|The grand paper calendar. I love this format.|
It's no secret that I adore planning. It's like comfort food. Soothing, reassuring, makes me feel like all is right in the world.
I've used a paper calendar since high school and it works really well for me, especially this vertical format where every day of the week has the same layout. It drives me nuts when calendars will treat Saturday and Sunday as half-columns, or double them up. I also really like the to-do list at the side.
Being self-employed, the reality is that each of my days could potentially be a rest day or a work day. I do try to maintain a consistent schedule, and after several months of unpredictable hours and random (and urgent!) tasks, I've finally settled into something that feels right.
Here's how it goes:
- Mondays I start the day with some accounting and emails, then work in my studio for a couple of hours. I go to pilates at 2pm with Rico, then do another studio session until sunset.
- Tuesdays I focus on exercise in the morning (ideally a combo of strength training and cardio), then work in my studio until sunset.
- Wednesdays are studio and pilates, and every other week I get a super relaxing shiatsu massage and go to gallery openings at CCA.
- Thursdays I work in the showroom all day and can usually put a good dent in computer work and graphic design while I am there.
- Fridays I work out in the morning, then work in the showroom.
- Saturdays I have flex time in the morning that I can use for whatever needs attention, then I work in the showroom.
- Sundays I run with my running partner H., then sunbathe, go to studio, and have the rest of the day off (or, if needed, can play catch up).
Over the years I've figured out a balance of activities that makes me feel happy, gets the work done, and allows for the feeling of spontaneity even within such a controlled schedule. I plan my activities, obligations, studio sessions, and workouts way in advance - sometimes up to two months. I like to know what lies ahead, what I need to be prepared for, when I can let my hair down.
I track two main things each week to help keep me on track: # of times I exercise in a week, and the # of times I make it to my studio (computer work, photography, and graphic design don't count - it has to be metalsmithing). I have a little code to mark each day, and I tally everything in the corner of each page at the end of the week.
My minimum goal is 4x exercise and 3x studio, my ideal goal is 5-6x exercise and 4x studio. It really works. If I hit those numbers, somehow the rest falls into place pretty well.
So far in 2014 I've exercised 63 times (average of 5.2x per week, so totally on track there) and worked in my studio 35 days (average of 2.9 days per week, so just below my minimum goal).
I love tracking everything, and especially love looking back. I often struggle to recognize the things I've accomplished (the pending items on the to-do list usually stand out more than the ones I've crossed off) and this is a nice, empirical, undeniable way to appreciate my efforts.
Are you a planner? Do you keep a paper calendar? What (if anything) do you keep track of over time?