Living a workable, balanced, amazing life

Living a workable, balanced, amazing life

“At the time you were born you were given an amazing gift — a gift that most of us forget about as we grow older. It’s the power to design your own unique life. You are an artist. The canvas is your life. From this moment on, take ownership of this gift and use it wisely. If you do, your life will become an extraordinary work of art.” — Cheryl Richardson, Take Time for Your Life

How will you paint your canvas today?

I’m going to share two big and helpful ideas about time, your work, your life and sacred balance.

1. My favorite motto: “I schedule my life and I live my schedule ... and when life happens (and life keeps happening!), I am accountable”

Colour coded calendar

I’m making a very important assumption here, that you are capturing every sacred intention in a calendar — everything you have committed to do that supports the juicy and audacious manifestation of your most regal sovereign self — for your life and for your business.

If you are not yet using a calendar, please start! Here’s why:

When you use a calendar to contain all that there is for you to do, be, experience, touch, taste, have, feel, create, contribute and give in your life, you free your mind to be open and responsive to the moment.

If you don’t use a calendar, if you don’t give yourself that container,  your mind gets gunked up with stuff you’re trying to remember, and that stuff gets in between you and the present moment, this now breath. Ever walk into a wall when you’re trying to remember something? Yup, like that.

I am a fervent believer in an electronic calendar, especially now, in the era of the cloud. Every entry I make on my computer can be accessed from any device in a second. My laptop, my phone, my iPad, someone else’s computer.

The top benefits of going electronic for me:

• It’s so much less work than paper — once you have an event entered, you can easily move, modify, duplicate or delete it

• Techno-miracles: setting recurring events so you don’t have to enter them more than once, inviting attendees, adding locations (which you can click on and open up a map with directions to where you’re going)!

• A cloud calendar is nearly impossible to lose. Even if you lose the device it’s on, you can still access it. Not so easy with a paper planner.

Whether you’re just getting started with your calendar, or have lots and lots of practice, you can increase its power to enhance your life by doing a couple of things if you aren’t already...

Use color to indicate areas of your life, and make sure they are all represented in your schedule the way you intend for them to be

The top picture in the image is a screengrab of  a week in my current calendar. Currently (I change the colors at whim), I’m using pink for personal errands and fun, a lentil-soup green color for client work and calls, dark blue for business commitments, a brown for writing time, another brown for 12-step meetings, purple for spiritual work, light green for fitness and dance.

When I look at each week, I can review the balance (the colors make that really easy), and remind myself of my bottom-line commitments and do what I need to do to make sure all is represented in a way that reflects every sacred commitment to my life and work.

If something is under-represented on my schedule, it’s easy to fix. The colors help me see my balance at a glance.

Make sure there’s space between commitments, more than you think you’ll need

Again, take a look at my calendar. See those white spaces between scheduled items? They are there by intention. I learned this the hard way because I got to deal with being sick for over two years recently, and needed much time to rest.

In the process, I finally let go of the distorted superwoman idea that I could just go from one thing to another without breathing space in between. You don’t have to be sick to get this — I get to share it with you as a gift of my journey; you can simply start making space for yourself now.

• Things often take longer than you plan for them to take, and always unexpectedly. Allow some room for the unexpected.

• Do you schedule your client calls or meetings on the hour? Space your 50-minute calls 90 minutes apart. This will allow your calls to go long organically on occasion — your clients and teammates will love that! Allow yourself time to get up, walk around, pee, lie down on your foam roller, take a few intentional breaths, brew a cup of tea. Refresh!

• When you get your errands done and there’s some open space on your calendar, do something really audacious — do anything you like as long as it’s nothing that’s on your to-do list! Sit and look out the window. Call a friend. Take a nap!

Schedule sacred downtime

Almost every week, on Friday afternoons, there’s a 3-hour big pink block of Me Time on my calendar, during which I do whatever I please, as long as it’s not a task. Many weeks it’s hanging with a friend, taking a long walk, seeing a movie, or making art. Sometimes it’s a novel and a nap. You don’t see my Me Time  in the screengrab above because I’m planning my month away that begins in two weeks. I’ve given up a couple of those Friday afternoons to Get Everything Done before I go.

Give yourself this gift, at least twice a month, weekly if you can. It’s a sacred gamechanger.

2. We all have the same 24 hours in each day... what are you doing with yours, each breath, each moment, each hour?
My first business coach must have said this to me a million times. She would say, “Yup, Mother Teresa had 24 hours. So did Martin Luther King. And Bill Gates. What’s on your calendar today?”

This served me as a big and sacred kick in the pants — an invitation to stop waiting for circumstances to align themselves with my wishes, and start manifesting my goals, vision, dreams, and desires right now. In this breath. What’s on your calendar today? This week? This year?

Spiral clock

Time is dynamic, elastic, and not so linear

Have you noticed this? You can be waiting on hold for a tech support person to answer your call, while you’re listening to bad audio hold music, and it seems like 20 minutes is taking forever!! Or you could be walking in the surf on a beach on a beautiful day with a loved one and hours just fly by.

Much — maybe all — that drives how you experience this moment and the next comes from your thoughts, your engagement, your goals, and how connected you are in your heart to whatever it is that you are doing. The good news? You control all of it!

I’ve transformed even those l-o-o-o-o-n-g hold times into something more positive, and have found that when I do so the actual support conversations become enjoyable and productive. The simple miracle of not being annoyed when I finally get someone on the phone can work wonders. And I can get to not-annoyed by inhabiting each breath, each tick of the clock, each moment, with loving intention.

Thank you, Shân, for inviting me to write for your blog. I’m honored. I get so much goodness from your work, and am happy to share some of what enhances my life and work. I’d love to hear from your readers! Tell me about your relationship to time. What’s working? What’s blocked? Please let me hear from you in the comments.

