I was looking at my calendar the other day and it’s loaded with things like meetings, lunches, conference calls, article deadlines and doctor/dentist appointments. I put those things on my calendar for one very important reason: If it’s on my calendar, it gets done.
If I schedule a meeting, I’m there five minutes early. If I have a lunch appointment with you, don’t expect to get stood up. If I tell my trainer I’ll be there at 4 o’clock on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then the gym bag is packed and in the car on those days.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Most people are disciplined with the things on their calendar. As I thought about that, it occurred to me: Why don’t we schedule our fun stuff? Too often in life we have hopes, plans and dreams that we want to pursue, but they get crowded out by the tyranny of the urgent. In a cruel bit of cognitive dissonance, we pack our schedules with all the things that we HAVE to do, and then try to fit the things that we WANT to do somewhere in the cracks.
What if you started scheduling the good stuff? What if you actually blocked out time on your calendar for a date night with your spouse, time with your kids, time to read, time to learn a new hobby, time to go for a walk or time to take a trip? My guess is that if it was on your calendar, you’d treat it like all of your other appointments and actually show up to do it. Not only that, but you would gradually get better at using your time to accomplish the things that you wanted to in life, which is a skill that will come in handy during retirement.
Year End Review
While we’re on the topic of using our time wisely, I wanted to point you to a few articles in the Intentional Retirement Archives. As many of you know, I spend time each December thinking about the past year and planning for the next. You can read about the process I use in these two articles:
I’d encourage you to set aside some time this month to think about the coming year. Whether you follow my process or create one of your own, don’t underestimate the importance of planning. The type of life you want to live—one filled with meaning, accomplishment, and purpose—does not happen by accident. You need to be intentional.
Have a great weekend!