Are you a slave to your calendar?

Ways to create more time & more freedom

This is the time of year when moms and business owners everywhere have to kick life into high gear. With a new school year and the more structured life that comes with fall, we’re forced to flip the switch to planning mode. With added structure, stress isn’t far behind.

Time management is the cornerstone of keeping stress at bay and creating a life that you love. Don’t feel you have that? Listen up. Even more than making a list and sticking to it, let’s try making an organizational plan that keeps your core values at the heart of it all.

“Time is non-refundable, use it with intention.” ~ Unknown

As a business mentor and coach, I’ve discovered that in order to be fulfilled in life, you really need to get in tune with your core values. If you’re not aligned with things that matter to you personally, it can throw your focus off-kilter. If you know what is important to you both physically and mentally, it can help you recognize what “isn’t quite right” in your life or business right now.


Start with a running to-do list that you keep for your day or even your week. Look at it closely. Do you see a few themes? Is your to-do list full of things like workouts, meal planning, family time, work tasks? That could easily boil down to themes of being a good parent and wife, striving at work goals, taking care of your mind, body or finances.

Now, in those themes, identify your top three. While it’s always a good idea to have a running to-do list, it feels different to have your values or priorities at the top. Doesn’t it?

There was a point in my life when I was in full-blown career mode with a long-distance job, five kids and still trying to do everything. That’s when I discovered how critical it is to put your values at the center in order to live a life you love. Instead of running on empty and feeling like your list gets longer every day, picking three things to tackle each day that help you toward your overall goals might prove to be a lifesaver. It allows space to not only prioritize but this strategy gives you things to look forward to that also feed your soul.


When you put your values at the heart of your planning, it’s important to make a deal with yourself not to skimp on the things that are most important. If one of your core values is self-care, don’t let yourself off the hook if a workout is important. If not overcommitting is important to you, give yourself permission to say “no” to others without guilt in order to honor yourself. Once you identify those values, make an agreement with yourself to keep them a top priority. Make them non-negotiable.


Now that you have identified your core values and made an agreement with yourself,  these tasks — your non-negotiables — need to be at the top of your calendar to create a system that’s aligned and centered. It’s called time blocking and it’s basically scheduling your to-do list on your calendar. If you block off the time to work on that specific goal, you’re more likely to work on it. Once you get the hang of this system, it creates a sense of freedom, allowing you to control your calendar instead of the other way around.


Working with thousands of women within Big Sky Women, I know firsthand that there is no more pressing topic these days than work-life balance. It’s easy to get sucked into the belief that a meticulously organized schedule is about throwing on a superwoman cape so you can be everything to everyone.

Ladies, it’s time to throw away the cape. We need not set ourselves up for failure with impossible standards only to cry tears of exhaustion with a daily list that no one is capable of keeping up with. Balance is not something you can achieve. It’s something you DO.

If you’re like most moms, it’s easy to get caught up in those busy bee tasks, even with the best of intentions on getting our “to do” list done. When the days reach to months, even years, without witnessing progress, it’s time to start fresh. Write out your goals, put them at the center of your day, block out time, and get that system of checks and balances in place.


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