In January many of us set lofty goals for the new year. Then life (and/or our executive function deficits) stop us in our tracks.
What halts many of us is the brain’s challenge with planning the time needed to work on those goals, what I call “future thinking.” In order to reach a goal, you have to see the future space of time in your life. Where will you find the room, the time and the space to work on your larger goals?
One of my secret tools is one that people often forget – the yearly calendar. A view of the upcoming year allows you to strategically plan for long-term goals.
The first thing I do in my yearly calendar is to block out vacation and family time. Since I work hard, I promise myself “fun time” and build work around the time off. Then I plan my work schedule determining the dates for teaching webinars and group courses. Conferences and speaking engagements are added next.
With this big picture – the 30,000 foot view of the year – I can zoom down and fit specific projects into the open spaces. It also helps me keep track of the passing of time and to create realistic and achievable goals.
Students really need to see the future, otherwise project deadlines and finals sneak up on them. They need monthly calendars, lined up in order, covering an entire grading period. Their calendars should include all deadlines for projects (color coded by subject), all exam dates and any events that will take up chunks of time on weekends. Encourage them to cross off each day so they are made aware that the future is getting closer.
Where should you keep these calendars with the future view? In sight of course! Seeing the future is an effective motivator to get things done. Otherwise the future flies right past us and another year slips away with unfulfilled goals.
So, what needs to go on your yearly calendar? Where will you put it so it stays in sight?
Please send us pictures of your calendars. You will help us motivate others!
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.