Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt utterly overwhelmed because your schedule is either bursting at the seams or you’ve accidentally overlooked some crucial task until it’s almost too late. Yep, I’ve been there too, and let me tell you, it’s time for a change.
So whether you’re a die-hard fan of the classic pen-and-paper planner or you’ve fully embraced the digital revolution, this episode is all about how to take control of your calendar chaos.
I’m going to pull back the curtain on my own scheduling systems. But we’re not stopping there; we’re diving deep into the labyrinth of calendar overwhelm and giving your solutions that actually work.
I’m talking about transforming from a calendar slave to a calendar master, from a reactive schedule to a proactive one. When the final notes of this episode play, you won’t just be managing your calendar—you’ll be choreographing your time.
This episode will help:
👉 Anyone who struggles with saying no and fitting everything into your calendar.
👉 Busy entrepreneurs align your calendar with your values and goals!
👉 You choose the right calendar system for you and your family.
In this episode:
02:21 Choosing Your System
05:36 What’s Going into the Calendar
07:37 Saying No and Over-Scheduling
11:10 Prioritizing Family
13:31 Scheduling Me Time
15:46 Letting Others Help
1. Choose Your Calendar System
The first step in this calendar revolution is choosing your system. Paper and pen, digital, or a mix of both? This choice isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about what serves you best. My calendar needs to be a ninja at organizing my work, personal life, and family activities.
But there’s also a time and place when I love me some paper!
That’s why for my main calendar, I’m all about digital (iCalendar app). It’s color-coded and shared across all of our Apple devices, allowing my hubby, the kids and I to see everything that’s happening.
When it comes to planning my marketing, I love using my giant year-at-glance marketing calendar!
But hey, if you’re more of a paper planner aficionado, I totally get it. In fact, we’re launching a giant paper calendar this year that’s part art and part practicality. It’s about finding what works for you, not what’s trending.
2. Categorize Your Life
Now, let’s dive deeper. What goes into your calendar? Categories, my friend.
Think of your calendar as a well-organized library. You’ve got your sections for work, for family, for personal time, for your dreams and goals. Having these categories helps you quickly scan and understand what’s happening in your world. But here’s the thing: not all tasks are created equal. Some are massive, some are tiny, and some are just distractions.
The real magic happens when you’re willing to ask the hard questions: Does this task align with my priorities? Does it make us grow, connect, and thrive? And if the answer is no, well, it’s time to master the art of saying no.
3. Say NO to Over scheduling
Let’s talk about a game-changer: not over-scheduling.
In this whirlwind of a world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more is better. More activities, more commitments, more to-do’s. But let me tell you, there’s incredible power in the art of saying ‘no’ to the unnecessary. It’s about quality over quantity, prioritizing over piling up. I get it, we’re afraid our kids might miss out or we’ll miss that ‘must-attend’ event.
But here’s the secret: it’s perfectly okay to hit the brakes and reevaluate.
Taking a step back allows us to really consider what truly aligns with our goals, our family’s growth, and our own sanity. It’s about finding that sweet spot where our calendars are full of meaningful activities that energize us, rather than drain us. So, remember, it’s not about packing in every second; it’s about creating space for what truly matters and letting go of the rest.
4. Prioritize Like A Pro
And speaking of priorities, let’s talk about prioritizing like a pro. Sure, you’ve got your big, audacious goals that need scheduling, but don’t forget to prioritize the fun, the memories, the family time, and the self-care. These aren’t luxuries; they’re essential for a balanced life. Trust me on this: if you don’t prioritize the good stuff, your calendar will fill up with noise, leaving you exhausted and unfulfilled.
And while we are prioritizing, let’s not forget about scheduling “me time”. It’s not selfish; it’s self-preservation. Whether it’s a massage, a solo adventure, or simply a quiet moment, schedule it in or it won’t happen.
Just as you wouldn’t cancel a doctor’s appointment, don’t cancel on yourself.
Me time is like a superpower—it fuels your best self.
Remember that you’re not alone on this journey. Let others help you. Delegate, set up carpools, get groceries delivered. Teamwork isn’t just for the office; it’s for life.
And if your calendar is exploding, do yourself a favor and remove 20% of those commitments. Give yourself the gift of white space. And then, use the time you’ve saved to evaluate what truly needs to be there and what can be eliminated, outsourced, or streamlined.
Remember that your calendar is a tool, not a taskmaster. It’s meant to serve you, not stress you out.
So, let’s take a deep breath and embrace the art of calendar mastery. Your calendar is your canvas; paint it with intention and balance.
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[00:00:00] Leah: Hello. Hello, I am Leah Rele. Welcome to the Balancing Busy Podcast. Today we’re diving into the chaotic world of calendars. Now, it doesn’t really matter to me what style of calendar you like. Are you a paper and pen gal? Do you do everything digital? I’m gonna share my strategies and and how I do it, but that’s not what’s important.
