Momentum Podcast: 248

Three Step Calendar Success

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

I’m intimidated by calendars! I’ve always found it hard to grasp the concept of calendars and they give me a really hard time. 

If you’re anything like me and calendars bother you or you just want a better take on how to strategically plan ahead, I’m going to talk you through a very simple three step process that you can use to calendar a day, a week or even a whole year. I’m excited for you to try this out!

Full Audio Transcript

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will.

We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution, and we always will be.

Three step calendar success. I have a confession to make. This is kind of a hard podcast for me to do. I feel functionally inadequate when it comes to calendars. In fact, inadequate is probably not enough of a word. I'm intimidated by calendars, and I know this makes me sound silly. If you've lost any respect for me, just hit stop now and go on to the next podcast, or maybe listen all the way through, because this is something that it took me forever to come to terms with.

When I was younger and I first started in business, actually when I was younger even in school, it was hard for me to grasp the concept of calendars. I know that sounds crazy to some people, but if you're like me you know exactly what I'm talking about. The days of the week never really made sense to me. It was hard for me to memorize the months of the year when it came to how many days are in every month, forget it. I never could do that Still to this day, when people say spring, summer, winter, or fall I really don't know what they're talking about. I grew up in Mexico, then California, then Florida. To me, it was the same all year round.

Calendars give me a really hard time. When I open a calendar on my desktop, I can physiologically feel energy draining out of my body. This morning, I worked with Leanne in my office to set up some dates on our calendar for next year so we know when we're doing our events next year, and I swear as we were doing the dates on the calendar, I felt exhausted and tired. We put a few dates on the calendar, and I'm not kidding, I went upstairs and laid down on my PEMF machine, because I feel so exhausted by being on calendars.

When I first started in business, this was way worse than it is today. I used to sit in meetings and when people would start talking about dates and calendars, I had a trick. I had a small business card sized calendar in my wallet, or sorry, in the pocket on my day planner, and I used to slide it out and put it on the sheet in front of me so that I could track what they were talking about as far as dates and times, because if somebody started saying, "Well, we'll have it in July, or maybe June. Maybe we can move it to May. Well, how will that conflict with the August event?" I mean, I was done by the time they started talking about that, and it was always hard for me to track with dates.

Calendars have always been a massive source of frustration and irritation for me, and they've always ... well, I'll be honest with you, they've always made me feel a little dumb. They made me feel not as smart as the person sitting next to me. In all honesty, you probably hear it in my voice, calendars intimidate me. They make me feel less adequate I guess, or less successful, or less capable, and it just bums me out. So, it's taken me years. I'm 45 years old, and in the last couple of years I've been able to figure out ... and not last couple, but the last decade or so, I've really started to figure this stuff out.

I have a three step process for calendaring, I can't even say the word, calendaring, that I think will really help you. Now, this isn't a process for those of you who are over ... only for those of you who are overwhelmed. Even if you like calendars, even if you're good at this stuff, this process works and it will help you get more done in less time. This process works and it will help you schedule in a way that you won't overwhelm yourself, and you'll feel confident about how you move forward. This process works because if you're looking to set up your calendar and really understand where you're going in the next year, or set up a calendar so that you can have maximum productivity, this will allow you to understand how to do that and where all the pieces fit. Because if you just sit down with a calendar and go for it, and you're like me, or calendars confuse you in the slightest, it can be a really hard process to calendar out a year. But if you go through this process, it becomes a lot easier and there can be massive clarity.

Now, here's why I bring this up right now. In our business, we are actually on a July to June planning calendar. So our year, as far as what our team is concerned, runs from July 1 to the end of June every year. The reason we do that is because this year in June, right now, or this month in June, we're doing our annual planning for next year. Cadey and I decided to move to a European fiscal, which is July to June, because every year in the past when we would do annual planning, it would be in December to start in January, and we all know what goes on in November and December. It's hard to get anybody's attention much less their focus, and their ability to check in on a meeting and really make things happen, and do annual planning.

So today, we do our annual planning in June and we plan all of the next year. That's why I've been around calendars so much lately. Now, if you're anything like me and calendars bother you, or intimidate you, or scare you, or make you feel inadequate, or you just want a better take on calendaring that will make things easier and make sure that you don't dismiss anything or miss anything, here's a simple, very simple, three step strategic process that you can use to calendar a week, like if you want to create your ideal week. You can use this to calendar your ideal day, and you can use this to calendar your entire year.

The first step is take perspective of how long you're going to calendar. Are you doing a year? Are you doing a week? Are you doing a month? What is it that you want to put on a calendar? Recently, Leanne and I did an entire year. So the first thing you do when you're calendaring a year is you figure out what are all the things that need to go on your calendar? What are all the things? What are all the pieces that need to fit on this complex structure called the calendar so you can make sure you have everything you need throughout the year?

Here's what that means. For us, those are things like our monthly planning, our quarterly planning, our annual planning, our all hands meetings, all of the items that we have to keep our team in process and moving forward. Then we also, for the year, we have to plan our three delivery events that we deliver for our clients. We have to plan mine and my family's vacations, because the business that I own revolves around me. I'm the most important person in the business, and I'm willing to admit that. So my team needs to know when I'm not gonna be present, when we're gonna be on vacation, and quite frankly my family needs to know that I'm gonna have that time available for them this year, so we make sure it actually goes on the calendar.

