- Why do you need a magnetic fridge calendar?
- Best practices for common usage of a fridge calendar- Events/ Birthdays/ Appointments/ Schedules Coordination
- How to use your fridge magnetic calendar for planning and tracking multi-month projects/goals?
- How to use your calendar for building new positive habits?
- 5 common mistakes that people make in their planning?
Why do you need a fridge calendar?
- Visual impact
- Solidification of the plan
- Ease of access
- Customization potential
Most people are visual learners. We need to see a plan or an event for it to register in our brains. When you write down an event or an appointment on a fridge calendar, you are making a written commitment to yourself to attend that event.
When you place your calendar in an area of high visibility, you are constantly reminded of your different commitments and schedule.
When you follow our method, you will be breaking down your large projects and goals into actionable time-specific tasks. These tasks are recorded on your magnetic calendar as your task list for that day, week, and month. These tasks will help guide your daily actions towards the achievement of your goals.
A digital calendar can also be good, but they don’t provide as much of an imprint on our brains as refrigerator calendars.
Anything physically written in our own handwriting has a deeper impact on us than a virtual calendar. A physical calendar can become a very useful tool in the journey for planning, organizing, and living a joyful life.
It is also not possible with current virtual calendars to be customized to your specific plan and system. With a fridge magnetic calendar, you may use different colors, different symbols, use stickers, use position for members, track actual versus planned dates and many more customization options.
Best practices for the common usage of a fridge calendar-
- Recognize the specific purpose
- Individual versus team/ office/family
- Use different colors
- Use different symbols
- Ease of access
- Consider using multiple calendars
- Come-up with your own system
- Starting is half done
Most people use their calendars to keep track of birthdays/anniversaries/ events/ family gatherings/office parties/ meetings and appointments. The magnetic paper calendar can be used by a family, team, group or individual. It can be used in an office, home or a group like in church, volunteer organization. It is important to recognize the specific purpose of a fridge calendar. Is it going to be used by you personally? Would you use it as your common family calendar or in an office to keep track of your projects?
The specific use of a magnetic paper calendar would determine what system you would employ to best use it and also where you would place it. If it’s a calendar that you would like to keep track of your family as a group, then the kitchen is likely going to be the best place to keep this calendar. Put it on a fridge where everyone in the family can easily see it. If you are going to be using it for personal projects/ habits and goal tracking, then hang it in your own room or place it on your desk. An office team calendar can be hung in the cafeteria or place in the office fridge or in a place like a conference room where all members have easy access to view/update or keep track of their activities.
The use of different colors is an excellent way to keep track of different types of activities or different members of a team or a family. You may also assign them a position on the daily blocks. For example, there are 5 rows in a StriveZen magnetic calendar daily writing block. You may assign each member a specific row for their appointments. They may also start their appointment with their first initial. You may use a different color for family events.
Use symbols like stars or checkmarks to denote very important events or something that you don’t want to miss. You may also circle the dates to add emphasis to certain dates. It is an effective way to mark the important milestones for your project. If you are tracking a project or a goal and you have already marked the dates for specific tasks for that project/goal on your calendar in a specific color. Then use a different color to mark the actual completion dates for those tasks. This will provide you with a clear idea if you are going to be finishing your project in time or not by looking at the gap between the different colors.
We have already discussed the ease of access in using a magnetic fridge calendar. Determine who would be using it and place it in a location that is most easily accessible for those folks.
At some point, it would be imperative to use multiple physical or magnetic paper calendars to keep track of different types of things. You may consider using one calendar for the office, one for your individual goals and projects, and another one to keep track of the entire family unit. This will also help you clarify the location of the calendar and the system you may want to come up with for the tracking of events and tasks.
A calendar is a highly personalized tool and you need to come up with your own unique system to follow your way of doing things. Consider these best practices as inputs to your own system of doing and tracking things depending upon your needs.
Don’t let any of this overwhelm you due to many details, a slow start is better than no start. Just start using your magnetic calendar first and slowly you may develop your own way of doing things. You may come back to this document again and see if there are any helpful hints that might be able to help you further.
How to use your fridge calendar for planning and tracking your goals/projects?
