I have heard this advice at countless classes and seminars over the years and thought it interesting, but have not ever done anything with the information. Sometimes I think that I am able to do it on the fly and don’t need to pre plan something like personal time. After all, isn’t the spontaneity of it what makes it so fun? Am I THAT boring and regimented that I have to schedule fun? Other times I think I avoid it out of fear. “But I really need the money, how can I plan to take a day off when that might be the day a client calls?”
Of course we all know that these are just excuses and sure enough at the end of the year it feels like the time has gone by and I have merely existed, but not always participated in life. This year Gary, my husband, and I decided to do it differently. We went out to dinner and not only talked about what we wanted to do as a family this year, but actually opened up our Outlook calendars and put it on the books. We scheduled one day a month for a family activity and planned four 4-5 day vacations for the year. It may not sound like much, but it is more than we have ever planned before.
It will be interesting to see how we feel at the end of 2009, but there have already been some interesting benefits. I am finding it easier to dive in and get focused on work because I already know when my down time will be. Our family day for January is the 24th and yesterday I had two clients call me asking to meet on that day. I told them that I had family plans for that day and could we meet the 25th or another day that was convenient for them. BOTH clients were more than happy to meet another day and mentioned how great it was that I am taking time to spend with the boys. Ahhh, so the world does keep turning and all of my clients will not shun me for not being available 24 / 7. It is a very good thing.
So I encourage you to make yourself and your family a priority and get those dates on the books immediately. Have some fun with it. My goal for 2010 will be to double the number of days that we scheduled for 2009.