Updated: Feb 15, 2022
In this article series, we have taken proactive action to create a successful business and personal life for you. Today, we will talk about your calendar, including the differences between an ideal and an intentional calendar. Before I dive into explaining the two, I want to point out that everyone has a slightly different explanation of these definitions. I will share mine with you and provide you with the tools you need to create them.
What is an Ideal Calendar vs. Intentional Calendar?
I define Ideal Calendars as calendars designed for a utopia. They are the type of calendars that work when absolutely everything goes your way, and there are zero malfunctions, delays, or miscommunications. You may already be thinking, "Julie, how is this realistic?" In all reality, it's not, but it isn’t supposed to be. An Ideal Calendar is what you want to aspire to achieve; it is a wish.
The most important aspect to remember about Ideal Calendars is that they are nearly impossible to complete, and they should instead be used as a guide to help you plan your days. When making an Ideal Calendar, you include everything you want to achieve during that week from all aspects of your life, including your business needs, meals, exercise, self-care, chores, etc. After you have created that Ideal Calendar, you can mesh it with an Intentional Calendar, which I will explain in a moment.
Intentional Calendars, for me, are the realistic representation of what you plan to accomplish that month, week, or day. They allow you wiggle room for error, the ability to make schedule changes, and a driven process to ensure that you complete all the necessary "to-dos" before anything else. The bonus of using an intentional calendar is its flexibility while still pushing you to meet all of your tasks.
Should I Use an Ideal Calendar or an Intentional Calendar?
Personally, I find Ideal Calendars to be disheartening. If I don’t manage to check off everything on my list, it can leave me disappointed in myself. But it’s not that way for everyone. Everyone's brain functions differently; so, I can't tell you what will work best for you; only you can do that. However, I can tell you what I recommend doing.
I recommend creating a weekly Ideal Calendar outline. In this weekly calendar, you will include everything we said above. Schedule everything you would want to complete on a routine weekly basis.
Please note that this should be reoccurring events and tasks only, such as Monday board meetings, Tuesday social media scheduling, Wednesday coaching sessions, Thursday yoga, and Friday date night. Don’t include special events or one-off tasks here; we will get to those in a moment.
Now that you have Ideal Calendar, you put the Intentional Calendar over the top and adjust your Ideal Calendar to fit your Intentional Calendar. For example, you may need to move your Tuesday social media scheduling to Thursday morning before yoga class because you have a dentist appointment. Or maybe you skip Friday date night to attend your son's soccer game with your spouse instead. Once you have your one-off changes adjusted, you can fill in all the little tasks into the intentional calendar's empty space to address as many tasks from your utopia calendar as possible while still being flexible and realistic.
The 80/20 Rule for Productivity
The 80/20 Rule for Productivity states that 80% of your results stem from 20% of your efforts. Essentially, the first 20% of your time on a task yields 80% of the results. Thus, the logic follows that the second 20% yields 10% of the results, the third 20% brings in around 3%, and…well…the last two 20%s bring in even less.
What does this mean? This rule is essentially a guideline to encourage you to do your most important (or result-driven) work first thing; that first 20% of your time. Your most challenging and most important tasks should be addressed when your mind is at its strongest. As you lose focus or get tired, you can switch to less critical tasks requiring minimal brainpower and effort.
80/20 Rule Example
Take, for example, a remote accountant; let’s name her Penny. Penny has the following tasks to complete today: make an appointment with a new client, schedule social media posts, reconcile a client’s books, and do laundry. Keeping that 80/20 Rule in mind, I would recommend she schedule her tasks like this:
1. Reconcile a client’s books
2. Schedule social media posts
3. Make an appointment with a new client
4. Do laundry
By starting with the hardest tasks first, Penny can get them out of the way, and when her brain is fried, she can still easily make an appointment and do laundry.
Use Time Blocking for Best Results
Now, 20% of your time isn’t all that much. In a ten-hour day, that's only two hours. So, what do you do if you have multiple projects or one big project that requires many hours of effort? I recommend working on it in pieces. Instead of working on it one day for 6 hours, chunk it into 2-hour time blocks a day over three days. By doing this, you can put your best foot forward each day and not burn out. It will sustain a high-quality performance that will please your clients and keep you sane.
Time blocking is a handy tool to apply to your schedule. Whether you are working on a single task or multiple similar tasks, it helps you to remain focused and spend less time flitting from task to task.
Go Confidently with your Calendar
Do you need assistance in creating a manageable calendar that addresses both your ideal goals and your intentional activities? Go Confidently Coaching is here to help. Book a Free Discovery Call with me today to discuss where you are falling short, how you can improve, and what tools I can provide you to become a more organized and successful person.