I live and die by my daily calendar these days. Without it, I’d probably never make a work meeting and the doctor’s appointments or remember anyone’s birthday. Even events I’m looking forward to, like dinners with friends, plays and concerts, are etched into my calendar for my life’s sake.
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We are all ruled by our calendars, but we often forget to take a second and reflect on the effect these planners have on our lives. Seeing a doctor’s appointment can literally cause a pit of dread in my stomach, while I light up every time I see the date for a play I’m really looking forward to seeing.
If you’re already practicing mindfulness meditation or are planning on getting into it, you may be surprised to learn your daily calendar can play a big role in your personal exploration.
Since this type of meditation is focused on you recognizing the true realities of your daily life and current situation, what’s a better place to start than your day by day schedule? Take a look at the following three reasons why you need to take more than a five-second glance at your calendar.
1. It Raises The Right Questions
Nothing on your calendar is set in stone. There are things you can’t avoid, like getting that physical done or attending your child’s play, but other things may have some wiggle room. Take a look at each event listed on your calendar at the start of the month, one by one.
Take note of how each thing makes you feel, whether it’s dread, happiness or indifference. Ask yourself why you are doing the items you dread or are indifferent to. Are you going to 15 meetings because your workplace isn’t time-efficient or is too micro-managed?
Is that dinner with a friend you’ve grown annoyed with or apart from just a habit as opposed to an activity you really enjoy?
Don’t avoid the tough questions when it comes to your calendar. It can be hard to admit, for example, that you no longer care for an old friend, but you’re wasting your time if you’re spending any with him or her.
Figure out why each event makes you feel like it does, and if it’s negative or pointless, look into what you can do to change that. It may be a simple of matter of you simply saying “No,” or a larger issue, such as there being a problem with time management at your work that has snowballed into meetings that aren’t necessary or productive.
2. The Answers Can Bring About Change
Once you start taking steps toward making your calendar a more positive place, you can bring significant changes to your life. Righting your calendar as much as possible will help to remove wasted time, stress and even some frustration from your daily life.
Use the empty spots in your calendar after your purge to schedule things you enjoy, but don’t be afraid to let some days or time blocks go empty. A little unscheduled free time allows for some spontaneity in your life, which is great in general but especially needed if you feel like you’re in a rut.
An unplanned lazy day can also be a great gift, so don’t underestimate the rejuvenating power of binge-watching your favorite TV show in your pajamas on your couch now and again.
3. It Helps Breed Acceptance
You can’t drop everything from your calendar. There will be meetings you have to attend and appointments you can’t miss for the sake of your health and well-being. But, if you review your calendar, you can move toward accepting what you can’t change.
The stress of facing something we don’t want to do can be surprisingly overwhelming, and it often builds and builds until the event is over. Once you’ve cleared your calendar as much as possible, take the time to review the events you’re not looking forward to.
On the opposite side, if you’re a person who continually puts off things you don’t want to do, such as cancelling that dentist’s appointment at the last minute, use this time to drive home why you have to do these things.
Strengthen your reserve for handling things you really are dreading by ticking off all the reasons you have to make this appointment or meeting mentally and what may happen if you don’t. Motivate yourself to tackle those things and move forward with your life.