[00:00:19] What’s important is what we put into them. How well we follow them and how often we feel totally frantic and chaotic because, well, we’re either over-scheduled or we completely forgot something. That’s what we’re gonna really focus on fixing today.
[00:00:34] If you feel like your calendar is controlling you, by the end of this episode, you’re gonna be the one calling the shots. You’re back in charge. So let’s get started.
[00:00:45] I wanna start by just talking about the calendar conundrum. So we’ve been there, right? You’re staring at a calendar that looks like a toddler’s coloring book appointments here. Meeting there is. And oh, don’t forget. You’ve got, you know, the soccer practice or dance recital, and there’s so many different things in there.
[00:01:36] It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. I mean, we’re talking about balancing busy because our lives are full. There is a lot going on. We’re not trying to pretend that we’re living in this constant 24 7 Zen meditation. Life. Okay. Life is crazy. So that means there’s a lot in our calendars, but how do we make sure that our calendars are serving us?
[00:02:01] And that is where we have to start. And just understand that this whole thing is tricky. But our calendars are not the boss of us. We are the boss of them, and it’s high time. We showed them who is in charge. So the very first step is choosing your system. What is gonna work best for you, for your family?
[00:02:26] And you need to think about and ask yourself what, what does my calendar need to serve? What does it need to be able to accomplish? So my calendar, Needs to be able to organize and help me see what’s going on in my work, what’s going on in my personal life, what’s going on for my kids. Those are the key things that I need my calendar to do, and I need it to keep all of us up to date and know what’s going on.
[00:02:53] We use a digital calendar for this. I could see how a. Physical calendar would be really powerful, and we’re actually going to be launching a giant, it’s a 20 by 30 calendar this year. I’m so excited about, there’s gonna be two versions. There’s your. Work one, which is really your marketing calendar, and then there’s your family calendar.
[00:03:18] And I love the idea that you can even put sticky notes so you can move things around, but you can see everything that’s going on for the entire year. So whether you are a paper or digital, we are a combo of both. Majority. I’m digital because when we’re talking about appointments and meetings and the kids’ activities, I need to be able to access all those different things.
[00:03:38] So we use eye calendar because we’re all Apple and we can have share calendars where I have it color coded and it’s broken up into the different things. So there’s just Taylor and I, there’s my work stuff, there’s full family. There’s things that are just the kids. And I can see everything. I can see it color coded.
[00:04:03] So you know, the middle of the day is gonna be a whole lot of this dark pink color ’cause that’s my work stuff. And then nights and evenings and weekends are gonna be lots of yellows and browns and blues because that’s our. Family or couple stuff or kid stuff, but I can see everything that’s happening.
[00:04:20] So you’ve gotta figure out what do you need your calendar to do for you, and where are you going to be best served? Is it a paper calendar? Is it a digital calendar? I know that like the paper planner world is a huge thing and maybe you love them. You know, there was a long while. I don’t know if it’s as big anymore, but.
[00:04:41] Where, you know, there was the stickers and the drawing, and I’m like, oh my gosh, these are beautiful. It’s like an art form. It’s like your journal, but that just wasn’t gonna work for me. For me, I’m like, yeah, I, I can’t have cute over function. Sorry. It’s, it’s gotta be function for me. So you pick what works for you.
[00:04:57] Maybe that beautiful art form that it becomes like a journal and, uh, uh, heirloom for the family is, is gonna be your style and maybe it’s not so, We have to choose our system and figure out what’s gonna work. Try one, test it. If you don’t like it, pitch it and try a different one. We’re using, I cal, and we have our different shared calendars where we can all, all see.
[00:05:27] But I also have my giant paper calendar that’s the entire year all at a glance. That’s for planning all my marketing stuff for my business. I’ve been using that for years and it really helps me to be able to just draw it all out and see based on seasons, based on, you know, just a lot of different factors where my marketing strategies are gonna be placed.
[00:05:48] Okay, so you have chosen your system with the knowledge that if you don’t really like it, you can change it. It’s, this is a work in progress. We’re gonna be figuring this out. Now that you’ve got your system, now it’s time to think about what’s going into this calendar. So you wanna make sure that you can see what things fall under, what categories, you know, what your categories are.
[00:06:12] Like I shared with you, I have my work stuff. I have things that are just Taylor and I, things that are. Just for the kids things that are us as an entire family. I can see all those things. And then there’s a, a final shared calendar where I can see when Taylor’s traveling, right? So I know his, his big picture work stuff, but I don’t wanna know his like day-to-day meetings that he has.
[00:06:33] I just wanna see my own so I can turn off and turn on calendars based on what I wanna see. And I’ve got this system that works for us.
