“My calendar stresses me out!!”
I have the antidote for calendar overwhelm – COLOUR-CODING!
“Isn’t ‘colouring in’ for kids?” I hear you ask. Well yes and no. It’s a cherished adult hobby these days too, for anti-anxiety and mind focus.
But can ‘colouring in’ your calendar give you the same benefits and alleviate stress?
YES IT CAN!
What is ‘Colour-Coding?’
With Google Calendar, Fantastical, ICal, or whichever one of the many powerful Calendar apps you have chosen to handle your almighty schedule, you have the option of changing the colour of each event or calendar section (personal/work etc).
“Why bother? Isn’t that just procrastinating to make your crazy busy schedule look a bit prettier?”
Don’t get me wrong – it’s super-satisfying! But colour-coding and blocking out sections on your Calendar can actually help you to identify the areas of your life where you are at ‘system overload’.
Here’s our 4 actionable steps to calendar freedom:
First things first. If you haven’t already, separate your work events from your personal ones. The beauty of the pre-mentioned calendar software, is that you have the option to create as many Calendar categories as you want. Think of it as making different lists to compartmentalise your life.
Particularly when you’re Self-employed or a business owner, or if you now work full time from home, the work/life hours and tasks can get so easily mixed up. Making it really difficult to ever truly ‘switch off’.
Like many overwhelming tasks for our digital lives, start small.
Begin by separating into 2 categories:
If you want to get more specific at this stage that’s ok – whatever works for you without the dreaded overwhelm.
You could further categorise into:
- Self Care and Wellness
Whatever makes sense to you to start seeing a clear visual divide between work and life.
Now that you’ve decided on your categories, create new calendars within your Master calendar and label them, and this is the fun part….
Choosing your colours!!
I like to start with all work based events as green, social as blue, birthdays as pink ….. you get the picture – I’m building a rainbow!
This first visual separation should really start to relax your mind.
Now we get specific ….
So lets use your work calendar as the example, and this will cross over to all your other categories.
It might be that you’ve time blocked your full working day as a whole. Depending on the nature of your job, you might have blocked out 9am – 5pm on a daily basis, or if you’re a business owner, self-employed or working freelance hours for example the blocks for work may be a little more spread out across the day.
Once you’ve set the hours you want to be working (or more importantly the hours you DON’T want to be working) it’s time to break it down even further and get those colour tools ready ….
Break it down
Identify which overall work areas need doing in that time. (You don’t want to get too nitty gritty or task specific at this point – just a general time block of what needs to be done)
So for example:
- Travel time
- Marketing content creation
- Blog/newsletter writing
- Social media management and engagement
- Website management
- Client calls
- Creative time or business growth strategy work
- Bookkeeping and finance
Create a colour code for each time block and add an estimated duration for each.
Are you starting to feel panicky? Wondering how you actually fit this all in??
Time to review!!
For a couple of weeks you’ll want to review your calendar at the end of each day.
‘Did I do everything I had intended?’
‘Did I complete each section in the time I allocated?’
If you over or underestimated the duration make sure you adjust it on your calendar to create a true visual picture of your working week.
Now we assess.
- How do you feel by the end of the week?
- Do you feel under accomplished because you struggled to get it all done?
- Do you feel guilty because you couldn’t manage to get to the gym thanks to your over-crammed day? (Gym, Greggs – same thing right?!)
Take a good look at those colour blocks. Are there any colour blocks you can remove and give to someone else to do, to free up even just 1 precious hour of your day?
It’s time to delegate
As a business owner myself, I know that I can’t do it all and feasibly grow at the rate I want to whilst actually living in the present too.
It’s too much.
That’s why I delegate the tasks that don’t align with my skillset to our Virtual Assistants.
Now you’ve decided which colour blocks you could let go of, try deleting them and watch the blank empty space appear.
How does it feel?
I’m going to take a guess and say RELIEF!
If you want to action that feeling, with an agency such as My Freelance Admin you can hire by the hour to free up your precious time, without the financial commitment of an employee. We have VAs with all different skillsets to match any task you want to offload.
“Won’t that eat into my profits? What if I can’t afford it?”
You can answer this question yourself by looking back at those blank, empty white spaces on your calendar and ask yourself:
What you could do with this time?
Work on your products? Focus on Sales? Build your Customer base? Or just relax and have a long hot bath with a glass of wine …..