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For many of us, today is the 1st working day of 2009 and many of you will be thinking about scheduling our working lives.

For those of you who know me, you know I work on values based planning. After we’ve run through a number of exercises to establish your goals and values you can then prioritise your calendar, putting in the things that are most important to you in the right order.

This is how I did my calendar for 2009:

  1. We’ve already decided when and where we’ll be having our family holiday, so I block that month out.
  2. Next I put in all the times when the kids have important things on (and I mark in the school holidays so I don’t get any surprises when the house is suddenly not as quiet as usual).
  3. I put in four mini-breaks. These are times each quarter when Janine and I will take time off to switch off, chill out and reconnect. (This is very important)
  4. Then I block out time for an ‘adventure’. This is where I go off for a boys weekend, biking, canoeing camping etc.
  5. Then we pick at least four weekends in the year when we’ll take the kids somewhere for the weekend.
  6. What I have left is time for work. I then block out important dates such as conferences etc.
  7. I block out one week per month when I’ll work without interruption. Depending on what I’m trying to get done, I may go away from the office for the week to do this work.
  8. I then work out a basic fitness routine and overlay this over the entire calendar. In my case I go for a jog at 5:30am with the aim of doing an average 32km (20 miles) per week and then I go to the gym at 7:30am three times per week.

The key to making your life work the way you want it to is to ensure that the most important things are locked in and you leave plenty of flexibility in the other parts of your calendar. For me 1,2,3, 4 are locked in. I can move them within the year but I won’t delete them.