[00:06:41] The next step is we’re gonna have to be comfortable saying, no, we can’t fit everything in the calendar. We have a really amazing episode, episode 60. It’s the people pleasers guide to saying, no, it is how to say no without feeling like a jerk and just making it so incredibly uncomfortable that you’re not willing to, and you say yes to everything.
[00:07:03] But when we’re talking about. Being able to have control over our calendars. The only way you have control over your calendars is if you are in control of what’s being put into the calendar. And if we say yes to everything, then other people are dictating our calendars. So really understanding that to tame your calendar, you have to master the art of saying no.
[00:07:24] If you feel good about that, then let’s just keep going. If you don’t make a note to yourself that you’re gonna go back to episode 60 and you’re going to listen to that one so that you can feel good. Uh, about saying no, and you can get more comfortable saying, no. I know it’s not super easy, but remember, when you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else.
[00:07:46] So as we’re looking at our calendars, one of the biggest problems is that we’re overscheduling and we need to get to the root of why. Why are you overscheduling? Is it a fear of holding your kids back and they’re gonna miss out on an opportunity? Is it a fear of missing out yourself? I mean, that is a real honest feeling.
[00:08:05] You don’t wanna miss out on the inside joke or the memory or the experience or whatever it is. Is it that you have this belief that if they’re not involved in every single thing, they’re not gonna have the same advantages when it comes to their future college or whatever it might be? And that comes. To a deeper place of understanding what your greatest priorities are.
[00:08:28] I have talked about this a lot, but you know, as I look at what is my real priority, then I’m able to remove the things that are distracting me from that priority. The real priority is having time as a family, connecting as a family. Being able to work on your dreams and your goals, being able to grow as a family?
[00:08:53] Grow. Personally, when I know that, I look at my calendar and I can say, well, what things aren’t actually serving us? Maybe you’ve got your kiddo in too many activities, and the honest truth is you can tell they don’t even love one of ’em, but it’s what you guys loved. It’s what the family does and, oh, I don’t know, I What if they changed their mind?
[00:09:14] Have a conversation with them, talk with them. Know that nothing’s permanent. You could pause for a little while. One of the most incredible things that I experienced when we took our year to travel the world was our calendar being wiped out, and there were so many things. In our calendar before, you know, we got on the plane with five passports and, and headed off that I felt like were required.
[00:09:49] I felt like we had to,
[00:09:50] I felt obligation, but when we left, obviously, you know, you can’t show up for all those things and you just, the entire calendar is wiped clear and it was incredible. I think many of us experienced that, or some version of that in C O V I D.
[00:10:07] All of a sudden your calendar is cleared. All of those activities, all of those things, You can’t do them, and it helps us to really realize how we felt when there was less. Did you get to have more time together? What did you miss and what did you honestly not miss? Let’s not just jump into things.
[00:10:32] Because someone somewhere made us believe that we should, let’s ask the bigger questions and make sure that the things we are committing to are the right things. That they feel good, that they’re leveling us up, that they’re making us our family unit, our kids, they’re making us better, and those things that aren’t being okay, saying no.
[00:10:58] That brings me to the next part, which is prioritizing like a pro. And I really believe that the most important thing to prioritize is our family. It’s family activities, it’s family fun. That for the longest time was the last thing I scheduled in. And so guess what? It doesn’t happen if you do not schedule in and prioritize.
[00:11:22] Family fun, family vacations, family activities. Date night, they are not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen. We need to schedule in what matters to us. So when I think about prioritization, yes, of course. I’m thinking about, you know, my big goals, those important things that we need to schedule in and we need to make it happen.
[00:11:42] But I’m also thinking about date night. I’m thinking about family fun. I’m thinking about game nights and activities and vacations and experiences that I want us to have. And prioritizing them and putting them into the calendar. Now, the one caveat that I’ll say is I’m completely comfortable moving those things around.
[00:12:03] So I might place date night on Friday night, but then something else comes up and we move it to Saturday night, or we move it to Thursday night, or we may move it to Wednesday during the day. I don’t know. I’m okay moving them. I’m not okay removing them. So I prioritize. The experiences that I want us to have, and that is for sure date night.
[00:12:26] That is family experiences. That is family vacations, making memories. I pop those into the calendar, but I, I know they’re probably gonna get moved around and that’s fine. I’m just not gonna let them get removed.
[00:12:43] Not all tasks are created equal, and so some are big, some are small, and some are just downright unnecessary. Taking the time to really ask just. Little bit deeper questions past the service of why am I saying yes to this? Is this the right thing for us? Does this support my family or does it hurt my family?
[00:13:06] Does it bring us closer together? Does it pull us apart? Does this move my goals forward? Does it make me stay stagnant or bring me backwards or. It appears to be the right thing, but is it actually just asking some deeper questions about what we’re putting into our calendars and if we’re good with them is gonna make a big difference.
