Clearing The Calendar Clutter
From time to time I like to have a clear out. I’m getting pretty good at it around the house. Things will start to pile up and, just before it reaches the teetering stages, I put it away, take it to charity or recycle it. What I haven’t been so good about in the past is doing the same with our calendar management.
I try to ensure that our boys can do everything that they would like to do. We squeeze the diary left right and centre to fit in parties, out of school lessons, groups, play dates and more. I don’t think we’re alone in this and it’s no wonder that we can feel frazzled on any given night of the week.
So recently I made a decision to clear the calendar clutter. Take it back to basics. What do they really need? What do we really need?
First things first. Family time. All too often our diary was packed from morning to night every single day. We sought out arranging play dates, squeezing in parties, charity events and more. What we were missing was time to just be together. At the beginning of the year we resolved to take more family walks at the weekend and exploring woodland has quickly become a staple of our calendar. Sometimes though, it’s about just putting down the phone, putting away the diary, and relaxing. We are equally happy at home as we are exploring the countryside. The boys love our garden and race around to their hearts’ content (we are fortunate to be blessed with very relaxed neighbours!). They also love having an opportunity to do whatever they want to do – play board games, create Lego worlds and conduct science experiments for example.
Next my husband and I thought about what we loved from our childhood, what our children enjoy, and what they need to have some of in their life. Guidelines suggest (and studies support) that children should get around an hour of physical exercise every day for example. So swimming lessons were definitely staying in. We tried fitting another sporting activity in too but it proved too much where times of sessions just didn’t really align with the end of school through to evening meal and bath and bedtime routine. In came after school park play, walks home and trips to wildlife areas en route instead.
After that we concentrated on what the boys don’t get lots of at primary school. Music, socialising and general knowledge skills. I loved my time in Brownies and Guides, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed Cubs and Scouts. Signing our boys up to The Scout Association has been excellent. General knowledge and transferable skills are concentrated on in abundance, through Lego nights, musical performance, camping, orienteering, star gazing and more. I am very glad to have found a suitable group and this is, and I’m sure will remain, one of our top priorities.
Finally, couple time. My husband and I rarely sit down together. We’re often working, organising, shopping or doing DIY jobs. Sometimes we’re out at meetings or networking events. We both work hard but we don’t really take time off from that and it is important. So, although it has fallen to the bottom of our priority list, we are trying to consciously clear the diary from time to time in the evening and just sit, and talk, and laugh. We put the world to rights and discuss everything from abysmal political decisions to travel to retirement plans. I know we’re not nearly at the last one yet, but we can dream, can’t we?
And the result of this calendar decluttering process? First of all we feel more relaxed. There’s less rushing around and more thinking and listening and talking time. Secondly, we’re finding that creativity is edging back into all of our lives. The boys were brimming with it and now they have the chance to casually explore their ideas and bring to life their masterpieces, be it with chalk on the ground outside, junk modelling or through musical composition. I love it! We also have proper days out now. Not snatched time in between everything else, but nice long time out going explore different places. Whole days set to one side that can be filled with a spontaneous trip out. We actually find that clearing some things from our calendar has allowed more budget for the days out too – bonus! But that’s for another post 😉
How do you organise your diary? Does your to-do list run from morning to night or do you give yourself time off to just be?
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