Episode: How to Conquer a Chaotic Calendar
This episode of Lead to Win is brought to you by Free to Focus, a total productivity system to help you slay distractions, free up time, and focus on your biggest priorities. Find out more at freetofocus.com.
Michael Hyatt: Hey, I’m Michael Hyatt, and this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work, succeed at life, and lead with confidence. This week’s episode is going to be a little bit different. We’re fresh off our first ever Achieve conference, which just wrapped up here in Nashville, and it was an incredible experience. We had almost 1,000 people gathered for the conference to focus solely on achieving more with the Full Focus system. This week, we want to share some of that outstanding content with you.
Normally, as you know if you’re a regular listener, I’m joined here in the studio by my daughter and our chief operating officer Megan Hyatt Miller, but today, Meg gets top billing as we share her keynote session from the Achieve conference. She spoke about how to tame a chaotic calendar, and it was really compelling. As leaders, and especially as leaders who have busy families, which some of us do, the calendar can spiral out of control very quickly. Right? It doesn’t take long before you’re dropping important personal or family events, and that makes us feel like, well, a failure.
Here’s the good news: as a top executive and mother of four, Meg has mastered the art of taming a chaotic calendar and making her calendar her friend. In this episode, she shares three steps for protecting your highest priorities. When we’re done, you’ll have the freedom to be fully present wherever you are. Before I share this talk with you, I want to tell you that until Thursday, September 27, you can join my master productivity course Free to Focus.
Free to Focus is my complete productivity system designed to help high-achievers achieve more while…get this…doing less. This system will help save you up to 20 hours of work each week and end your overwhelming workweeks. In just a minute, Megan will share one of the principles from Free to Focus in her talk. If you want to go deep with this comprehensive productivity system, then join now at freetofocus.com/register. Remember, enrollment is only open until this Thursday at midnight, so join now at freetofocus.com/register.
By the way, we also have a great bonus episode coming up this week that features Amy Porterfield talking about the miracle of mega-batching at the Achieve conference. She was terrific, so be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss it. Right now, here is Megan.
Male: Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome to the stage Megan Hyatt Miller!
Megan Hyatt Miller: I was feeling great about myself. I got up on time. I made the kids breakfast, and I’m not talking about pop tarts. I had my hair done, my makeup was on, and, guys, I even shaved my legs. I was on a roll, and I knew it. Then I pulled into my son Moses’ school to drop him off, and there was something strange. There were no cars in the car line. I thought to myself, “Did I get the time wrong or is it a half day of school or something funny like that?”
Then I noticed something else. All of the moms were walking their kids into school, hand in hand, not in the car line. So I drove a little farther and got up to the double doors of the school, and all of a sudden I started to see a sign. It said, “Muffins with Mom: 7:30-7:55.” My heart sank. To me it said, “You’re a failure: 7:30-7:55.” Moses was in the back seat, and I turned around, and he said, “Mom, can you take me in?” I knew I couldn’t, because I had a flight to catch in less than two hours and I was barely going to make it as is.
Well, he kind of wiped the disappointment off his face, and he said, “That’s okay, Mom.” He got his little backpack on and opened the door of the Suburban and got out and walked in alone. Meanwhile, I burst into tears on the spot, because I had blown it and I knew it. How could I have forgotten this once-a-year event? How could I have let it slip my mind? But it did. The truth is that events like this usually happen because of a chaotic calendar.
You know what it’s like. You’ve been there. You get up early. You skip your workout because there’s not quite enough time. You race out the door. You get to the office, and it’s meetings and requests and projects. Maybe you skip lunch. You run by the vending machine and grab a Snickers bar and a Coke. (Don’t ask me how I know.) Then you leave work just a little bit too late and miss the soccer game or at least the goal your son kicked, the only one of the game.
You get home, and you’re discouraged and exhausted. Right? Sometimes it just feels like your calendar owns you instead of you owning your calendar. Maybe you’re not a parent, but maybe you’ve missed important events with an aging parent or a close friend or you’ve been at your office and you feel like your calendar is just busting at the seams. There’s not enough time to get to the work that actually drives results.
