we need to keep around. But either it doesn't have to be my time, maybe it can be less of my time. Maybe I can go move it somewhere else, namely in the place of somebody else. Now, taking time to do that instead.
00:13:11 So spring cleaning your calendar is the number one way to really start to free up more of your time, to be able to focus on the things that are on the Keep column, which is what we want. Or even more importantly, to free up time to bring some of those things off of our I Really Want to List back into play again. Now, I mentioned when I started this that I would touch on what you can do if you don't have a calendar that you can go back on to gain some awareness on how you're spending your time today to truly spring clean. So if this is you, here's what you're going to do. You're going to spend the next month yes, an entire month, actually keeping track of how you're spending your time.
00:13:58 Okay. The reason I say a month instead of a week is we need to capture those things that are maybe the monthly meeting or the things that we only do twice a month. If you run a traditional time audit, the way I teach in the top program, that's one week. That's not going to be enough for a spring cleaning exercise. All right?
00:14:19 So if you don't have a calendar that you can go back and look to see how you've been spending your time, you're going to want to actually track it for the next month. And then at the end of the month, go back and analyze how your time has been spent. And then you can create your keep your toss and your outsource buckets. Again, this is an exercise I personally do every quarter. I think a lot of people think about this at the start of the new year, but they don't do something as actionable as what I've shared here today.
00:14:50 But I think that spring is a perfect time to do this for the first time because typically we are kind of energized and we get that bug to clean things out and to simplify and dust off the cobwebs and launch into new things and all of that. So hopefully this is something that you all are going to go through and you'll be able to free up some of your own time. Now, I do want to touch on something I'm really excited about. If as you go through your spring cleaning or whether it's physical or information if you find that you are someone that has notebooks or pads of paper or sticky notes in multiple places in your home, your car, your purse, et cetera. And maybe you're discovering that as you are spring cleaning physical things.
00:15:40 Or maybe you're discovering it as you go to do that spring cleaning of information, and you're realizing, I got to go pull together these eight different notebooks for me to understand how I've been spending my time. I have really exciting news for you. One of the workshops that I have run just a few times now live, that everybody loves and they're always asking when I'm going to do it again is called the One Notebook Challenge. And I have very exciting news because we are bringing the One Notebook Challenge back. It is going to be a completely free event.
00:16:17 It's just three days long. It's all online again, doesn't cost you a dime. And I am going to be sharing with you how you can stay completely organized and also keep yourself out of that state of needing to do constant brain dumps to free up your space. But you're going to do it with one and only one notebook. If this sounds mind-blowing to you, I promise you it is so elegantly simple that it's going to blow your mind.
00:16:49 So stay tuned. We've got information about the One Notebook Challenge coming out soon, and you are going to have a blast. So happy spring cleaning.
00:17:01 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 Bee app, one word ThePinkBee. It is jampacked with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony.
00:17:25 And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review.