Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Using Your Calendar

THE MONTHLY CALENDAR

If there is one planning tool that I couldn’t live without it would be my monthly calendar. I am one of those people that have to look at the calendar in the morning to figure out what day it is. No, not the date… the actual day! When I first started my journey toward organization, I started with an 8 ½ x 11 self-contained monthly calendar from the Dollar Store. It went everywhere with me and I wrote everything in it. I used it to write down doctor’s appointments, birthdays, home parties that I was giving or attending, special music that I needed to provide, trips we were taking, dates with my husband, and the list went on and on. By the end of the year you could read my life in its pages. While a wall calendar is wonderful, having a monthly calendar with me at all times was even better. Knowing that I would be traveling the second weekend in February helped me not to commit to running the children’s Valentine party at church. Knowing that my husband was taking me out on Friday, helped me plan ahead to get a babysitter that night.

CALENDAR TIPS…

Keep a master birthday and anniversary calendar. Rather than relying on your monthly calendar for your only source of these important tidbits of information, set up a master list of birthdays and anniversaries and then transfer them as needed to your calendar or weekly reminder sheet. Your dates will be easier to update, and you won’t have the horrible feeling I once experienced when I realized that I’d thrown out my calendar before transferring the dates on it to the next year. I had to call my Mom to get the list again, and my sister-in-law… and numerous friends… it was embarrassing. Now I keep a master list in my home journal. Lesson learned.

Consider pencil. I prefer to date my calendar and write the birthdays in black or blue ink. If I have an appointment or some other obligation during the month that is not likely to change, I’ll write that in ink as well. I’ve learned, however, to write most of the other things during the month in pencil. I really don’t like a messy calendar, and pencil is much easier to erase than pen.

Use abbreviations. Develop your own “calendar shorthand”. “Bday” for birthday, “Chiro” for chiropractor, a frowny face for a day you don’t feel well, a “pd” in the upper left corner of each payday, a cloud around a special date. Use your calendar as a reminder rather than a diary.

Attach a note. If you do need to keep a note attached to your calendar entry, (such as an address for the wedding rehearsal, or the telephone number for the dog groomer) assign the entry a number. For example, I might write, 1:00 Kolar ➂. Since Kolar is the name of my dog, I would know that he was having something done at 1:00 on that day. If I turned back to the note paper that I had behind my calendar, I would find that number 3 said: ➂ Groomer - Pam - 555-3233. The information I needed was still at my fingertips and my calendar was readable.

Keep it with you. I cannot stress this point enough. Invariably, if I leave my calendar at home, I need it. It’s uncanny! I’ll meet someone in the store that I haven’t seen for years and we will want to set a date to meet for lunch, but I don’t have my calendar. Or, I’ll get a phone call from my husband asking what we’re doing on the 21st, because he needs to schedule his last vacation day before he leaves work that afternoon. Or, I’ll find a wonderful sale on children’s toys, but I won’t be able to remember if it’s Great Aunt Bertha’s birthday this month or Allison Mae’s, who’s two. Seriously! These things can happen! Be prepared, and *always* carry your calendar.

Don’t forget upkeep. Obviously your calendar will not write on itself. Like a computer it is only as good as its operator. Look at it often - morning and night at least! And be sure to write down information and appointments when they are fresh in your mind. It’s too easy for the doctor’s appointment to change from 2:15 to 2:45 if it’s not written down immediately. Don’t ask me how I know...


A WORD TO REMEMBER…

“Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

A calendar is a tool that numbers our days. When we see the month at a glance we realize that our time is limited. What we choose to do with each day will show what we have chosen to apply ourselves to. I’ve applied myself to cross stitch in order to finish a project in a short amount of time. My children have applied themselves in their studies when they had a goal in sight. The Bible encourages us to apply our hearts to wisdom. Since “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, perhaps our first response in relation to our calendar needs to be to open it before the Lord and ask for His daily direction, wisdom and leading with a heart that is willing to submit to His control.

It’s interesting that we apply ourselves more wholeheartedly when we have a goal in sight. Hopefully, the fact that our time is limited will encourage us to set godly goals that will help us grow in wisdom. Goals such as reading our Bibles, praying, scripture memory, and serving others truly embody the vision of Planning to be a Blessing.

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