Eps 005: Intentional Calendar – Time Management for Busy People

May 10, 2023

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If you’re the kind of person who’s week is often full on and chaotic, and you feel like you have no way to take control of your life, let alone that of your family’s then it’s time you implemented the Intentional Calendar.

Think of this as life planning made easy, and time management made easier especially when you’re juggling young kids, working from home and wanting to have a life with more freedom.

The Intentional Calendar is simple at heart – it’s about being more intentional about how you want to spend your time, then scheduling that time in a calendar for all to see, so you are clear on what’s your time, work time, family time and play time.

The Intentional Calendar is a transformative tool when you invest 30-60 minutes upfront to plan it out and set it up as the new rhythm for your life. Listen in or watch below to learn how.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How to use an Intentional Calendar to plan your whole week with intention
  • Why this is especially helpful for busy working parents with young kids
  • How this practice can transform your life into one of ease, certainty and more freedom

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Transcript

Let me ask you a question. Do you have a perfect week planned out where everything that’s really important to you gets your main priority and focus?

Or are you kind of helter skelter just winging your way through every single day, letting other people’s shit kind of fall on your shoulders and putting what really matters to you to the side?

Or are you just a hot mess that every single day you kind of wish that you had a plan or some semblance of a structure that would give you way more freedom.

Well, if you were any of those, I am really excited today because in this episode of the Life Pilot Podcast, I’m gonna share with you what an intentional calendar is and how it may just transform your life.

Okay, so we, my husband and I are now parents. Let’s be fair. We’ve been parents for the better part of 21 months, and it has definitely changed the way in which we live, work, and connect as a family on every single front.

No more are we these single free, loving people who get to do whatever we want with our time.

No, we have a toddler in our life and. As much as we are a super independent, awesome family,  he still does dictate a lot of what goes on in our life when he wakes up, when he naps, what mood he’s in.

Typically, he is one of the happiest kids I have ever met, which I am so eternally grateful for.  However things get in the way, life gets in the way, and we’ve quickly realized that I guess the way we used to operate is just never, ever gonna be the same.

And so for the last six months or so, ever since I came off maternity leave, so when Leonardo, our gorgeous little boy, turned 18 months, I went from pretty much being full-time to three quarter full-time mom into Josh and I split sharing our time with Leo. And that needed to instigate some change in our life.

We’ve always been a really great team, but suddenly we had to divvy up our time around our multiple businesses to make life work with Leo and have fun time with him so that when we were with him, we were fully present with him.

So if you’re a busy entrepreneur and parent, this is definitely going to help you out a lot.

And even if you’re not, it’s still gonna be really, really transformative for you. So stay tuned.

So what we started trialing about six months ago was kind of a rhythm that would allow each of us to have a little bit more time in any given day. When we were with Leo, we were fully focused on him.

When we weren’t, we got to do whatever we wanted, which was, typically work, but it could be just, you know, going to town, get the shopping or catching up with friends.

Whatever it was, it was our time to do with what we wished and it was precious because it might only be a couple of hours and we got into this really cool rhythm where, we love doing a lot together.

I personally love, sounds weird, I love changing nappies with Josh. It’s like our family time. I love doing bath time together. When we were putting him down for his nightly sleep, reading books together, singing to him, it was all really lovely to do it together.

But we also noticed that it was just sometimes nice to have your own evening to yourself or lunchtime to yourself or whatever it may be.

And so we started working out a bit of a schedule where, whoever was popping him to bed at night would also be the person who would be waking up in the morning with him for that particular period.

And then you’d switch over that day and the next person would be putting him to bed at night, getting up in the morning with him, et cetera.

And then throughout the day, we would really kind of base it on who had live calls, projects, coaching lectures, whatever it may be, who needed to go into town, or who needed to go to an event, and who was able to be here with Leo.

So we started getting a good rhythm and we would actually calendarize quite a lot of that.

And then we got Leo into a beautiful daycare very close by and it’s absolutely amazing. And suddenly we were able to take that intentional calendar up a notch.

So we were able to now say, great, if he’s at daycare four days a week from 8:30am till 3:30 PM then we know exactly who needs to be, one on drop-offs on pickups, on dinner, all these sorts of things, and that’s what I’m gonna reveal to you.

