How to Use Your Calendar to Make Every Day Your Ideal Day
It’s all about creating the perfect template, then using it the right way
Sometimes I fantasize about an empty calendar. No meetings. No obligations. Nothing but time for my work, myself, and the people I care about.
Then I remember: I’ve already lived that dream, more than once. I had an empty calendar in 2015, while writing my book, Sprint. I had it when my wife and I were traveling in Central America and our only commitments were to each other. When we first moved to Milwaukee, there it was again — an empty calendar. Nothing but possibility.
And then I remember something else: The reality of an empty calendar does not live up to the dream.
When time becomes abundant
Time is a finite resource, and normally, it’s in short supply — something I learned firsthand during my time at Google Ventures, where I helped create the design sprint process. In a way, that makes it easier to use it well. When you only have a limited number of hours to spend how you’d like, you make the most of them.
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On the flip side, when time becomes abundant, it can be challenging to make good use of it. If you’ve ever spent a Sunday evening wondering how the weekend got away from you, or blown a big chunk of money on an ill-advised purchase on payday, you know what I mean. When we’re faced with abundance, it breaks our mental framework for how to manage that resource, and we go bonkers.
That’s basically what happens to me when I have an empty calendar. My brain can’t handle the shift from scarcity to abundance. I get overly optimistic about what I can achieve, and then I set myself up for a spectacular fall down to earth as I waste all that time. I get distracted. I procrastinate. I wait too long to eat and forget to exercise.
The way around this, I’ve learned, is to create some structure for myself.