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Sue KearneyI’m Sue Kearney, Chief Inspiration Officer at Magnolias West, a coaching, branding, web design and spiritual business practice. I dance, DJ, make art, garden, cook, and rock it as a kitchen witch making herbal remedies as well as fermenting kombucha and ’kraut. I study astrology and tarot, and I practice and facilitate women’s spirituality.

I work with passionate changemakers who want to integrate their most sacred heart’s mission and soul’s purpose in every area of their business. In Share Your Magic coaching I work with you as you envision, manifest and sustain the business of your dreams. In my Unmask Your Brand program, I support you to fully express your heart and soul in your brand, website and social media marketing. And I offer Astrology for Your Business, a combined business- and personal-chart reading with me which give you powerful insights that add clarity to your business decisions and planning.

I love to connect! Join the conversation on my blog, subscribe to my newsletter full of business practices and tips both spiritual and down-to-earth, and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

 

16 Comments

  1. We all have the same 24 hours. That is so true! It’s so easy to get caught up spinning our wheels feeling like time we’re being cheated out of time… and it’s just not true.

    Starting today I’m going to schedule in my sacred down time… I need it and I deserve it too!

    I love this post so much that I am bookmarking it, I’m sure I’ll need to be reminded again 🙂

  2. Stacey, wow, I’ve been bookmarked!! 🙂 Could be a first.

    So glad you find this stuff useful, it’s near and dear to my heart.

    Thanks for your beautiful comment.

    Love and blessings,
    Sue

  3. LOL – I smiled in delight as I read about your “pink (me) time” as I too have discovered the magical power of pink time. Whether five minutes, five hours, five days or five weeks – giving ourselves permission to follow our bliss *guilt free* is so important. Often I end up ‘working’ because I am inspired and can just as easily do my couch potato society membership proud.

    The white space in between is so important too in ways we don’t often recognize.
    🙂
    Hope your upcoming trek is one big block of pink. 🙂

  4. Lorraine, wow, so glad to read your comment. I love it — one big block of pink!! Although I find I enjoy that me time so much better when I have some structure. So glad to know that completely unstructured time doesn’t work for me. I have learned how to create enough structure to really enjoy those open stretches.

    Grateful for you.
    xoxox
    Sue

  5. Sue what great tips… Like you creating space in my calendar for sacred down time, as well as leaving white space throughout the day allows me to creat and live from a place of expansion instead of constriction.

    Would love to know which iCloud calendar you use I’m looking to switch. I’m currently using Outlook but want instant access.

  6. Linda, thanks for your comment.

    I’m all Mac, and I use the built-in calendar app, which syncs to iCloud, and then is available on iMac, laptop, iPad and iPhone. Works really well for me.

    I like that “expansion rather than constriction.” I still have to watch out for my tendency to fill those gaps with to-do’s. The more I leave them open, the more expansive, relaxed and present I feel.

    Love and light,
    Sue

  7. Sue, so beautifully written! I still don’t use my calendar as optimally as I’d like, but you were definitely the one who helped me see the wisdom of electronic calendars (I was a paper and pencil gal till about 6 months ago!). One of the things I love best is being able to color code things so I have that powerful visual hit of what I’m doing when and how it all fits together to create a satisfying life.

    I also know I am more likely to do the “stuff I know I need to be doing” (writing copy, marketing, etc.) when it is blocked out in color, rather than leaving all that white space to find my way in and through. Thanks for the reminder to make even better use of a system I’ve really learned to love!

  8. This is simple and practical advice that has amazing emotional and spiritual benefits as well. Thanks for reminding me to schedule that most important “me” time. I also use a huge whiteboard in my office where I write things in various colored markers. I love it and it helps the visual part of me to realize my goals and accomplishments. I never call it my “to do” list but my “Living my dreams today!”

  9. Oh wow, Sue, this is EXACTLY what I do! I am nearly paperless these days and much prefer “cloud-storage”, and that goes for calendars as well. Also very good point about scheduling me-time – I love your expression “sacred downtime”. Beautiful!

    <3
    Sibylle

  10. Sue this is such a great post! I use an electronic calendar also for the reasons you stated. I try to work in “Me Time”, like a massage or exercise…but I am not consistent. I will be now!

  11. Sibylle, Deanna, I love that “sacred downtime” resonates with you. It’s been such a loving gamechanger for me!

    Thanks to you both for sharing your thoughts.

    Blessed be!
    Sue

  12. Sue, I actually do not use a calendar. I used to. But it did not serve me well. It was not a tool that supported me well. I remember the times when I did and took on way too many things. My natural enthusiasm and zest for life caused me to be unrealistic in what I can do in one day. After having had two burnouts, one at age 28 and one at age 35, i had to find a new way of being in this world. These days, at almost 39, I get things done effectively without a calendar and am much happier and healthier for it.

  13. What a fabulous article! I love the idea of looking at the balance of colors on your calendar. Kind of genius, really. I also love the descriptor of the calendar as a “container.” So true. I’m sharing this one! thanks!

  14. I love the combo of electronic and visually appealing… It’s a system I’ve used for some time and it really helps. A recent tweak? A feed for “community happenings” so we don’t miss something new and exciting!

    Thanks for your post.

  15. Nadia, so glad it’s working for you. I don’t know how I’d remember scheduled client calls, meetings, out-of-the-office appointments. How do you do it?

  16. Teri, thanks so much for sharing this. I hope you enjoy using colors as much as I do.

    Andrea, I’m curious… Have you found a way to automate the “community happenings” feed? I end up doing all of that manually, myself, because I don’t want to miss anything either!

    Thanks for your comments!

    In appreciation,
    Sue

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