In this episode. I’m gonna actually literally share with you a calendar.

If you are listening to this on audio, I highly recommend you actually watch this as a video podcast because I am sharing my screen to show you our calendar, just so that you can fully immerse yourself in what I’m talking about, but I’ll do my best to describe it in an audio fashion for you as well.

So we use a Google calendar . It took us about an hour, one evening to really dial it in maybe 45 minutes and colour code things and then it was done.

intentional calendar for busy people

And we have been living by this for the better part of over a month.  And it is absolutely transformative because it’s, as I said, taken our previous version of the calendar, which was a little bit looser, but definitely had structure and allowed us more freedom, to the next level.

What I love about it is there is inbuilt flexibility because life happens, right?

So at the time we’re recording this, poor little Leo has picked up a pretty bad daycare bug and he is at home with us. And the beauty of having our flexible, intentional calendar is that we know that we can drop into Monday mode,  and Monday is when we both take care of Leo and he’s not at daycare.

So at any given point, if anything happens, we know we just drop into default Monday mode where we are both sharing our time with looking after Leo, and also getting on with the rest of our lives.

So here’s how we break down our week, and if it serves you well, please steal it. And obviously you need to change it to working with your lifestyle.

But if you are a busy parent, feel free to go ahead and take as much of this as you want. Now granted our schedule is for two entrepreneurs who work from home and have a child at daycare for four days a week.

So, obviously you need to work around your own schedule, but I thought it would be enlightening for you to see, because I know a lot more people are working from home these days and so this may really apply to you.

So, as I said, we start with the first day of the week, Monday, which is a day that we are both working from home and we both have Leo.

On that particular day, one of us starts the morning with Leo, and Mondays is Nat. So basically in my calendar I have marked out six 30 till eight 30. Nat Leo time.

And then from 8:30 till 12:30, I’m actually still with Leo because on a Monday morning he has a swim lesson at 1230 is kind of handover time.

And that is when Leo often goes down for his nap and once he wakes up for his nap. Josh has Leo until 5:00 PM So yes, Monday looks like a bit of a longer day for me, but we can switch out and swap mornings and afternoons with each other. Now the beauty is that whoever has LEO for the afternoon is then actually on.  Dinner.

So the minute 5:00 PM comes around, we’ve kind of made it a rule in our house that everybody stops. It’s playtime, it’s socializing time, it’s getting ready for dinner and the evening time. So at five o’clock I come in and I get to play with Leo and his playroom, which is also connected to our lounge.

I get to chat and connect with Josh, and Josh is making dinner. Josh is also doing the dishes. Now that might sound a little bit harsh to you.

But why does this work? Because once we’ve had dinner, it’s Nat’s time to take Leo for a bath, and I shift into my evening with Leo.

So it is bath time with Leo and then to bed where we read books, we sing songs, and he drifts off to sleep peacefully in five minutes…mmm, that’d be nice. But normally it’s like a 20 to 30 minute process for getting Leo off into dreamland.

In that time, Josh has finished washing out and now he has free time. It is his evening to himself, and frankly, it’s also my evening to myself. So we can choose to spend it together, or we can choose to work on other things, read books, whatever it may be.

And then in the morning, Josh is on Leo, same time period, 6:30 AM to 8:30. Now to be fair, Leo is actually a pretty decent sleeper and he typically gets up around anywhere between sort of seven and eight. And often we are in a little bit of a dash to get him to daycare on time, but also, It’s flexible, right?

So that is now Josh’s morning, and then Leo is at daycare. And so now we both have basically until three 30 to do whatever the heck we want. And we also, slot in around our two businesses.

Tuesday is the day that our part-time project manager, Aaron, comes over and co-works with us from our house. So typically Tuesday for me from about 9:00 AM or even 8:30 AM till probably about midday, one o’clock, I am focused on Fraemohs Homes, our sustainable home building business.

I’m co-working with Aaron. We’re going over schedules, we’re talking through business. I’m working with clients. I’m following up leads. I’m doing marketing. I’m helping project manage whatever it may be.

And then, before Leo pickup time, I often will get in some. LifePilot time, some content creation or maybe even planning.

