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It’s Time to Psychedelicize Your Calendar

T3: Optimize Your Time, Talent, and Treasure

by Courtney S. Dade, CEO, Chief Strategist, CSD Marketing and Consulting, LLC

One of the quintessential anthems of the Viet Nam War era was recorded by a group called The Chamber Brothers. It will forever be associated with a generation in conflict–protests against the war, “dropping out”, the generation gap. Depending on your age, ask your parents, or probably your grandparents. But, though I wasn’t even on the landscape when this song came out, I must confess, I love this song. Cow Bells…All…Day…Long.

Therefore, this song is a classic, simply for its use of the bovine percussion instrument. But I take the title of this week’s blog from one line in the song that says, “…my soul has been psychedelicized.” WHAT A GREAT LINE!! In truth, I really don’t care about its deeper meaning for purposes of my small business blog. What attracted me was the idea of swirls of vibrant color–psychedelics. Because, when I open my day planner during a meeting, my mom always looks at me in horror and says, “What IS that? What do all those colors mean?” And I reply, “My life.”

So, since I’ve been writing a lot about time management this quarter, I want share with you a trick that has become essential to me as my life grows more complicated. And I encourage you to think about whether it’s time for you to psychedelicize your calendar, as well.


It’s a Freeway, Not a Highway

Rascal Flats sings “Life is a Highway” in my nephew’s favorite movie. And these days I think of my life as more of an 8-lane freeway with a couple of toll booths, lots of on- and off-ramps, always construction somewhere, and amazing scenery that could so easily distract me.

You see, I’m not just a CEO. I’m a mom. A mom-ager. A girlfriend. A daughter/chauffeur. An aunty/babysitter. A lover of the arts and the livestream. And infrequently, thank goodness, I’m a patient. Daily, I’m a prayer and a praiser. Not nearly enough, I seek fitness and daylight, me-time and down-time. In short, my freeway’s cray-cray.

So, sometimes I need to take the bird’s-eye view of my calendar to determine what’s heating up and why. Indeed, this allows me to be strategic about what I can delegate and to whom. With generic entries in my day planner in a single color, my “freeway” would be a dark and scary place, where there’s little sunshine and much cause for anxiety.

However, I have my trusty package of TUL colored pens to color code all of those lanes. My code keeps me on track and prevents the distractions from taking me in the wrong direction. Here’s what I do.


A Code, But Not a Secret

First of all, I think about my time commitments in chunks. I have a few high-level business goals and a few high-level personal goals. I have social time, and I have alone time. There. Four colors.

But, not so fast. I have Agency business goals, and my son’s brand goals, which include photo shoots and newsletters and, when he’s working externally, COVID tests and call sheets. Okay. There’s a couple more colors. But wait. Within my Agency business goals are deadlines attached to client work, to administrative requirements (you, know, taxes, payroll, and health insurance), and to my business growth and development. More colors.

And, at a glance, I can tell what my time sucks are, and where I’m not devoting enough time. It makes it easier for me to identify where I need additional help and who might be up for providing that help. As work gets done during the day, I’m constantly annotating my day planner with follow-ups, and next times, and “what-nexts”.

There is a way to do this digitally and guess what… for every color in my physical planner, there’s a colored sub-calendar in my Google calendars. What can I say… I love my colors. I use both methods because my brain locks it in when I take the time to write it down, but in the moment for easy management, glancing at my schedule on my phone or computer makes all of this work.

Digital visualization of a fractal

There’s something visceral about the hues I select. And at the end of the month, or the quarter, or even the day, I’m able to reflect quickly on what I’ve accomplished and what’s ahead of me.

A Journey With Many Destinations

However, like many of us, sometimes I find my calendar is overflowing with appointments. But if I see that those appointments have nothing to do with business development, I know I need an action plan.

As entrepreneurs, we know that we should always be thinking about how to develop and grow the business. So, if I see that there’s absolutely no fitness activity, or meditation, or me/family time, I can tell right away that I’m working out of balance, and up to a burnout. As a leader, achieving life balance is up to me, and critical to my staying fresh and creative.

There are so many ways that I can look at the colors in my day planner, the lanes in my freeway, and make course corrections or celebrate along the way. And the cool thing is that each lane could take me to a different destination, or a different waypoint towards a destination. Then, we map out yet another journey and keep moving forward.

Final Thoughts

So, if you find yourself working hard and seem to be going nowhere, take a hard look at what’s in your calendar, how it aligns to your personal and professional goals, and what, if anything, you need to change about that situation. (Here’s a free time management audit that might help.) But here, at CSD Marketing and Consulting, we can also help you with business strategy to help you make the forward progress you desire. Contact us and let’s get started.

Perhaps it IS time for you to psychedelicize your calendar. For inspiration, listen to “Time Has Come Today” by The Chamber Brothers performed live at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA, circa 1986. Wait for our line at 3:35…”And my soul has been psychedelicized…”!

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