Sunday, May 06, 2007

The book of your life—Calendars from past years

One look at your calendar for the coming days provides all of the date and time-specific information on your life. This post focuses not on the days ahead, but on days gone by. What does your calendar from yesteryear tell you about the progress of your life?

If you look at your calendar from a year ago, what does it tell you? Of what value is to you? Do you even still have it at all? For many of us, last year’s calendar went into the trash can before the sun set on New Year’s Day. For those who do save their calendars, the pages are full of appointments which now hold little or no value. The events which are significant get lost amid all of the events which are now trivial.

I recommend one simple habit which for me has transformed my past calendars from trivial to significant. At the end of the day, I aim to spend a few moments thinking through the course of the day. My purpose is to identify those events which might be worthy of review months or years into the future. Did I come up with an idea which will make life easier for me or someone else? Did a conversation I had today have a potential impact on future opportunities for me? Did an event of lasting significance happen in national news?

If the answer is “yes,” I create a new all-day event on my BlackBerry and record the significant event. At the same time, I delete appointments and all-day events which pose no long-term significance.

Some many be reluctant to delete past appointments in the event they are asked to reconstruct a time line. In my case, I will have the notes from any meeting, complete with date and time recorded. This documentation is all I need.

Each month, I print a hard copy of the previous month from Outlook. On one sheet of paper, I see what is significant about the month without the noise of the insignificant. This calendar page is filed permanently.

I began this exercise about 4 years ago. It has been extremely rewarding in helping me see the high points in my life and the important events of the times in which I live. The process takes seconds a day. It is of value forever.

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