That is then my time for me to do what I want. I might also just head into town, go to a cafe, I might go on a walk, whatever it may be. And usually when it’s my morning off, I’ve done my workout first thing in the morning, which is really cool.

When you don’t have a morning with your child or children, then it’s your time to you. So I love basically Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, because I definitely get a workout and usually around 6:30am, but also on the mornings  that I’m with Leo, if he’s waking up later, I can also go out and do a workout in our workshop, which is great cause it’s handy and convenient.

Although I’m sure as winter comes into play, it’s gonna be a little less motivating to go out in to the cold. So I’ll probably switch to yoga in the lounge room.

Anyway, I digress. So then I am picking, Leo up at 3:30 PM. And then I have him to play that afternoon. And we often go on a walk with the dogs up into the forest.

We just have fun time, snacks, reading books, whatever it may be. And then I’m onto dinner at 5:00 PM and Josh takes over with Leo. I make the dinner, I clean the dishes, and then I am home free the evening. While Josh is doing bath time and popping Leo to bed,  and that rinses and repeats throughout the week, which is great.

Also on both Wednesday and Friday,  I have this blue time and that is definitely LifePilot focus  time, so on. Wednesday and Friday. I’ve kind of made it that those are my days to work on life pilot very specifically.

I will do some Fraemohs time in the morning, when Aaron’s here, beause we usually have our team meeting on a Friday morning.

But then it’s not as important for me to be focusing on that all day, because I’ve already done all of Tuesday, all of Thursday, and often little moments throughout other days of the week.

So for me that has been huge because I really needed the ability to have a context switch between businesses.

You can imagine the construction industry and home building is incredibly different to LifePilot and working through goal setting and your ideal  lifestyle.  They’re just two totally different things.

One is very, very in-person, real physical. The other is, you know, very, very much online. So it needs a context switch and I literally need to block it out in my calendar to commit my.

And I literally need to block it out in the calendar in a different color to commit to myself, to showing up for them.

Also, creating content and coming up with ideas and restructuring curriculums and creating courses and learning and working with clients and coaching, that is a very different energy field that you need to be operating in.

It’s a different part of your brain. And often I need more time to get into the content creation mode, whereas with Fraemohs Homes, I can just instantly get straight into email and task and work, and it’s a very sort of tactical operational business. So I like the context switch and I love the variety that it gives me, but I definitely need to.

You know, mark out in my calendar when I am switching into that context. And as you can see, this just has given us so much freedom for the very reason that we never ever have to say to each other anymore.

‘Have you got Leo now? Or am I on Leo?’ Or if I really need to get something done? And I’m with Leo. I often used to get like frustrated that I hadn’t better managed my time, or I’d have to go knock on Josh’s door and say, ‘Can you just have him for 15 minutes?’

Because I needed to have gotten this thing done and I forgot about it. Because life is apparent, right? Your brain is used up in many, many ways and there’s lots of things flying at you, and life admin is a real thing.

So this has helped us immensely with. The life admin part of life, we no longer need to think about it.

We are rostered on in some sense to have fun time with our gorgeous boy.  And because we know that it’s our time, we can be fully present, fully happy, fully engaged in the moment we can choose whether we wanna take him to the park, on walks, how we wanna play with him. It allows the other person to plan ahead for dinner.

There’s no arguments, there’s no guilt, there’s no, there’s no last minute negotiations and it’s certainly removed a ton of the. I guess stress between Josh and I about, well, could you have him for now?

Or, I didn’t realize that you needed this. It also allows us, because we do quite a lot of recording and videos and podcasts and content like this, it allows us to know when the quiet times are.

So right now Leo is napping and normally he’d be at daycare, but because he’s got the sickness, he’s at home.  So this is my time to get this done. There’s no building going on outside that is audible luckily, although the people were fixing the roof this morning.

So there’s always fun and games around here, right? And you just have to make your life work around those things. The biggest thing I’d say about our intentional calendar is the freedom it gives us for changing things. So as I said, Monday is that Flexy time where Josh and I split our care and time with Leo.

And so if anything else happens throughout the week where he needs to be home from daycare or one of us gets sick or something happens, we just switched into Monday mode, which is incredibly helpful to have that flexibility.