How in the world are we supposed to get it all done? I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can feel like your calendar is the enemy. I’ve spent years trying to crack this code, and I’ve had a lot of trial and error, sometimes more error, but I’ve found a solution along the way that has changed my life. So today, I want to share with you three simple steps you can use to help your calendar be your ally in protecting your biggest priorities.
Before we get into step one, I want to say this: We all know what it feels like to drop the ball. I’ve been there myself more times than I can count. Can we finally admit that we have too many balls in the air? We just can’t do it all. We have finite resources. We accept this for everything but ourselves. We know that when our car is low on gas if we don’t pull into that gas station, we’re going to be in a world of trouble. If we don’t plug our phone in at night, it’s going to be dead when we wake up in the morning. If we don’t change the light bulbs, they’re not going to turn on.
If it’s impossible to get it all done, we can’t make that our definition of success. That’s why the first step is to define the win. You don’t have to do it all to win at work and succeed at life. Instead, we have to define winning as achieving the things that matter most at home and at work. I’m talking about the things that drive results. Only you know what that means for you, but you get to define what success looks like. And thank goodness it doesn’t mean doing it all.
I love this quote by former Disney executive Anne Sweeney. She says, “Define success on your own terms, and achieve it by your own rules. Build a life you’re proud to live.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty satisfying to me. So, when you start to think about defining the win, here are a couple of questions at work, for example. First, “What’s my unique contribution? What are the things that only I can do, and which of my activities drive the biggest results?”
For me, I know I’m winning at work when we’re meeting or exceeding our financial goals, when our leadership team is growing in their leadership and effectiveness, when I’m delegating at a high level and I’m very clear on where I add the most value, and when I’m proactively growing my own leadership and our vision for the future of our company. My win does not look like attending every meeting or making every decision. It’s just impossible.
At home, I want to define the win there too, because that really matters. So I ask this question: “Where can I invest my time so the people I love feel loved by me?” Secondly (this is a hard one), “How do I want to be remembered by the people who matter the most to me?” For me, a win at home is about prioritizing my self-care outside or beyond social opportunities. I’m not trying to keep up with the Joneses.
It means being the one who opens the door for my kids at the end of the day when they’re home after school. It means eating dinner around our table and practicing gratitude and connection, and it means spending time with my husband, having fun and connecting outside of our shared role as parents. You know that’s important.
My win, personally, does not look like doing travel soccer or PTO president or volunteering for class parties, not that there’s anything wrong with any of those. That’s just not what my win looks like. That’s why you have to define your win. So, how will you define your win at home? See, we have to decide which wins we’re going to pursue and which ones we’re not going to pursue so we can invest our limited time for maximum return on investment.
That brings us to the second step: establish your nonnegotiables. This is really important. It’s kind of like what Jeff was talking about during the panel earlier. Once you’ve defined the win, we have to make it really, really practical. I want you to block recurring items on your calendar in three categories, because as my dad says (this is a little nod to you, Dad), what gets scheduled gets done. It’s true, isn’t it?
If you don’t establish nonnegotiables, the important things in your life, they just get crowded out. We all have things we would love to get to, but we feel like we can never get there. It’s kind of like budgeting money, though. If we don’t pay our mortgage at the beginning of the month and try to do it with the leftovers, it’s not going to get paid, but too often we do that with our time, and our most important priorities never make it on our calendars.
That’s where we can actually leverage our calendars to help us protect our most important priorities in advance. Here’s what I believe: your calendar is not your enemy. So often we feel like we live under this tyranny of our calendar, like it’s working against us, like my “Muffins with Mom” story. Everything was conspiring to make me feel like, “You’re a failure: 7:30-7:55.” In reality, it was just kind of a disorganized mess that day. I want us to shift our perspective to this: Your calendar is your ally. You can use it to guard your most important priorities.
