Spring Clean Your Calendar
I hope as you are reading this that spring has finally “sprung” in Kansas City. Winter was rough this year, but now the days are getting longer, the sun is shining more and it’s time to get some spring cleaning done! Spring is such a great time to throw open the windows, let fresh air in, clean out closets and freshen up around the house—but what about our calendars? Don’t those deserve a little spring cleaning too?!
Many of us find ourselves in a quandary … knee deep in our calendars, bound by them. Yet we keep adding more and more. A birthday party here, a volunteer opportunity there … oh wait, another committee meeting on that day. And that doesn’t even include basic work and family obligations either. If you find yourself feeling this way, you may be in a prime season for a little calendar tidy up. Many people are familiar with Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, as well as a new Netflix series. One of her claims to fame is asking people whether the items in their house spark joy. So, ask yourself, “Does this (committee, job, activity, etc.) spark joy?” If the answer is no, perhaps the time has come to let it go. A friend of mine and I were recently talking about the Bible study she regularly attends. Although a Bible study is a great commitment to have, hers became just another thing to check off her to-do list. She decided to take a break from going so that when the time is right for her to go back, she will have the right reasons and the right frame of mind.
When it comes to your calendar, keeping a balance is hard when you look at your own personal calendar, your kids’ calendar and a family calendar. Jennifer, an Overland Park mom of two, says, “One of my goals is to sit down and make a list of what takes my time and energy, what my commitments are, what I really love doing and who I love spending time with. Then, place each of these things in order of priority. For things that fall at the bottom of the list—to then step down from that committee, say no to that social invitation, etc. Life gets busy and things get out of order, but having a framework for what’s most important and impactful will help me keep things at the front of my mind when I’m trying to decide between a yes or a no.”
For many families, children’s activities become a source of “fullness” for the family calendar. Sports, clubs, church groups and lessons have a great impact on how busy our lives are. Jennifer says, “I try to be intentional with my time and spend it with the people who need it most and whom I need (for my own heart) to be with most as well. We’ve set a guideline for our girls that they are only allowed one extracurricular activity a season.”
Rebecca, a mom of three, says, “We encourage one sports activity per child, so whichever child doesn’t have practice gets to stay home for one-on-one time with me or my husband. We really get to pour into them by reading, playing, etc., when they don’t have practice.” Tricia, Overland Park mom of three, makes a great point, too, noting, “I try to evaluate what is needed (like swim lessons since everyone should know how to stay safe around water), what brings joy to me and/or my kids, and what can keep us active while maintaining our sanity.”
In all the craziness of coordinating calendars, remember to make time for yourself, as well as your spouse. The old saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup” comes to mind because you can’t be at your best for everyone else when your tank is empty. Find whatever it is that brings you joy and schedule it into your calendar like you would anything else. Otherwise, it’ll be the first thing to go when the calendar gets crazy.
While all of this sounds fabulous on paper, we all know reality is different. It’s okay if you find yourself saying yes too many times or struggling to cut things out. Know it is all a work in progress. No one has it perfectly figured out, and reevaluating frequently will be necessary. Amy, a mom of four, puts it beautifully: “I’ve been working to remind myself that kid stuff is great and important, but not if it gets too overwhelming or prevents us from really enjoying these years!”
We asked KC Parent’s 54,000+ Facebook fans:
What type of calendar do you keep?
- Paper planner- 24%
- Family calendar on the fridge- 18%
- Calendar app on your phone- 58%
Julie Collett does keep busy by nature of having four children, ages 8 to 18 months, but tries to maintain a low-key schedule and preserve downtime each week