We also have backups like good friends, because it takes a village, right? If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. So we have good friends who can sometimes come in if one of us is away. Right now we have an amazing WWOOFER, a willing worker who works on an organic farm.

So basically, works in return for board and food. She has become a firm favourite with Leo. Those two have become besties and so a part of her WWOOFING activity has actually been helping us out with Leo, which has been an absolute gift, especially this week because it’s allowed three of us to look after the gorgeous little boy, not just two.

And it’s given us immense, flexibility in being able to still get things done even though he’s home with us. The other thing I love about it is, every single evening one of us is on the boy, but it also means that we can get in a babysitter.

So maybe let’s say Wednesday, we want it to be date night going forward then we will get a babysitter on every second Wednesday and they take over the popping of Leo to bed and the book reading and all those good things, and we go out for dinner or whatever we want to do.

On weekends we, again, have actually started scheduling Leo time. So Saturday is also a scheduled day.So reading off my calendar, Josh has him when he first wakes up and actually right through until his first nap.

That allows me to go off and do anything, catch up with friends, maybe play some sport, and basically get out for the morning of Saturday or if I’ve got a little bit of content creation to do, if I want to go on a bike ride or a swim or a hike or something, you know, that’s gonna take a longer period of time.

That’s my time. And then I have him from 12;30pm or whenever he wakes up until five. And then, We both do dinner again, but Josh is popping him to bed.

Sunday is joint day. We both get up at the same time with Leo, and it’s a big family day. No work, no devices. We’re out and about. We’re on bicycles, we’re visiting friends.

Also what’s really cool about having Monday and Sunday is essentially joint days, is that we can have long weekends pretty easily. So just to clarify, Monday is a scheduled day of mornings and afternoons and Sundays are fully joint day together.

But we can negotiate throughout the day if we want. Like, ‘Hey, I’d actually really like to go off to this thing. Is it okay if I have an hour or two?’ 100%. But generally, Sunday is fun day and family day.

So I really hope that that’s helped you out. What you can also schedule in here is your workout time, is your calls, all those things.

Of course, you can put in all your other calendar events, but basically anytime you are not with your child and doing childcare and hanging out and having fun, it’s your time to schedule and everything else.

So I know when it’s not my morning. That’s 6:30am to 8:30am for Josh is actually my workout time, meditation, time planning, whatever it may be.

It’s inherent, it’s built in and it’s epic. And it can be flexible and you can, make it what you want.

But if you are looking at this and going, oh, it looks so packed, or it all looks so rigid.

It’s actually immensely freeing.  As I said, it takes the decision making out of everything.

It takes a negotiation out of every single thing, and it gives you the freedom to know that what you’ve got in terms of space and time every single week for planning things out.

So if you have launches, if you have major projects, if you have conferences you need to go to, you can work within this intentional calendar to make it flexible and to work for all of you.

So this intentional calendar is actually part of our life pilot methodology and process. If you’ve enjoyed it you can find out how the whole thing works in an upcoming live cohort happening in a couple of weeks.

So head across to LifePilot.co for full details of that, and we’ll show you the exact breakdown of how we teach you to systematically design your ideal lifestyle so that you are living your best life.

You feel amazing about it, you feel empowered. You get to make the impact you want, and you get to live in the present and enjoy every single moment and feel like you’re winning it life.

Download the free Perfect Day Exercise Template

And if you enjoyed listening to this, can you do me a favour? If you’ve enjoyed listening to this episode, can you share it please with your hardworking parental friends who are deep in the chaos of trying to figure out all the things, leading a really busy life, trying to balance all the demands who might just benefit from understanding how to set an intentional calendar.

Sure. There’s a little bit of work up front and a little bit of negotiation and chatting with your wonderful partner and even your kids, depending on the age they are.

But this investment will make a lifetime of delicious, calm, relaxed, sorted scheduling forevermore. And also, if you’ve enjoyed this episode, not only can you share it, you can head across and leave a little rating and review on whatever podcast platform you’re listening to.

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About the Author

Natalie Sisson

I'm a serial entrepreneur, besotted Mum, best-selling author, speaker, podcaster and lifestyle design enthusiast. I'm all about showing you how to live life to the full, on your own terms and by design.

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