So, how do we start to think about this practically? Well, I think there are three important categories to consider, but I want to tell you one thing before we get into those. You can’t have too many nonnegotiables in each of these categories. Some of you may be tempted, like I am, to get really ambitious, and you want to put a whole bunch in each category. The problem is this is about what’s essential, not ideal, and it has to be something you can maintain in your real life, not just sort of an idealized state.
The first category is self-care. Oftentimes, we think self-care is either a luxury or selfish. I have said to myself before, “You know what? When my kids are older and sleeping through the night, I’ll prioritize self-care” or “When that product launch is done, I’ll prioritize self-care.” Or maybe you’re thinking, “When the kids are finally out of the house, I’ll prioritize self-care.” The problem is that never comes, and the even bigger problem is that our physical and mental well-being affects our performance tremendously. We cannot lead ourselves or others well if we’re exhausted or burned out, and we can’t produce results.
What is self-care anyway? This may seem obvious to you, but it’s something I actually had to think about and learn for myself when I was working to make this consistently a part of my life. Here’s how I define it: self-care are those regular activities that rejuvenate our body and our mind for optimal performance at work and at home.
Most of us honestly struggle to be consistent with this. In fact, I can’t think of one person I know who nails this without much trouble. It’s tricky, and I think it’s because we make it harder than it needs to be. We make it this big thing that feels like one more item on our to-do list we can’t get to. I found it helpful to come back to the basics, to keep it really simple, and I mean really, really simple.
So, first question: Are you sleeping? I think you guys have heard this several times already today, but sleep is the foundation of everything. Just ask a new parent. We have several in our company right now, and it’s a topic of water cooler discussion almost every day, what it’s like to not sleep. It’s so hard. In fact, a study published by the New York Times Magazine says that going on just six hours of sleep a night can reduce your functioning to that of the level of someone who is legally drunk.
I’ll tell you what. That means I’ve spent a whole lot of my life legally drunk and I didn’t know it. Just six hours, though. Some of us feel like we’re doing pretty well if we’re getting six hours of sleep, but we need seven to eight hours a night consistently. So are you sleeping? Secondly, are you eating regularly? I’m not talking about a diet here. I’m just talking about are you feeding your body regularly enough that your brain can function and you can be present for the activities that matter in your life?
It’s harder than it seems to not skip meals. So often we race out the door and we don’t get breakfast or maybe we work through lunch, and before we know it, it has been six or eight hours and we haven’t had anything to eat. Here’s what’s interesting: your brain makes up 2 percent of your body weight, but it takes 20 percent of your body’s energy to power it, which means if you’re not eating, you’re not thinking very clearly. When we fail to eat, our focus and our mental energy plummet.
So, sleeping, eating regularly, and finally, moving your body. Now, don’t make this too hard. I probably didn’t use the word you were expecting. What did you think I would say? Exercise. Right? I didn’t use that word, because for a lot of us it gets us kind of hung up. We think we need insanity or obsession. Really, we just need to take a walk. If you’ve struggled with this, if you feel like you can never get consistent movement in your life, maybe you need to make friends with walking. That’s what I personally love, so I’m a little biased. Maybe it’s something else for you.
Now, if you’re an athlete and you love intense exercise or movement, go for it, but if this has been hard for you, I want to encourage you to take the bar down really low. Maybe just go out with your dog in the morning for 15 or 20 minutes. A study from Stanford said that walking increases creativity, lowers stress, and boosts cognitive function both during and after your walk. Just walking, something we all do every day.
Here’s my question for you…What are your self-care nonnegotiables, and where will you fit them in? I want you to block these on your calendar, because they should get the first cut and not the leftovers. As the writer David Whyte says, “To rest is not self-indulgent; to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves.”
The second category for nonnegotiables is relational. Just like self-care, we need to schedule our biggest relational priorities. Mine include being home with my kids after school. As a working mom, this is quite the feat to make happen, but it’s an absolute nonnegotiable for me. I want to have dinner at home with my family five nights a week, because the research around the effects of kids who grow up in homes where they have dinner is pretty compelling. So for us, that’s a big priority.
