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Photo by Levi Sim

Your Calendar Isn’t Your To-Do List… It’s Who You Want To Be.
Last week I was in a conversation with my pastor, Tommy, who was talking about counseling people regarding their lives and relationships. He mentioned talking with people who have these big aspirations of things they want to do with their lives… Become a pilot, get their black belt, write a book, etc. Yet when he asks if they have the steps toward doing those things on their calendar, they don’t. And that’s when he said the thing that’s stuck with me since… “Your calendar isn’t your to-do list. It’s who you want to be. If they were serious about these things, they would be scheduling time for them. Otherwise they’re just pipe dreams.

Tommy-at-Watermark
Tommy Phillips at Watermark Tampa

Every year, Tommy and his wife Sarah map out their family calendar to be sure they make time for the important things: Date nights with each other, family time together, one on one time with each of their three kids, evenings on the porch remembering the past and discussing the future. They’re not just going about their lives and marriage haphazardly. They’re being purposeful about it and planning for the future they want together.

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A not very well planned month

So all of this got me thinking about my own life. Am I just taking things a day at a time, or am I planning and taking steps to become the person I want to be? Am I saying yes to the things I want to do and that are important to me? Am I saying no to the things that are just distractions and won’t mean anything a year from now? Have I been taking advantage of my free time and using it to better myself and accomplish the things I want to accomplish in life? Or have I been wasting it away in the vast, bottomless, never-ending (though very entertaining) vacuum that is Netflix and giving in to every distraction that pops up?

As we draw near to the end of 2015, I’m going to invite you to join me in making a plan for 2016. Grab a calendar and think about the things you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Then figure out the steps you need to take each month, week, and day to accomplish those things and put those steps on the calendar. And along the way, say no to the things that are just distractions from accomplishing those goals. If you get to the point where you have so much on your plate that you can’t handle it all, learn to ask for help and delegate the things that don’t require your full attention to others.

If you know you have a habit of starting strong but not finishing, plan for that. If one of your goals is to get in better shape, maybe just joining a gym isn’t enough. Maybe you need to take the extra step of hiring a personal trainer or enlisting a friend who will hold you accountable. If you want to up your photography game, watch some classes and read some books, but don’t stop there. Actually schedule shoots and make time to experiment with new techniques. Explore other genres of photography outside of what you normally shoot to see what looks and techniques you can apply to your own work.

What if you’re not happy with where you are but you don’t know where you want to be? Ask the people in your life to describe you. What traits do they see when they think about you? Are you a strong leader? Do you find joy in helping people? Are you happiest when you’re working by yourself or with others? Do you like variety or repetition? Ask yourself the age old question… What would you do if you could do anything and money didn’t matter? Then figure out what steps you can take now to start working toward that.

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Make time for the important things, both personal and professional

This isn’t a set of New Year’s resolutions that are going to be abandoned by March. Put the steps on your calendar and stick to them. Seek support through friends, family, prayer, community, and any other ways you can stay accountable to yourself. Learn to adjust to the things that life throws at you without abandoning what’s important to you. Let’s make 2016 our best year yet!

You can see Brad’s work at BMOOREVISUALS.com (or BradsBeard.com), and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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12 Comments

  1. What a great post Brad, It really gets you thinking as the year is coming to an end. I find myself looking at the things I didn’t get accomplished and wonder where the time went. I definitely need to calendar my time and goals and not be so haphazard as you put it. Thanks and Happy Holidays to you and the great Kelby team.

  2. Brad, thank you for this post and the timing of this post. It came at just the right time. You, (and your pastor), are wise beyond your years. One reason I am such a fan of Kelby Media is because of the people who work there.

  3. I’d add, like your example shows, the plan of repeatable activities. It’s hard to know at the beginning of the year (or some project) how much time to allow. So, plan some time (and be generous to yourself as it is likely to take more than you think) and schedule it for every week (like “shoot for my project” on Thursdays, 7 – 10pm or “read the Kelby blog” every day at lunch…like I do). Planning the activities and making them regular will turn them into habits and you’ll start planning around those now-sacrosanct activities. Use Google calendars, multiple calendars BTW, for your activities and color code them, including your spouse, partner, or significant other’s activities as well so you minimize schedule conflicts. We’re busy and this approach works for us. Thanks Brad.

  4. Really, really great post; those who need to hear this need to hear it over & over again. Great to see you also prioritise family – it is so easy to put our own needs in the center and forget theirs.

  5. Great job Brad. Excellent topic, so does that mean you’ll be coming out to LA soon?

  6. That’s a busy calendar! When do you have time to trim the beard? ;-) Thanks for posting this…

  7. Awesome, Brad! Thanks for sharing.

  8. That’s some pretty heavy and deep stuff Brad. And — pretty inspirational also. It’s an odd thing to be exposed to people via the Internet as often as Scott, yourself, RC etc… and feel as though you kinda know these people in some crazy way…. But then to read a piece like this, realize, you know only a face and voice, not the person whatsoever.

    My hopes for you is that, in this moment of light you found byway of speaking with your pastor you find all your looking for and grow.

    And on a personal note. Thank you for all the work you do for KelbyOne, and Scott to make this a great place to learn and be entertained all in one fell swoop. And make sure you set one day a month aside to remember to look around you, and really appreciate all of the talented people you interact and learn from each and everyday.

    – Cheers Mate. Happy Christmas & New Year.

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