This final installment of the Steer Your Ship series starts with a bunch of insightful and genius questions, which you can listen to below, or you can get the abridged version and talk about your calendar. It’s the key to finding your rhythm.
Let’s create a personal calendar that takes time off for rest, allows steadiness or experimentation to take the stage, and that actively accounts for your energetic ebbing and flowing.
In my case, that means using times of peak energy to plan for the lower months. I call it a depression calendar: reasons to get out of the house when the sun sets at 4:30 p.m. and I’d rather be in bed than anywhere at all.
I’ve covered this in depth in episode 78, Depression: A Working Theory, but here’s the gist from a few years of playing with the methodology.
Finding a rhythm is all about making yourself do what you know you need.
Find reasons to leave the house if you’re naturally a hermit.
Find reasons to get dressed up if you’re always in sweatpants.
Find reasons to stay in if you’re always out and about.
Plan for the time you NEED.
The time you need is *not* the time you necessarily want in moments of exhaustion, which is how you end up wasting six hours every weekend morning scrolling, unable to find anything to do. It’s a recipe for misery and makes you feel all four kinds of tired.
If you’re like, YES BUT WHAT GOES ON THIS CALENDAR KRISTEN, hang with me.
You’re going to scour the internet and local bulletin boards for activities of all kinds.
Free places to look for activity inspiration include:
+ your local library calendar (Mister Rogers’ biographer is coming to Philadelphia!)
+ ongoing classes at the gym or pool that are free with membership
+ book release dates (add a reminder to order from the library when they’re released if you’re a recovering book-buying fiend ::coughBOOKWORMSFOREVER::cough)
+ festival calendars
+ outdoor exploration (which parks are nearby that you haven’t been to? Hiking trails? Lakes, mountains, bridges?)
+ any marches, walks, or protests you might want to attend (i.e. The Women’s March 2019)
+ pop-up art or shopping events in your area i.e. handmade markets for the holidays
+ new bookshops or coffee shops to visit (maybe this is only appealing to me, since I work from a coffee shop and love books so much? Here are my top 8 bookstores on earth.)
+ courses, books, or programs you’ve downloaded but haven’t yet completed
+ this equation.
Any Activity + Snacks = A PARTY!
Viewing party! Reading party! Painting party! Rock climbing party! Manicure party! Knitting party! Clothing exchange party! ALL THE PARTIES! (Also parties can have 2 people. You and a friend make a party.)
Paid activities include:
+ concert calendars
+ movie release dates (isn’t seeing a movie on the big screen just BETTER?)
+ the local university’s Continuing Education classes
+ local ‘learning tree’ or nonprofit classes for enrichment (I’m taking yoga dance on Thursdays!)
+ holiday activities (corn mazes! Trick or treating! Sleigh rides! Pub crawls!)
+ local hotel stays (Tuesday night at a 4-star hotel in winter is 60-70% off the usual rate)
+ theater calendars (our local nonprofit theater plays Home Alone each year on the big screen for $5, free for members)
+ museum calendars (which artists and exhibits are coming to town?)
+ tourist attractions in your area (when’s the last time you showed another human where you live — what would you take them to see or do?)
+ Atlas Obscura landmarks
+ restaurant week calendars
+ cat cafe reservations (caffeine and cats = winning)
+ this equation.
Animal + Any Physical Activity = ADORABLE EXERCISE!
Goat yoga! Horse yoga! Cat yoga! These are real things!
Now, take it one step further.
Schedule any haircare, skincare, acupuncture, chiropractic visits, massages, or other bodily maintenance appointments months in advance. The sooner they’re locked into the calendar, the more likely you are to attend them. (Yes I know all about how you want to cancel the night before and the day of the appointment, but even if you *do* cancel, your next appointment is already made.)
You can plan to do better. WE can plan to do better.
The last thing my brain wants to do in January is come up with this stuff, since my brain is locked into existential ennui rivaling that of the French philosophers every winter. From here, though — at peak energy as summer closes — I know I’d freaking LOVE to take that class, see those paintings, hear that author speak, and watch that movie on release day.
Finally, you can make space to enrich yourself.
I’m not talking hashtag self care and scheduling a bath for next October. I’m talking about putting time on the calendar months from now to do the activities you most enjoy but ‘never have time for,’ whether that’s painting, skiing, writing, hiding from your family in a cabin on a lake (highly recommended), or actually reading the books you’ve purchased and formed into a wobbly bedside tower that threatens to kill you in your sleep.
You can give yourself things to look forward to — and those things don’t have to be dictated by your business, your kids, your partner, your pets, or your friends.
But you’ve gotta find a rhythm, then build that rhythm into your calendar from a few weeks or months out. (You can try doing this planning work for tomorrow, but it’s much harder to move events you’ve already committed to than to avoid committing to them in the first place.)
You don’t have to spin your wheels in overwhelm.
You don’t have to describe yourself as ‘busy’ to everyone who asks.
You don’t have to drown in tasks that no longer resonate with your business or your being.
And you certainly don’t have to give yourself over to misery and drudgery in the coming months.
Those are the four tenets of the Steer Your Ship curriculum, and registration for the program closes September 24th!