I want to go on a date with my husband Joel every two weeks, and we attend church on Sundays. Not very complicated, but those are the cornerstones of my relational nonnegotiables. These are blocked on my calendar as recurring items. You can also do this quarterly or annually too. Maybe it’s blocking your kids’ athletic events or performances. Maybe it’s a quarterly overnight getaway with your spouse.
My husband Joel and I have done that for a long time, and we love that. But if it didn’t get on our calendar, there’s no way we’d just have a weekend pop up and say, “Oh, we should just go on a getaway.” We have to plan it in advance. Or maybe, for you, it’s an annual fishing trip with some of your best friends from college, but it has to get on the calendar if it’s a relational nonnegotiable.
Let me just bring this into clarity. Fast-forward to the end of your life. What will you wish you had done differently? Palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware recorded the regrets of dying patients. Among the five most common: working too much. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that to be my answer. That’s why we have to establish these relational nonnegotiables. So think through it now. What are your relational nonnegotiables?
The third category of your nonnegotiables is professional. In order to succeed, we’re responsible to drive results, and that’s true if you’re a business owner or an executive. That’s true if you’re an individual contributor on a larger team. It’s true if you’re a middle manager. To succeed, you need to know the results you’re responsible to produce.
For me, at Michael Hyatt & Company, these are the results I’m responsible for: 1) delivering our annual budget, 2) developing our leadership team (love that part), and 3) building the brand for the future. I have to know these core results and have them in the forefront of my mind (and you do too) so I can use them to inform my decisions about how I’m going to spend my time and block things on my calendar.
Here’s a question for you…Which of your regular activities drive the results you’re responsible for now? So things in the near-term horizon. Which of your activities drive the results you’re responsible for? For me, that looks like (these are the things that would actually go on my calendar) coaching my direct reports, brainstorming ways to optimize current initiatives, leading monthly executive financial reviews, and making final decisions on major initiatives.
See, I’m clear on where I add value, which helps me know what to say yes to and what to say no to, which is one of the hardest things we’re confronted with when we’re using our calendar to protect our most important priorities. But that’s all about the present. We also need to ask, “What activities drive results for the future?” As leaders, we’re always running the business we have right now and the one we want to build for the future. It’s kind of like flying the plane and building it at the same time.
We need to ask two questions when we think about that: “Where do I need to be planning or investing today to produce results for tomorrow?” and “How can I take my ability to lead and drive results to the next level so I can get us to the future?” This is often overlooked or postponed because we feel like we don’t have time, like, “Maybe next year I’ll really work on that skill I need to develop,” but the consequences are huge for putting this off.
First of all, lower revenue. When you don’t have any new ideas, it’s hard to be creative and drive results. Second of all, higher employee turnover. If your leadership isn’t constantly growing, then you make the same mistakes over and over again. Missed opportunities. Our old mindset, the one we have today, can’t see possibilities in the future. And burnout. It is exhausting to try to produce results without breakthroughs and efficiency.
Here’s the truth, guys: if you’re not building yourself and your business for the future, you’ll hold your business and your team back. So, think about the future results you want to create, and ask yourself what your professional nonnegotiables might look like. For example, it could be brainstorming new initiatives, making time for that. It could be research and development. It could be upgrading infrastructure for future scaling, all really important to do but not urgent.
For yourself, personally, as a leader, that could look like quarterly coaching. For me, that’s the gold standard, because I outsource my professional development. I don’t even have to think about it. It’s blocked on my calendar once a quarter for a year in advance, and I never miss, because the breakthroughs I get in that coaching accelerate my results in ways I could never do on my own.
Another option for this, thinking about your future results, could be a peer-led mastermind where you gather peers at your company or in your industry. Maybe you hold each other accountable. You share ideas, work on new skills together. Or possibly a reading discipline with a product like we have with LeaderBox (this is not a pitch for that, but just an idea), where you get a couple of books a month and a reading guide, something similar. You could do it self-directed also.
