Transcript: Calendar Shame with Dina Cataldo
This is it, my friends. This is the podcast episode that is going to change everything for you. Because if you started listening to this episode and you saw the title, calendar shame, you are the person that I want to talk to because you are the one who can change everything in your life. If you just start paying attention to what I'm going to talk about here today. All right. Does that sound exciting? I'm excited. I think this is going to be really exciting. I want you to know that if you experience shame about how much you get done during your week, or don't get done during your week, you are not alone. I talked to so many lawyers who just feel like they should be doing more like they are wasting their time. And really the ironic thing is, is that when they think those things, they really are wasting away their time.
They really are not being as productive as they could be. So what I want to talk to you about today is changing your mindset about everything around your calendar. And this is going to dig deep for some of you, because it can be a really emotional thing because we tie so much of our self worth to what we get done during the day, what we get done during the week. So to think about our calendars and to think about time differently, can bring up a lot of emotions. That is something that I deal with my coaching clients with. I walk them through how to process emotions and how to really start to take charge of the result they're creating in their life. And that's why this work that we do as coaches is so powerful. So if you have not scheduled a strategy session with me, what are you waiting for?
Go to www.Dinacataldo.com/strategysession so that you can learn how to begin implementing these things, these tools that I talk about so that you can begin changing things right now, because you can listen to these podcasts and get some really great information from them. But if you're not implementing them and that's really where the power is, then you've got to really dig deep and understand. If you do not start doing things differently in your life, you are not going to create different results. So schedule a strategy session with me, go to www.Dinacataldo.com/strategysession and let's get started.
All right. So speaking of getting started, let's talk about time.
Two of the most common things my new clients say to me, when they explain their lack of planning or their calendar are these two things. One I can't plan because emergencies always come up.
There's just no way for me to plan things. Two: It takes too long to plan. It's easier to just jump into my day and start working. And since these are also probably the same two things you might be telling yourself during this pandemic, I thought that this was the perfect time to do this podcast. The thoughts that we have now are the same ones we usually have. We are just telling ourselves the same things in relation to the new circumstances that are in front of us. And the reason they are the same is because they've become a habit. And until we consciously break the habit, we'll continue to have the same old thoughts and the same old life. If you want to change things up and be more productive and less stressed out, even when there's a pandemic, I encourage you to listen to this podcast until the end.
We're going to talk about one. Why diving into our relationship with our calendar can help us understand our relationship with our life. That sounds pretty enticing. Yeah. We're going to talk about how your thoughts about the calendar that you have fuel your day, your week and your goals. I'm going to explain what a thought error is. And I'm going to introduce you to a thought error that our brains have. And once you become aware of this error, it is going to be easier for you to see when you're not taking responsibility for your results and where you can take action. And finally, I am going to give you three questions to ask yourself to Uplevel, how you are using your calendar. And these are questions that are going to help you create a better calendar. Most lawyers, I know don't use a calendar properly. I've been there.
I've done all the different things you could possibly do with the calendar. So I'm not judging you. I'm simply telling you the fact that you are not as productive and you are increasing your stress levels. If you do these things, number one, use an appointment calendar only. Number two, use an appointment calendar with a, to do list. Number three, use just a to do list or number four. This is my personal favorite. And I was so proud of myself when I kicked the habit. Use post it notes as your reminders. I mean, do you have posted notes all over your desk? Tell the truth. Are you? Because it's something we, I think O naturally do because it seems so easy to just reach for it. Instead of taking that extra moment to collect all of them and on one magical day, enter them all into our calendar.
Like once you do that, you will find yourself decreasing. In fact, eliminating all of the PostIt notes from your life. So I highly encourage you to begin this process. None of these tools, if you want to call them tools are going to get you where you want to go. None of these are going to help you create the life you want, and none of them are going to help you reign in your stress. In fact, they're just going to create more stress cause you're going to have all of these different things out there, and you're not really taking a hard look at the way you want to spend your time throughout your day throughout your week. All right. So today when we talk about a calendar, I am talking about the weekly planning technique that I've talked about before. The one that I teach my clients, the ones that I get them in on, and I know that they are super resistant to it at first, but once they do it, it is magical.
And I'm also going to link to a couple podcasts on using a calendar in the show notes. So you can go to Dina, cataldo.com forward slash one 12. And I will post a couple of those popular podcasts there because they really help you see what you need to be doing in order to create the calendar that you need. I'm also going to do a free training session on how to get organized and use a calendar correctly. So if you want to make sure that you hear about it, you can sign up for any optin on the website. I will have an opt in [email protected] forward slash one 12. I'll use the busy lawyers, a quick start guide. And if you sign up for that, you will be the first to know when that training is ready. Okay? So basically it's this, you're going to take one hour a week and you're going to plan your week.
You could do it Sunday night. You could do it Monday morning. You're going to take an hour and you're going to plan all the things. All right? And this is the time for you to get out all the post it notes, get out your appointment calendar and put them all into one calendar. You're planning everything from when you wake up to when you go to bed, all right? And you can listen to those other podcasts for details, because this is not going to be a podcast about step-by-step planning. This is about your mindset around your calendar seems pretty straightforward, right? So why do so few people take charge of their week like this? Okay. Why do so few people just invest that small amount of time in order for them to create ease throughout their week? Because there's a tremendous amount of shame when we don't get things done, we don't want to see it.
We don't want to see the writing on the wall. We don't want to be disappointed in ourselves. We don't want to feel bad about ourselves. And so we decide that rather than face the truth, rather than feel those feelings, we are going to dismiss the most important tool that we could be using to change our lives. I know that sounds like a crazy thing to say, right? Like it sounds like hyperbole, but when you really do this and you really start looking at your calendar, the way I'm going to talk to you about today, it is going to shift everything. All right? I think one of the places lawyers really get tripped up is that they, you know, they make a calendar once or twice and then they can't follow it exactly as they planned. So they believe that they are a failure at creating a calendar or following a calendar.
