The Annual Getting Together of the Act (WITH CALENDAR GIVEAWAY)

For people like me, whose lives are stuck in permanent “never mind! I have a better idea!’ mode, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

NeuYear calendarYes, it’s the annual changing of the calendar. By which I mean, “I can abandon the half-used systems of old and embark upon a new journey.”

I’d had success in the past, off-and-on, with the Uncalendar. But I’m finding that its lack of structure (you can fill in the weeks as you go, however you like) ultimately made it too easy for me to put off using it – and then I’d get these bursts of energy where I’d go through and label the pages for several weeks in advance, only to have to go back and erase everything. It also made it kind of overwhelming for me to try to prioritize the disparate tasks that make up my day.

My particular challenge is that I am homeschooling and also running a web design business. I was trying to keep everything all on one planner, which SEEMS like it would make sense – keep up with a master list of what’s going on in every sphere of my day-to-day life.

But then it occurred to me that, if I were working outside of my home, I’d have a calendar at work and one at home. This year, I’m going to try to use two separate planners – one for school planning, and one for my business. I think it will also help me to think of these things as distinct modes in which I operate, because right now I’m kind of doing a little of both things throughout the day – and yes, as I read that, I realize it sounds cuckoo.


YES. There is, indeed, a giveaway!

I was contacted by Jesse Phillips of a few weeks ago; he asked me if he could send me a free calendar; I had just completed round one of dealing with the office; it was kismet.

If you watched the video above, you are already aware of the Five Awesomes. I’m just here to validate their claims. I’m very impressed with this calendar. There’s plenty of room to write in each day, and I’m especially happy about the weeks-flow-together model. The design is very clean and appealing. I’m going to use an uncoated NeuYear calendar for planning out homeschool stuff, and a laminated NeuYear calendar for business. I love a dry-erase marker so the laminated version will let me color-code entries by client or type of task. For the school planning, I went with the uncoated because it will let me write things really small when needed.

NeuYear calendarSo, what’s going on my big ole calendars?

Well, I must admit that I am having that feeling of “I cannot sully this immaculate document with my erratic handwriting and more erratic plans,” but I’m going to press on and use the large calendar to map out some big goals for the year, as well as visualizing better how long it will take to accomplish them. For work, I know that seeing a large calendar will help me to better keep up with how many client projects I have going on at any given time. For school, I’m going to use the big calendar to write out the general “what we need to do this week,” especially for math, so that I make sure I cover the basics over the course of the year. NeuYear makes an academic calendar, too.

What’s going on YOUR big ole calendar? Because, you know, YOU COULD WIN ONE FOR YOUR VERY OWN SELF. I have two calendars to give away. Here’s how to enter!

1. Leave a comment using the word “calendar” in a sentence.

2. One entry per person.

3. Giveaway closes on Saturday, January 5 at 11:59 Central Time. Two names will be chosen via a random number drawing.

4. Earn an extra entry by posting to your own blog about how you’d use this calendar, with a link back to this post. Earn another extra entry for sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest – if you do that, shoot me an email with the details.

You can also save 30% if you use the promotional code “scrutinies” and order from before January 31, 2013.

I bookmarked this post from Andreas Widmer on how to think about the year to come and am going to come back to it when it’s time to start marking up my new calendars. I like Widmer’s approach because it doesn’t read like a step-by-step goal management program:

Many people would advise you to start with a goal for next year, with setting out specific achievements and accomplishments. I suggest you to take a different approach. Instead of pursuing any specific achievements, start by thinking about the kind of life you want to live. What’s important to you? What values do you want to be present in your life? What virtues do you want to practice in your life? I find this approach to planning my own life much more effective, and it gives me the ability to keep perspective.

This is my favorite of the questions he suggests for how we can look at planning the year in terms of “what do I value, and how do I spend my time?”

What activities and habits made you fulfilled during the last year? Come up with 5 of them as well. Describe what they are, what virtue or value do they represent? What situations made them possible? What circumstances enabled them to grow or come about? Who and what helped you in this practice? Who and what hindered you?

I’ll leave you with another short video I thought was helpful for long-term planning – this one from Nathalie Lussier. It’s tailored to planning for business purposes but the techniques seem applicable to other sorts of planning, as well.

Now, let’s get those comments going! Who has a sentence that includes the word “calendar?” (Comments can, of course, be longer than one sentence.)

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  1. GeekLady says

    My favorite calendar is the Sandra Boyton Mom’s calendar, but because we only have one kid with scheduling needs, we use one of the columns for the week’s dinner menu. That way when Mike gets home from work, which can be several hours before I do, he knows what to cook.

  2. says

    I realized I needed to switch to a wall calendar when I spaced off taking dinner to a new mom, missed parent time with my daughter at preschool, and didn’t show up to cantor at 8:00 AM Mass. All in one week. Oops. I’ve actually been shopping wall calendars, and I think this would work well for me.

  3. says

    I have a wall calendar but there’s never enough room for everything that needs to be on it, and you can only see a month at a time. That huge one-year calendar looks like a great idea! (And I STILL can’t post comments to this site using a gmail address.)

  4. Elizabeth K says

    I am not organized at all yet I have never liked to use a calendar of any kind — thought (hoped) I could keep it all in my wee noggin’. It just is not working any longer – my noggin’ 😉 I have a blank type calendar (a nothing calendar?) on my wall and after two months of use – it is just now an empty drawing place for my kids – or just a blank…as having no structure is not good for me (or family.) I would love to give this a try – though have to wonder at times, if their is any hope for my ever really utilizing/getting any production organization from a calendar. Am I doomed to forever just muddle through…

    :) Thanks for the opportunity! – off to watch the vid.

  5. says

    I’m really not feeling the whole planning thing this year since I’m about to dive into the black hole of newborn baby and recovery from surgery and have no idea when I’m going to re-emerge with new plans for how to make homeschooling work with five kids instead of four. It’s really hard to set goals for a new year when I feel like I don’t know when my year will begin as far as planning more than just the bare minimum of keeping everyone alive and entertained and I have no idea what life with five will be like. I But I’m thinking maybe when I do come out of that hole a calendar might be nice?

  6. says

    Ohh a calendar would be perfect for me to start becoming more organized. And I think it’d be perfect for once I’m married (in 4 months!) and can put it on the wall for me and my husband to see. I know that my paper planner has been a great way to organize and I think having that would be perfect for the both of us!

  7. says

    Calendar, calendar, calendar.

    I’m sitting here procrastinating while I’m trying to plan out homeschooling for the next semester, and I’m reflecting dismally on the lots of empty white space in my planner. But my kids love writing on calendars, so maybe a good way to really record what we’re doing each day would be to have THEM write on the calendar what they completed that day.

  8. Marie Chapman says

    This is indeed an awesome calendar – one I could actually use. No more flipping pages to count the weeks between events. I wouldn’t have to put on my glasses to actually see it. Love the vertical/horizontal switch.

  9. says

    I just took down our big 2012 calendar this afternoon, and debated whether to bother getting one for this year. I love paper/whiteboard calendars. My husband likes digital. I could never get him to actually pay attention to the one I hang in the office. Maybe if I got an “AWESOME” one to hang above his desk…

  10. Jen Popiel says

    I would love a calendar and my birthday is very very soon. No hint or anything. Also should mention that my husband resents the Mon-Sunday version that I purchased in France, so we’re short a calendar. (Does saying it twice make a difference?) I could always use more organization….

  11. Kathy Marty says

    Wow, that *is* a big ole calendar! I would love to win it. I could definitely fit everybody’s stuff on it, and even I would have trouble misplacing this one.