You have to be getting new input if you’re going to grow into the future you as a leader. So, what are your professional nonnegotiables? Then you’re going to need to block time in your calendar for those activities that produce results now and prepare you to produce results in the future.
Okay. Now I want to put this all together on my calendar. Here’s what a day looks like with my nonnegotiables in it. Here you can see I have a morning ritual, which includes my walk. That’s my self-care nonnegotiable. Then I’m getting my kids ready for school and myself ready for work. Then I have a workday startup ritual, which we talked a little bit about earlier. That enables me to have time to send emails and Slack messages to my team where I’m not interrupting my morning self-care and relational nonnegotiable time.
Then when I’m in the office, I’m making decisions. That’s one of my nonnegotiable professional activities. After that, I might have a couple of one-on-one meetings with my direct reports. Again, developing my leadership team, as I mentioned. That’s very high-leverage for me. Then at lunch, kind of double duty. I’m having lunch, which is important, because I’m not forgetting to eat, and I’m also interviewing a prospective director of sales candidate we’re considering.
Then in the afternoon I’m having a meeting about the 2019 Full Focus Planner initiative. That’s me preparing for the results I’m responsible to produce in the future. As the day goes on, I also block out those 30 minutes at the end of my day for a workday shutdown ritual. Guys, this is critically important if you’re going to unplug when you leave work. This is when I answer emails, tie up loose ends, and answer questions my staff has so I’m able to leave my office and transition into my relational nonnegotiable time at home, meeting my kids after school, as you see here.
Then we do dinner as a family, as I mentioned. I have an evening ritual, which, by the way, does include some time for Netflix. Got to have that in there. It’s not all business. There’s some fun. Then I get to bed by 9:30 because I’m protecting that nonnegotiable of self-care, making sure I’m getting eight hours of sleep a night.
So here’s what it looks like all together. You may be thinking, “Well, gosh. There’s not a lot of time left after you’ve blocked your self-care nonnegotiables and your relational nonnegotiables and your professional nonnegotiables.” But that’s okay, because everything that’s important is already accounted for. Nothing is missing except the stuff that, honestly, I don’t really care about. It’s all there, even the Netflix time.
Now that you’ve defined the win and you have your nonnegotiables, we have to anticipate the obstacles. That’s the third step, because life happens. The best-laid plans we have often get derailed, so we have to anticipate the things that are going to get in our way and then have a plan to find our way around them.
The first obstacle is that work bleeds into personal and relational time. This looks like working early in the morning before work, it looks like staying too late at the office, and it looks like trying to catch up on the weekends. The problem is we can’t protect our self-care nonnegotiables or our relational ones this way, and we can’t bring our best to the office, because we’re just worn out. The solution is to create hard edges around your workday and your workweek.
For me, that means no meetings before 9:30, because I’m having that workday startup ritual that’s happening, and no meetings after 3:00 so I’m able to have my workday shutdown ritual and leave on time, protecting that time at the start and the end of my day. It also means I don’t work at night or on the weekends, and when I’m not at work I’m disconnected. Pro tip: turn your notifications off. If those are dinging, it’s so hard to be disconnected, but it’s a huge help.
For you, it might look like simply setting office hours. I mean, this used to be a thing. People weren’t expected to work all the time. You left the office, and people just couldn’t get you unless they actually came to your house. No more. Right? So we need to set office hours. It could be 9:00 to 5:30 or whatever is appropriate in your situation. Also, with that, that means you’re not taking breakfast meetings, because when you’re taking breakfast meetings (this is something I learned from my dad) you’re not able to protect that time for your self-care in the morning.
Another option here for you is to schedule a 30-minute workday shutdown ritual. If you haven’t tried this before, I promise it will change your life. It will enable you to tie up loose ends before you leave, and instead of feeling like you have a thousand things running around in your head as you’re driving home, you’ll just be free, free to be present. Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Sure. For you. This seems impossible for me, though.” I want to challenge your limiting beliefs. What would have to be true for this to happen for you, for you to put hard edges on your workday?