So the first step to calendaring ... It's gonna keep happening. The first step to calendaring is figuring out all the things that go on your calendars. Make an exhaustive list of what is it you want to put onto the calendar, but don't be tempted to start filling in the calendar yet, because the second thing you want to do is then look at all of those things and ask yourself, "What frequency does each one have?" Like as an example, our monthly planning for us, 12 times a year, it has to be once a month. Our annual planning is only one time of year. Quarterly planning is four times a year. Our monthly all hands happen every single month. We want to understand what is the frequency for the events that we have to put on our calendar. How many vacations? How many events? How many meetings? What are all of the things that you want to have in that period of time?

Now, if you're looking at a weekly calendar, think what are the things that go on a weekly calendar? You might have workouts, and meals, and time with family, and meetings with teams, and meeting with your executives, and chiropractic, and self-care, and all kinds of other things on your calendar. so the first thing you do is you make that exhaustive list. The second thing you do is you look at frequency. Chiropractic might be once a week. Self-care, working out, might be five times a week. Daily morning walk might be seven times a week. You want to get the frequency for anything you're doing in the calendaring period you're working with. Then, the third step is to start populating the calendar. You do that by taking the list of everything that you created what goes on the calendar that is now paired with the frequency for each one of those items, and you prioritize that list, and you start from number one, and you fill out your calendar.

So if you're doing a year, you write down all the things you want to make sure are in your calendar for a year. Then, you write the frequency of those things next to them, and then you start populating the year by putting them into the calendar after you've prioritized them. This way, we know exactly what goes in the calendar. We know how many times we need to put it there, and we can populate the calendar with clarity as to all the pieces that need to fit. This will allow you to create a schedule that you can actually stick to and create a schedule that you can put out to your team, and have clarity as to where you're going.

Now, I know I've said a lot about how intimidated, and frustrated, and irritated, and what a hard time I have with calendars, but I can tell you I've had a major shift in perspective in about the past ten years, because even though every time I have to go into a calendaring meeting, and I mean every time, I get uncomfortable and I start feeling like I don't want to, and I have to talk myself into it, and then I go into the meeting and I'm still uncomfortable every single time, I now know that on my way out of that meeting I'm gonna feel incredible. I know that on my way out of that meeting everything in my life is going to feel achievable and easier, and I know on my way out of that meeting I'm going to have clarity as to where I'm going for the next year.

Here's what I know today that took forever for me to learn. When I have that clarity for the next year, when I know exactly what my team is doing, when I know when I'm expected to do things, when I know when our events are, when our planning meetings are, when it's all laid out and ready for us to see here's what happens, everyone on my team has massive clarity about what we're doing, and all of us can put our energy into the business, and go fast, go hard, put the pedal down and just attack the calendar for a year, and make sure that every single event that we have on it is at the very ... is executed at the highest level, and make sure that each month we take advantage of every opportunity we have, because we can see it coming and we know starting the year where our productivity is going to go for the year.

And that, even though I can't stand calendars, and I'll never pretend like I love them, but I do love the feeling of the clarity coming out of that annual calendar meeting and knowing exactly where we're going, and I know you will too. So if you have problems with calendars like I do, remember the simple three step process. Figure out what goes onto the calendar for the timeframe you're working in, write down the frequency within that timeframe for each of those items, and then after you have prioritized those items with the frequency, populate your calendar and put all of the items in it so that you know exactly where you're going and you can execute at the highest level.

Hopefully, you don't hold my intimidation by and fear of calendars against me. I say that jokingly, but not really. When I was younger, I hid this weakness like crazy. I would pretend like I understood calendars. I would fake it in meetings, and then on the way out look at other people's papers and try and figure out what they said and what the dates really were. I would end up having to follow up with people just to make sure that I understood everything that was actually committed to. It wasn't until about 35 years old that I finally, in a meeting, said, "Guys, I suck at calendars. I'm so confused with what's going on," and since then my life has been infinitely easier. Everyone in my life knows that calendars intimidate me. I have a hard time understanding them, and if you're going to talk to me about dates and times, we have to go slow and have a tremendous amount of clarity.

At the end of the day, it's interesting, that level of vulnerability, that level of sharing something that really in so many ways for a lot of my life made me feel inadequate, has made my life that much easier. It's a lesson for you. What is it that you're hiding, or not telling people about, or pretending like isn't there that if you just came clean, it might remove that vulnerability, make it infinitely easier, and stop you from having to hide things? Three steps to calendar success. I am excited for you to try this out.

If you're ready to not only just grow your annual calendar and understand how to execute at the highest level, but create a business that grows to its highest potential, and if you're ready to build the team around the opportunity you have, if you know you could be doing more, selling more, helping more people, and creating a greater outcome, then don't wait. We are helping business owners grow bigger businesses every single day by creating the infrastructure they need to build a team, putting in place the forward planning system so they know exactly where they're going with laser focus, and the communication system so that everyone in the business knows exactly where you're going and can execute at the highest level.

If you're ready to take your business to the next level, don't wait. Go to, answer a few questions from me and my team, and we will get back to you and make certain we help you make your greatest contribution, because if you built an opportunity that you know you could be doing more, if you built an opportunity where you know you could be serving more people, making more money, and having a bigger outcome, don't wait. Go to, answer a few questions, and we look forward to connecting with you.

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