My dear friend, Elaine asked a question on Facebook a few weeks ago. It went something like this:
“What are your best tips for balancing the need to be fully present in the moment with the need to plan for what’s going to happen in the future?”
I love questions like this. Thoughtful, but practical. Encouraging mindfulness and presence, and yet aware of the fact that, in life, sometimes stuff must get done.
One of my answers to Elaine was that effective calendar-ing helps me find the balance between presence and planning. If you spend much time with me, you will likely capture a glimpse of my Google Calendar. It’s color-coded by member of the family. Every single event or activity is on there. Seriously. A friend once laughed at me because I even put school on the calendar. It wasn’t too many years ago that I might have forgotten to take them, had it not been on the calendar. Well, I exaggerate.
You might say I am “tied to my calendar,” and in a sense, you might be right. The question, though, is whether that tether benefits me and my family, or if it is to our detriment. I would argue that, for me, using my calendar effectively allows me to be where I need to be, to do what I need to do, and to thereby be present in the in between spaces, to be available for the unexpected things. By scheduling effectively, I leave room for people, for people’s needs. It’s not effective 100% of the time, I should add, but for me my calendar allows there to be time for wonder and time for service.
How does your calendar work for you? How do you build in time for wonder, time for people, time for serving, time for being present?