If you’re going to win at work and succeed at life, you have to advocate for it, which leads me to the second obstacle. Does this sound familiar? “My boss or clients expect me to be on 24/7.” Have you guys ever felt that? Real or imagined, there’s an expectation that we’re going to be connected 24/7 to email, Slack, phone, and it seems like whoever works the latest or the longest controls everyone else’s workday.
There’s this pressure to have your phone in your pocket all the time, but it means we’re not able to be present for our most important relationships, and we’re not able to get the self-care we need when we’re always on. The solution is to set boundaries and, very importantly, to explain your why. The first part looks like this: you share your office hours with your boss, your coworkers, your clients, your team, whoever it is who needs to know.
You ask them to call you if there’s an emergency. It’s very important that you use the word emergency, because that’s a big deterrent for people. You’ll find they don’t call you very often. This keeps you from having to monitor email or Slack all the time to make sure you’re not missing something, and that kind of anxious feeling that just hums in the background isn’t there. But word of caution: you can’t just share your boundaries; you actually have to sell them on why it’s in their best interest to support your boundaries.
This is where we usually go wrong when we’re explaining our boundaries. We just tell people, “Well, I’m only available between 9:00 and 5:30.” The end. It doesn’t usually go very well. We have to figure out why it’s in their best interest. Here are a couple of talking points for you. When you’re rested and connected to the people who matter most to you, you’re going to produce better results, you’re going to contribute a higher level of creativity, and you’re going to avoid costly burnout or sickness.
Now, one final caveat here. For those of you who are like me and you’re kind of a perfectionist, I just want to tell you that you have to be willing to make occasional exceptions to these boundaries. You want to shoot for holding the line here about 90 percent of the time, because real emergencies actually happen, and people will be much more supportive of you if they know that if there’s really a true need you’re willing to accommodate that.
We want to be firm but not rigid. It’s kind of like the shocks on a car. They’re firm but flexible, and that enables them to absorb the bumps in the road. Just like that, they absorb the bumps in our lives with minimal impact to the passengers. As long as the results you’re producing don’t suffer and your boss and clients know your why, usually they’ll honor your boundaries. If they don’t…listen to me…maybe it’s time to find a new boss or new clients, ones who share your win-win commitment to success.
The third obstacle is “My calendar is full of everyone else’s priorities but my own.” I’ve been there. Oftentimes this happens because we’re eager to accept new opportunities. Maybe we’re in one of those “make hay while the sun shines” sort of seasons of our career or we just want to be helpful to people. There’s an opportunity at church to be on a committee or to volunteer or you’re asked to serve on a special committee at work.
Before you know it, your calendar gets packed with everybody else’s priorities, and it drains your energy and focus on the things that drive results. Most importantly, it gets in the way of your nonnegotiables. The solution is to set a weekly calendar management appointment. That’s kind of a mouthful, but here’s the deal: your calendar is not going to manage itself. How many times have we tried that and it hasn’t worked? I’ve been there many times myself.
We have to proactively manage our calendar. For me, that has two parts. First of all, my executive assistant Jamie (who’s somewhere in this room right now) knows and protects my nonnegotiables on the calendar. In fact, I think that’s her most important job. On Sunday nights, I review my schedule and look for any conflicts I see coming up in the coming week, which she and I then discuss in our one-on-one.
I also do this as a part of my weekly preview process in the Full Focus Planner, which has been talked a little bit about today. I love that practice. I do it every Sunday night, and it’s so helpful to get a look at the week ahead. I now have very few of those “Muffins with Mom” moments, because I see them coming a mile away.
The meeting requests I get have to fit in between those nonnegotiable commitments. That’s why I have to get my most important things blocked on my calendar before I say yes to other people’s priorities. Again, I want to be flexible about 10 percent of the time here. It’s not about absolute rigidity. It’s kind of like anytime you learn something new, sometimes the tendency can be to be absolutely rigid. I want you to avoid that too.
