The other day, I was scheduling a hair appointment with a new friend looking to build her local clientele. I pulled my day planner out of my bag and opened to our current month. Her eyes quickly turned into saucers when she saw the kaleidescope of color splashed through March 2017. Her nervous laugh is a familiar sound…it’s the usual reaction someone gives me when they see my day planner for the first time. It is the laugh of someone unsure whether or not their new acquaintance is merely super-well-organized or a complete whackadoodle control freak.
I’m a bit of both actually, but that’s another post for another day.
My color coded planner came shortly after Baby #2 when I had to manage the schedules of 4 people under one roof. I felt the walls of post-partum anxiety closing in, and knew I had to do something before I lost my shit. I grabbed some Papermate Felt Tip pens (y’all know the ones I’m talking about) and started assigning colors.
Let me tell you why:
1.) It allows you to see, at a glance, an overall picture of your schedule.
You open up the planner and BOOM! Blue stars next to a date indicate the Husband’s work days. Purple is something on the books for a Munchkin. The colors jump out at you right away. It’s a serious breath of fresh air when you can open your schedule and get an overall perspective of where you’re booked and other important dates. It also allows you to see where you’re free and you can look forward to those rare moments where nothing is happening.
2.) Color coding allows you to maximize your own productivity.
If you are a productive person supporting yourself (and possibly others), chances are you have places to be on a regular basis. I’ll even assume these places ask you to be on time. Color coding your calendar allows you to quickly see when you have a good two hours to accomplish something, or only about 15 minutes.
I don’t know about you, but when I can see little pockets of time throughout the day to charge through 15 minutes of emails and responses, it’s a huge relief. I feel like I’ll be able to get it all done, albeit little at a time.
3.) A color coding system is easy to duplicate.
This might be the best reason as to why you should start a coloring up your planner. It’s easy to copy into other calendars.
As a police family, me and The Husband are experts at slipping into a “passing ships in the night” kind of routine. There are nights when we don’t even see each other because as soon as he gets home, he eats some leftovers and goes straight to bed. Clearly, we aren’t up for discussing scheduling conflicts when the guy has to be back at the station in less than 8 hours.
Color coding my day planner and then using the same color coding in our shared calendars on our Smartphones helps us to share our schedules easily on the go. (Why I put it in two calendars is a topic for another day!) When I make a doctor’s appointment for Munchkin #1, I add an orange block of time on my Calendar app, and The Husband gets an alert that the appointment has been created.
As a result, The Husband and I argue a lot less over who forgot to tell who about this one’s dentist appointment or that one’s birthday party cameos. You’ll never catch me talking smack about a communication between husband and wife that’s working.
Let’s keep it real…our lives are busy. If you’re anything like me, you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere. Color coding my schedule has been an incredible tool as I manage the lives of the people in my household. I can see right away where my priorities are. Often times, I find it wakes me up when I see an over-concentration of a certain color. I’ll know that I’m working way too much, and can adjust my schedule to spend more time with my family. And at the end of the day, I’ll always take a schedule option that lets me spend more time with the ones I care about most.
Do you have a surefire method for staying on top of your schedule? I’d love to hear your ideas!