At a recent IDI (Ideas Developing Ideas), a weekly social gathering of the brightest minds and dopest people in my social circle, I found myself sitting on the floor in my room having a good conversation with my friend David. David is a smart guy. The thing that separates David in my opinion is that he takes the time to do his research.
In the midst of our conversation he brought up an interesting point:
David: “You know what people say when I ask them what’s the one quality Cam has that they themselves wish they had?”
Cam: “My stunning good looks?”
David: “Your productivity.”
I was a bit stunned to say the least. I never identify with being “that” productive, to the point where others see it and wish to develop it themselves, but after taking a minute to let it sink, it makes sense. I am incredibly productive, and it’s for no other reason than due to my organization. I don’t view myself as productive, merely organized. By being organized I’m able to delegate the time necessary to complete the tasks I need to. Because of my busy schedule, I don’t have time to procrastinate and spend two hours of “work time” sitting around starring at a computer screen, dreaming about the vacation I have coming up. The vacation happens when I get my work done. The success I see is a direct result of my organization.
It Wasn’t Always This Way
Remember back to when you were a kid, going to school and having no cares or responsibilities? Remember how on the first day of every school year your teacher would sit you down and go over three things: rules of the classroom, some boring memo nobody ever paid attention to from the school’s principal, and handing out your new agenda notebook?
When my teacher handed me that agenda, I would scoff, “why does anybody need this thing?” as if using an agenda somehow made you weak and incompetent. The second I had a chance, I would be throwing that agenda in the garbage, an arrogant laugh would follow. Every year my teachers, bless their hearts, would try to convince me of the same thing: using it would be to my advantage, helping me be more organized leading to better grades. They failed to convince me every time. This only increased my motivation to live without one.
I don’t know what it was about using an agenda that I despised so incredibly, but these answers I will never know. Unsurprisingly, this attitude towards organization and keeping an agenda stayed with me for a very long time. My whole life actually, up until last year.
The change happened when I came back from Victoria, BC, after living there for five months I came home to Calgary determined to take my lifestyle to the next level. As I’ve talked about before, the first action I took was to change my default answer to invitations from “no” to “yes”. The reason I made this change was simple: when most people are invited to events, or things they may not normally do, they tend to default to saying no or maybe. People tend to not want to commit, and instead decide whether they are going to go to an event the day of – depending on their mood.
This doesn’t work very well though; because when you have an “out” you tend to take it. Especially when it comes to trying new things and pushing comfort zones. If you are making your decisions the day of, you never end up going. So many excuses are available to justify this, and none more common than “I’m tired.” If you take a second to think about this, it will amaze you how many times you use the excuse “I’m tired” to get out of things. When the fuck are you not tired? When I wake up I’m tired, during lunch hour I’m tired, when I get home from 9-5 I’m tired, and when I go to bed I’m tired. Nawmean?
Changing your default answer from no to yes will cause your lifestyle to instantly take off. It will surprise you how many invites you actually do get in your every day life, and for no real reason at all, turned down before. Nights after work will now be spent socializing with friends and building relationships with co-workers instead of sitting at home aimlessly starring at the TV screen watching TV shows you don’t give a fuck about, or playing video games you wish you could quit. You will begin to realize the options and opportunities your life does have, and it was just a matter of you taking advantage of them.
After doing this for a few weeks, you will run into a new problem: you don’t seem to have enough time for everything. This is frustrating to experience, but the irony is, this is in fact, as I like to say “a good problem to have”.
Now it’s Time to Get Organized.
This is where Google Calendar comes into play. I remember one day a few months ago, I was hanging out with Kevin at his new place near Stanley Park. We had both been using Google Calendar furiously for over a year now. Our calendars constantly full morning to night. Obviously not only filled with work though, but socializing and cool events too. I asked Kevin a question I had recently been thinking about:
Cam: “Yo Kev, how would your life change if you didn’t use Google Calendar?”
Kevin: “I would be just as busy, but get half as much done.”
I couldn’t have agreed more. The benefit of using Google Calendar is that you are now organized. Well… maybe not yet, but if you use it and work at it you will be. There are only so many hours in the day, which means you can also only accomplish as much. The only way you are going to accomplish as much as possible is if you schedule it appropriately. Not only that but being organized means you can plan ahead appropriately, helping you live a balanced life. You can now find time for all your work-related appointments, socializing, passions, family commitments and of course downtime. (Yes, you should even schedule your downtime.) I also like to include lifestyle events I hear about around the city such as art shows, dance performances, DJ gigs, and festivals.
Another benefit to Google Calendar is that it keeps you accountable. Do not schedule something unless you are committed to seeing it through. You can use your calendar to keep you accountable to going to the gym, getting up on time, or even completing tasks by the deadline. Google Calendar is a tool to take your lifestyle to the next level, through organization and accountability. You will begin to value your time more seriously and in turn, value yourself the same.
Google Calendar is without a doubt, one of the highest recommended tools I suggest for someone looking to seriously take their lifestyle to the next level. Best of all, it comes free with any google account, and will even sync with your smartphone.