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “Well, I don’t have an executive assistant. How can I do this?” No problem. You can do both parts of what I’m talking about all by yourself. The first one is to block your own nonnegotiables two weeks out. So you’re actually making an appointment on your calendar with yourself to block your nonnegotiables in these three categories: self-care, relational, and professional. If you haven’t been doing that until now, it will also change your life.
You’re also going to look at the coming two weeks of calendar items for anything you see that could be a conflict, because as long as you have some time you can cancel things, you can postpone them, you can reschedule. You have so many options, but it’s terrible when you get to a day and you’re double booked or something else happens.
All right. I want to recap the steps we’ve talked about that enable us to protect our most important priorities. They are…Step 1: Define the win. What does success look like for you at work and at home? Step 2: Establish your nonnegotiables in three categories: self-care, relational, and professional. Step 3: Anticipate the obstacles. If I were going to add a fourth step, it would be this: cut yourself some slack. This is not easy. Right? A chaotic calendar happens to all of us.
I don’t do this perfectly. You’re not going to do this perfectly, and that is okay. We’re not looking for perfection. We want to remember to be firm but flexible. That’s the antidote to both chaos, which you saw at the beginning for me, and a rigid kind of perfectionism that’s crushing. I’m still working on this myself, but these three steps help me to win more often than I lose, and now my calendar is my best tool for protecting my biggest priorities.
I started with the story of “Muffins with Mom.” That was Moses. This is my youngest son Jonah. He’s now 8, but this is his kindergarten graduation. Is that not the cutest face you’ve ever seen in your life? A side story: last night, I was a little nervous about today, and I was telling him about it, and he got up in my lap. He’s huge now, by the way. He got up in my lap and said, “Mom, you’re going to do great.” It was so sweet. Just looked me right in the eyes, like a tiny life coach. It was fantastic.
I started by telling you the story of “Muffins with Mom” and how I just blew it and how terrible I felt, but now I want to tell you about Jonah’s kindergarten graduation. When this finally came around, I didn’t need to be anywhere else. I didn’t have a flight to catch. I didn’t have a meeting I was running late for, and I sure wasn’t checking emails on my phone. I was fully present for this moment, which was so important to me. Why? Because I blocked it on my calendar. It was already on my calendar.
Now I’m going to tell you something. I have no idea if I shaved my legs that day, and I don’t even care. It doesn’t matter. I was there, and that’s what counts. I don’t want Jonah to remember when he grows up that he asked me to read him bedtime stories and I said, “No, I don’t have time. I have to send this email.” I don’t want Moses thinking that I missed half his soccer games because I was on business trips.
Our calendars are not the enemy, but sometimes we let them work against us. So I want to challenge you to make your calendar your ally in protecting what matters most to you: your health and well-being, your closest relationships, and your most vital professional contribution. You can not only quiet the calendar chaos, but you can use your calendar to pursue your own definition of success and win. Thank you.
Michael: I have to tell you, I couldn’t be more proud of Megan. She has really mastered the art of calendar management, and she spoke with such passion and such clarity. We learned that even the busiest leaders can tame a chaotic calendar by defining the win, identifying your nonnegotiables, and anticipating obstacles. Since Megan is not here to ask if I have any final thoughts, I’ll just have to add them myself. As I listened to her talk, here’s the thing I thought: it all begins with reframing your calendar as not the enemy but your friend. Start there, and you can make progress.
So, that wraps it up for this week’s episode of Lead to Win. Remember that you can find the show notes, the resources, and a complete transcript of this episode at leadto.win. If you’re not subscribed to this podcast, do that today on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. That way you won’t miss any of this great actionable content, including special bonus episodes that aren’t released through other channels. If you need help with that, just visit leadto.win/subscribe. It’s super easy. Remember, we have a bonus episode with Amy Porterfield coming up this week. Join us next week on the podcast when we’ll show you how to help your team find their why. Until then, lead to win.
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