Schedule “Life” First.

Every year, on January 1st, my year begins the same way.

I sit down with a strong cup of coffee, a very official-looking clipboard and a Sharpie pen, and I map out my professional goals for the upcoming year.

I write down:

— The books and articles that I want to write.

— The workshops and retreats that I want to produce.

— The clients that I want to collaborate with — and how many clients, and when.

— The exact dollar amount I want to earn — and the composite of books, products, services, and tickets that I’ll need to sell in order to reach that goal.

I write it all down. Then I schedule everything onto my calendar. Then I finish my coffee — and begin the hustle-bustle-rustle of making it all happen.

Weeks and months evaporate so quickly. The calendar moves from January to June in a flash of emails, phone calls, documents, plane tickets, and “I’ll be ready for dinner soon, sweetheart, I just need to finish one more thing…”

I work hard. Goals get achieved. My calendar is packed full of work. Beautiful, fulfilling work. But still… work.

Work comes first. Always first. Then — in the little cracks, corners, and crevices that still remain on my calendar — I try to insert “the rest of my life.” “Life” gets pushed to the perimeter. “Life” is constricted and squeezed into a few hours here, a few hours there, a few stolen minutes in between this and that.

But this year, I decided to do things completely differently — a total reversal of what I’ve done in the past. This year, I decided:

“Instead of scheduling my professional goals and projects first, what if I do the opposite?”

“What if I schedule ‘life’ first?”

To me, it seemed like a radical, disruptive idea. Schedule life… first?! It’s almost scandalous. So un-American. So European!

This year, on January 1st, I sat down with a cup of coffee and my clipboard, and I wrote down a list of “life experiences” that I want to have this year.

Things like:

— Quiet mornings reading in bed with coffee and stroopwafel cookies.

— Taking Dudley to the park, watching him chase sticks and go berserk with excitement.

— A trip to see my brother play jazz at the Village Vanguard in New York City. (I know I’ll burst into tears of pride, joy, and excitement when he takes the stage.)

— Time for whatever-ing. Time for spontaneity. Time to arrange flowers, fluff pillows, light candles, putter around, and just… exist. Time to think about nothing and everything. Empty space for surprise invitations that might arrive later. Or not.

This year, finally, I am remembering that I am a whole, entire person. I am not just a worker. Not just a writer. Not just a consultant or entrepreneur or teacher or any other professional title. I’m a whole person living in a big universe — a universe full of songs I’ve never heard, and books I’ve never read, and pine cones scattered across forest trails, and the scent of a sopping wet puppy after he’s skittered through the garden on a rainy morning.

I love my work. I love my life. Both deserve space on my calendar. Just maybe… arranged in a different order than I previously thought.

This year, I scheduled life first — and work second.

This year, everything feels different.

-Alex

PS. I recently re-discovered this incredible folk music album. So gorgeous.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Alexandra Franzen

When it comes to being a better writer — and a better human being — Alexandra Franzen has a ten-word philosophy: Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused. Alexandra’s refreshingly simple communication tips have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MediaBistro, MindBodyGreen and The Huffington Post — and on radio programs from coast to coast. Learn more at www.alexandrafranzen.com.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

4 Myths About Having Mentors (and How to Overcome Them)
4 Myths About Having Mentors (and How to Overcome Them)

Mentors are special people. They take us under their wise, experienced wings and help us

Schedule “Life” First.
Schedule “Life” First.

Every year, on January 1st, my year begins the same way. I sit down with

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a mentor?” I

4 Ways to Break Free from Your Post-Holiday Funk
4 Ways to Break Free from Your Post-Holiday Funk

You’re back in the saddle at work. Maybe you took a few days off for

Our Top 8 Most-Read Articles of 2018
Our Top 8 Most-Read Articles of 2018

Go big or go home! If that’s your plan for 2019, we’re here to support

Top 18 Leadership Quotes of 2018 (Slideshow)
Top 18 Leadership Quotes of 2018 (Slideshow)

Monday mornings at BeLeaderly bring  motivational leadership quotes to inspire our readers. If your goal is

Be Leaderly Talks Gender Bias on the TEDx Stage
Be Leaderly Talks Gender Bias on the TEDx Stage

More and more companies want to lessen gender bias in the workplace, but I contend

Turn Your Strengths Into Superpowers in 4 Steps
Turn Your Strengths Into Superpowers in 4 Steps

Ask a woman to name her signature strengths and she’ll often squirm in her chair,

Leaderly Quote: Find your voice…
Leaderly Quote: Find your voice…

Find your voice. Get comfortable with power. Lift others up. —Jo Miller

It’s Time to Go After Awards and Recognition
It’s Time to Go After Awards and Recognition

I have a question for you. What kind of impact could you make as a

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address. Read more.
Copyright 2019, Be Leaderly