[00:13:31] Now I wanna shift and I wanna talk about scheduling in me time. It’s so important to schedule in the fun, and I do look at that as me time, me making time for great family memories, date night, that that is me activities. But I am someone who also loves to be alone. Like I love alone time. I crave it. I love.
[00:13:52] Silence. I love hanging out with myself. I mean, I’m always gonna have fun when I hang out by myself. It’s always a good time for me, and so I need to schedule in me time. And if I’m not careful about that, if I’m not strategic about scheduling in me time, it will all get filled and I won’t get to have that.
[00:14:12] And I am not the best version of myself if I don’t have that time. I’ve shared this before, but the entire time my kids were in elementary school. Every Wednesday afternoon there was a meeting with Sage, which stood for massage. Okay. I was going and getting a massage and I didn’t want it to say that on my calendar because you know, it’s a shared calendar and I didn’t really wanna be teased about it, but that’s what it was.
[00:14:38] I was going and getting a massage every Wednesday afternoon before the kids got home from school. So I had a block of time where I worked in the morning. And then I stopped for lunch and then I went and got a massage and then I came home and I’d, you know, just do a few things around the house while I waited for the kids to get home from school.
[00:14:56] And then they came home and I, it was amazing. I loved it. And yours doesn’t have to be a massage, but maybe it’s a lunch with a girlfriend or maybe it’s a girl’s night or maybe it is just time all by yourself. If you can manage that scheduling and me time though. Is really, really important and it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
[00:15:20] It’s how we show up better for everything else, for the people who need us so that we can be more present, more positive, more impactful, all of those different things. My last. Strategy thing that I wanna talk about when we’re looking at our calendars, and maybe you’re in a season where your calendar is so full, it is so crazy.
[00:15:46] I’m gonna ask you to let other people help you, and that can look like so many different things. But don’t assume and believe that you have to take on all of this. Maybe it’s setting up a carpool with some other parents so that you can drive to and someone else drives home, or you take on a week and then someone else takes on another week.
[00:16:10] I, I don’t know what that looks like. It can look like a million different things, but maybe it’s around getting the kids to the activities. Or maybe you’re looking at this calendar and it’s just bursting and you’re trying to figure out, well, where do I fit in grocery shopping? Don’t, don’t go grocery shop, get it delivered, sister, like, Yes, you’re gonna pay a little bit more.
[00:16:32] Who cares? Your time is more valuable than those dollars, I promise. So get it delivered. Maybe it looks like getting a little bit of help having somebody come in and, and help you with some task maybe. And I hope that it looks like having a conversation with your partner. Where you’re saying, Hey, here’s all the things on on the calendar.
[00:16:53] What are you going to take on? And what am I going to take on? And you’re doing it together as a team because that’s what a team is supposed to look like. You know, we’re looking at our schedule and I’m saying, okay, what night are you taking care of for dinner? And I’m saying, Hey, can you drive the kids to this?
[00:17:11] Will you be in charge of helping with this thing, letting other people help you? It’s so important when we’re looking about these very busy, very full calendars, and when we can create a combination of first finding a system that really works for you. Second. Really getting clear on what your deeper goals are, your deeper priorities, so that you can say yes to those things that are in alignment and help with that.
[00:17:42] But you can also feel really good about saying no to overscheduling our kids and ourselves. Those things in combination with being able to prioritize. Fun memories, family time, your goals, your growth, getting those into the calendar first, and then letting other people help you, help you to achieve all of these different things that you have on your plate.
[00:18:13] It can make such a difference. If you are in a moment right now where your calendar is bursting at the seams, I mean, you’re just like, oh my gosh, Leah, if you could see what my calendar looks like, every single moment is taken up. Then the very first thing I’m gonna ask you to do is to go look at your calendar and force yourself to remove 20%.
[00:18:34] Okay? 20% of what is on there. You have to figure out what you can just cut, cut it out. Now, I want you to take that time that you gave yourself, and I want you to give half of it to just rest, to just have some white space, and I want you to give the other half to figuring out. What else in your schedule you can let go of or delegate or improve shift change.
[00:19:05] Figure out how to take control of your calendar, use these steps, and take back control. You are the author of this calendar. You are in charge, you are writing the story of your family’s life, and the chapters are being written. In our calendars. So be intentional, be so, so, so intentional. So there you have it, the secrets to balancing your calendar in not some fancy app or a color coded system, although if you love that, go for it.
[00:19:39] It is really about setting boundaries, prioritizing tasks, and making time for what matters most. Remember, a balanced calendar is going to lead to a balanced life.
[00:19:50] So take these tips, these little needle movers, implement them so that you can get even more ticks on the scale as you’re going towards. Balanced bliss. Until next time, stay balanced, keep laughing. I’ll see you on the next episode.Hide Transcript