- Find your final goal and time frame
- Break it down into actionable tasks
- Move backwards from your final objective
- Create a timeline with tasks and milestones
- Mark your plan
- Execute your plan on a daily basis
- Track your plan
- Make adjustments
Keeping a refrigerator calendar is an excellent way to plan your goals for execution and then track their progress. A goal is useless if we can’t really create a plan to achieve it. If you want to achieve your goal, you need to understand the steps to realize that goal. The steps are actionable tasks defined in time. To get to the actionable tasks you may have to break a goal down further into smaller sub-goals. These tasks essentially outline your strategy to get to that specific goal. The key tasks that are measurable are called milestones.
Once you have the specific time-bound tasks listed, then you can place them on your calendar. Mark your milestone with important emphasis. Your tasks should start now and then keep going in the future until the date of their accomplishment, resulting in the accomplishment of your goal.
Executing your plan involves doing these daily, weekly, and monthly tasks associated with the final goal. This way of execution reduces the complexity, bringing it down to the level of the daily tasks. Your job now is to focus all your energy to do these daily tasks to the best of your abilities. A successful accomplishment of these daily tasks leads to a successful accomplishment of your goals.
An example might be helpful here. Let’ say you want to increase your sales by $100,000 in 6 months. You would start this as a goal and then list out all the activities that will help you do that. For example, you may have to get 100 new customers at a rate of $1000 average sales for each customer. To get a contract from 100 customers you may have to contact 1000 prospects as your existing conversion rate is around 10%. To get these 1000 prospects you may have to get 10,000 leads in 6 months. That means you need 10,000 leads within 180 days. If we leave the 30 days for buffer and holidays etc, then approximately 10,000 leads in 150 days. That leads to about 67 leads per day. Now at this point, you may determine if you need to hire additional help to get to a target of 67 leads per day and what would be your daily budget to get these 67 leads per day. You may also come up with ideas on how to improve your conversion rate from 10%. You should also create weekly milestones of sales goals accomplished. A weekly number of approximately 5,000 in new sales would be the target that you might be tracking. This becomes more complex and interesting as we start to go into further details but that is outside the scope of this article. The idea here is to introduce these concepts to get people thinking about how to best use this magnetic calendar in the accomplishment of their wide variety of goals.
Another example could be someone trying to lose 30 lbs in 3 months. That breaks down to 10 lbs in a month and further to about 2 to 3 lbs in a week. A person interested in losing weight should put the specific number down on the calendar with weekly targets and then monitor how they are doing with respect to their goals. They should also note down what specific day they would be going to the gym in a week. What day they would do other fitness-focused activities like walking, yoga, swimming etc. All of this will lead to a visual plan on their fridge calendar leading to the 3-month mark. This would be a very detailed, actionable task-specific plan to accomplish their goal of weight loss. This way they don’t have to be overwhelmed with the enormity of the final goal. But they can keep their focus on their daily tasks and what they have to do today in order for them to get to their final goal of losing 30 lbs in 3 months. They can measure their progress on a daily and weekly basis and adjust their plan accordingly on the calendar.
These are simple examples to demonstrate how this calendar may be used to accomplish your goals without getting overwhelmed into inaction. This way of working facilitates the shift of focus from the final outcome to the process of getting there. The same principles of planning, executing and tracking process can be applied to very complex multi people tasks with equally good outcomes.
How to use your fridge calendar for building new positive habits?
- You can’t fight an old bad habit, but you can create a new one instead
- Figure out your new positive habit and write it down in a goal form
- Determine the actions that you will be taking daily/weekly/monthly
- Create a timeline with these action items
- Write on your magnetic fridge calendar calendar
- Mark off the completed activities on a daily basis
- Take the 21-day challenge
It is important to note that there is no way to fight an old habit. The more you fight an old habit, the more you think about it and reinforce it. The way to get rid of an old habit is to develop a new habit that replaces the old habit. For example, you just can’t quit eating junk food just like that. The more you think about leaving junk food behind, the more you are going to be thinking about it. The best way to get rid of junk food is to create healthy eating habits. You make a choice to eat healthy food and then create systems and processes to make it stick in your daily life. You do that by making sure that you have easy access to healthy food at all times, make sure that you get rid of the junk food from your pantry, while consistently following your plan.
