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June 2, 2024 7 mins

Don’t drop the ball! Keep a list of your work and personal commitments in one place.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:09):
Good Morning.

Speaker 1 (00:10):
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is to keep one calendar for both your work
and personal life. If you can't do this, and I
know there are many reasons people can't, then have at
least one place where you can see both work and
personal time specific commitments. Being able to see both massively

increases the chances that you don't drop any balls that
you'll feel terrible about dropping. So first I want to
explain my calendar system. Even though I know there are
many reasons this won't work for other people, I work
for myself, so I actually keep a paper calendar. It's
a weekly at a glance calendar that fits in my purse.
I put any time specific commitments or need to know
information on this calendar as soon as I know these dates.

So I've marked the days my kids are off school
in the fall, even though that school year is nowhere
near starting it. In the upcoming year section in the back,
I marked our twenty twenty spring break. Our school district
published this calendar.

Speaker 2 (01:06):
And even though I can assure you I'm not thinking
much about the twenty twenty spring break. I know that
most likely in the next few months, someone will ask
me about a date in March or April of next year.
I'd hate to say sure, I'll give a speech then
and then find out it's right in the middle of
our best opportunity for a family vacation. Another example, when
I found out one of my children had a special
school event in early June, I put it on the

calendar and then chatted about it with my husband. I
found out that he was going to be on a
work trip then, so that raised the stakes for my
being there. I know that he won't be able to go,
so I made a note not to schedule over it
unless something really really important came up.

Speaker 1 (01:42):
When people send.

Speaker 2 (01:42):
Me electronic calendar invites, I note these times in my
paper calendar, and maybe just the person who sent the invite,
so I can retrieve the details online. I'm generally not
copying phone numbers and access codes in that paper calendar.
But one of the reasons I like paper is that
I can see at a glance if the day is
getting too full. I also like to see if a
day looks completely open. If it does or looks almost open,

I might try to keep it open or transfer something
out of that day. I love looking at white space
on my calendar. Now I know a lot of people
have to keep electronic calendars for work. It makes sense
you're supposed to be able to give other people access
so they can schedule meetings. Though I have to say
this requirement is probably one of the leading causes of
the proliferation of meetings in the corporate world. The fact

that a time is open does not mean that you
need or want to meet, or that a meeting would
be the best use of that time. But that's a
subject for a different episode. This one is about why
you should have all your work in personal commitments in
one place, and maybe some people see no reason for this.
I mean they work very specific hours and basically never

have personal commitments that would come up during these hours.
Work is work, home is home.

Speaker 1 (02:54):
Never the two shall meet.

Speaker 2 (02:55):
For many of us, though, work life integration is more
the name of the game these days. If you have
a relatively flexible job, it's very frustrating to schedule a
nice but not critical work event at a time when
it turns out there's something you really did want to
go do in your personal life. It may be complicated
to extricate yourself, or you might not be able to
and then you'll be kicking yourself. I call this an

own goal situation in the game of work life balance.

Speaker 1 (03:21):
You'd like to avoid that. So, if you do need to.

Speaker 2 (03:23):
Keep an electronic calendar for work, how can you make
sure you're seeing all your personal commitments too. The most
straightforward way is to just put your personal commitments on
your work calendar. This is pretty much what my husband does.
He notes when I'm gone overnight, so he's aware of this,
and his assistant is aware that when he's awaking work
travel arrangements he needs to take that in mind.

Speaker 1 (03:44):
He puts when he's supposed to pick up.

Speaker 2 (03:46):
A kid somewhere, so he knows he needs to be
back in time for that. He puts his and the
kid's dental appointments that he covers and things like that.
From what I gather, his perspective is that our lives
are boring enough that there aren't real privacy concerns. With this,
his colleagues are aware that he has a family, and
this also helps other people know that if they'd like
to meet with him, certain times are better than others.

Even if you do have more privacy concerns, You can
always just put a code word on your calendar or
just label things personal if you're pretty sure you won't
forget what that means. So, for instance, if you're seeing
a specialist for something that is really none of your
colleagues's business, that's how you could still make sure no
one schedules you into something for that time unless there's
a really good reason. Of course, some people can't access

their work calendars at home, which creates a different issue.
If you can't see your work schedule on the weekend
and you're discussing who can do kid pick up during
the week with your spouse when you're talking out a Sunday, well,
that's just not going to work. When I ask my
followers on Twitter for their suggestions for people who can't
or don't want to keep everything on their work calendars,
I got a lot of great ideas. Some people can

import their work calendars into a Google calendar that they
keep as their master life calendar. Some people use apps
that allow them to import commitments from multiple places and
then see all these commitments in one place on their phones.
Fantastical two is one app that got a shout out
for that. If an automatic solution isn't going to work,
you might need to enter your work schedule manually into

your personal calendar and then make notes on your work
calendar of times where you can't be scheduled, But as
much as possible, make sure you're aware of the whole
landscape of time when you're making commitments. If you know
your kid has a choire concert on a day when
you're supposed to speak at a conference, then you can
be empowered to request an early time slot and make

it back in time for the concert. That feels like
a work life win rather than one of those no
one can have at all moments. You can't score that
win though, Unless you see the full picture of time,
you are one person. You have one set of hours,
and that's why I think it's worth trying to keep
one calendar. If you need to keep an electronic calendar

for work and have come up with a good way
to make sure your work and personal commitments are reflected
in one place, please let me know. You can email
me at Before Breakfast podcast at iHeartMedia dot com. In
the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening, and here's
to making the most of our time.

Speaker 1 (06:16):
Hey everybody, I'd love to hear from you. You can
send me your tips, your questions, or anything else. Just
connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at Before
Breakfast Pod. That's b E the number four then Breakfast pod.
You can also shoot me an email at Before Breakfast

podcast at iHeartMedia dot com that Before Breakfast is spelled
out with all the letters. Thanks so much, should I
look forward to staying in touch. Before Breakfast is a
production of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your

favorite show. Oh to loa

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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