Developing new habits are done by creating momentum that supports your actions in the pursuit of these habits. Consistency is the key to developing any new habits. It has been said that you have to follow a plan for 21 days on a consistent basis for it to be a part of your automatic behavior. You don’t have to stop in the first 21 days, but you can keep doing multiple sets of a 21-day challenge to incorporate any habit until it becomes second nature to you.
Write down the habit that you are tracking in the Notes section and give it an abbreviation. For example, Healthy Eating could become HE. Then you may assign the first row of your daily writing block to mark this habit down once you are done with your day. If you didn’t eat healthy on a particular day, then put an x in that day in the first row. Your goal is to not have any X in the first row for a continuous 21 days to have that habit a chance to grow. You may keep going with this 21-day challenge until you feel that you have mastered this habit.
5 common mistakes that people make in their planning?
Balance between being too cautious or too aggressive:
Some people take too much on their plate and fail due to exhaustion as they often give up after a few days of valiant effort. They might also be more prone to injury, accidents or bad breaks as they lose coherence due to too many tasks or being tired all the time.
Other people take too little challenge as they are being too cautious and don’t step up to the challenge. In that situation, these people might be successful but they are leaving too much room for improvement.
The right balance is achieved when you are a little uncomfortable with the entire process but not too uncomfortable to give up the entire thing. It is also a very individual thing so people have to make their own determination.
As everyone in the ski class was trying to avoid falling at all costs during my ski class, our instructor said- If you are not falling down a few times then you might not be trying hard enough. But if you are falling all the time then work on your technique first.
Not detailing the time-bound tasks:
Many people have a clear idea about their goals but they don’t know how to go from a high-level goal to a low-level daily task list that gets to that goal.
If you are not clear about breaking down these goals into smaller tasks that you can measure in time, then seek help. You might not know about the process as much. You may need to acquire knowledge in that area yourself or take the help of a coach or an expert. Most successful people work with a team of consultants/ mentors/coaches or accountability partners. Once you have acquired the information with the help of one of these resources, then you are able to craft a suitable strategy to accomplish your goals. An essential output of that strategy is to come up with a detailed tasks list that you can follow on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
Not tracking their actual completion versus the plan:
Many people fail because they don’t track their actual accomplishments against the laid out plans.
It is important to know where you are going and how fast you are going there to have a good sense of your progress. If you are going too slow then you might require help to get to your goals in time. If you are going too fast, then you might run out of your resources faster than you might have planned. Consider revising the plan to accommodate your new pace and plan for enhanced resources.
Not being consistent:
Consistent action is a sure way to create momentum towards your goal and build great habits that will support you in the accomplishment of your goals.
We see this over and over again with the new year resolutions. We get too excited or feel guilty and resolve to take action. We start that action and sign up for a gym membership, buy clothes and start going to the gym daily. We try to do all the exercises and stand on the scale after each one of them. Jumping into incessant action without a plan is a sure recipe for failure. We need to take a step back and come up with an action plan based on our goal and the resources available. Then execute that plan in a systematic way, achieving smaller goals as we bite the elephant in the smaller pieces. The consistent action is a result of a deliberate strategy of documenting your plan into smaller steps and then consistently following up on those steps on a consistent daily basis. That way success is assured.
Shiny Object Syndrome:
Once you decide on a course of action then see through it until the completion. One sure way for people to fail is to jump from one technique to another, try different methods. This also goes back to consistency. To be really good at something we have to give it time and practice. As practice makes perfect.
Remember that it takes time to get results and if you decide to jump to another project in the meantime then you have to start from scratch again losing all the potential gains that you had made earlier. This doesn’t mean sticking with something no matter what happens. It only means that once you start working on a plan, then you should have an idea about the appropriate time frame in which to expect results and how much results are expected. If you don’t let something resolve to its logical conclusion and jump to another object, then you are likely to face the same issues again. This actually goes back to having to time-bound plan that informs you when to expect and how much to expect.