And that it's not something that's going to work for them. They don't realize that a calendar is a tool. It's just a tool. And they can use that tool in a couple of ways. They can use it to tear things down or they can use it to help build things up. So this is how I want you to think of a calendar. I want you to think of it as a hammer, right? A hammer sitting on a table isn't good or bad. It just is. Then a person picks it up, uses it. And depending on what's going on in that person's brain, that is what is going to really bring meaning to that hammer. Right? Okay. It's really gonna show exactly how that hammer is being used. So you can think of a hammer as beating someone over the head, right? Like as a murder weapon, look, I'm a criminal prosecutor.
That's where my brain goes. Sorry about that. Or you can look at it like a tool that will help you hang a picture or build a new addition to your home. You can look at it like your calendar, like a prison. That's keeping you pinned down to your commitments. Or you can look at it as a tool to create freedom in your life, to do what you want to do when you want to do it and help you make easy decisions. Like how great is it when you can look at your calendar and say yes or no, depending on, well, I don't have a spot in my calendar. Sorry. I can't, I can't help you with that. So it's really great to be able to use something like this. It's part of your brain. It's an extension of yourself. You can also use the calendar to cause harm to yourself though.
You can beat yourself over the head with it and tell yourself what a horrible person you are for not being able to do everything on it. Or you can use it as a guide to help you through your week. Ask yourself how have you used your calendar in the past to build yourself up or tear yourself down and want you to take in this concept. Listen, hard here, stop everything you are doing. If you are multitasking, come back to me, please. How we interact with our calendar is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourself. Let me say that one more time. How we interact with our calendar is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourself. Our calendar reveals what we think about ourselves, how much love we have for ourselves, whether we make our family a priority. Like so many of us say is the case.
Whether we're really taking concrete and massive action towards our goals. I mean really think about it. What in your calendar reflects your values? Does it show you exactly that you are putting in the time towards writing that book, writing blogs for a website, thinking about your clients and what they need most from you. Do you put time into it to show yourself how much you value yourself, whether that's by taking walks or, you know, working out or, you know, whatever it is that you need to rejuvenate. I mean, do you add, play into your calendar? What are you doing with your calendar? What does it show you about you? Now you can either let this knowledge inspire you, or you can use it to beat yourself up. If you choose the former, let's get to work and helping you create the calendar, you need to intentionally create the life you want.
And if just hearing what I'm saying right now about this relationship with yourself is kind of getting you down. I want you to perk up because I've got something for you that you can think about and you can begin making these shifts in your life if you choose. But you just have to start thinking about things differently. Because if we stay in that same rut of thinking the same things over and over again, we're never going to create change in our life. All right? So let's, let's get to work here. Let's talk about the idea that our thoughts about our calendar really fuel our day, our week and our goals. Most of us go through our day, just beating ourselves up and thinking horrible thoughts to ourselves. And when I started seeing this with myself, I mean, I knew things had to change, and that's why I changed everything.
Once you do things like thought downloads, and I talked a lot about that in episode one 11, then you can start seeing those thoughts and retraining your brain. And remember those two most common things that my new clients say to me, when they start explaining their calendar situation, they usually say they either don't plan because they have emergencies that always come up. So basically why bother. And the other thing they say is it just takes too long to plan. It's easier to just jump into my day and start working. Well, those are the thoughts they're using to fuel them. They're not too exciting or inspiring. Right. Who would want to use a calendar? If those are the thoughts running in our head, no one, right? They just kind of seem like you would be resigned to what you're going to get, right? Like when you, when you think the thought, well, I just, I just can't plan because emergencies always come up.
It feels very resigned. It doesn't feel like you're committed or certain. I mean, this is what happens when we have those kinds of thoughts, we start to feel anxious, annoyed, frustrated, and then we blame the calendar. Or we blame ourselves for not having stronger willpower. We don't make any more plans and, or we don't stick to the minimal plans we had in our brains. We feel behind, we feel rushed. We do things like skip workouts to make back time. We sometimes snap at people. We love because we feel like they're wasting our time by interrupting us. And then of course we spin in our heads for guilt about doing that. We beat ourselves up with thoughts. Like I should have got more done. If I just work a little harder, I can catch up. We stress ourselves out and we create a situation where we're abdicating responsibility for our week and make our work take longer than it needed to.
And of course, it's way more stressful than it needs to be too. And then lawyers wonder why they don't have any time or energy to focus on projects. They've been dreaming, dreaming about like writing a book, building their practice, meeting a fitness goal, spending quality time with their partner. We think that the calendar is causing us to feel anxious and annoyed. We think that we just have too much to do, but it's really our thought that we can't plan. And then we turn this into annoyance and anger at ourselves for not getting more done. So let's talk about where the thought error is here. A thought error is a thought that creates unwanted feelings, like pain that lead to unwanted actions. So here's the funny thing about our thoughts. We think that because we have a desire that we should automatically want to do it, right?
Like we should automatically just do it. And if we don't, then there's something wrong with us. Here's the thing our brain has literally evolved to, to basically just want things that are super easy and having a calendar isn't super easy, right? Like you have a commitment to yourself that you want to go to the gym or go for a run or whatever it is. You are going to face the discomfort of waking up in the morning and facing the idea of going out into the cold and going for a run that takes a lot of energy. And our primal brain was not evolved to say, yes, let's use lots of energy. It wants to conserve energy. So just because we think we want to do it and it should be easy. Doesn't mean we don't have to retrain our brain to make things a habit, to make them easier for ourselves.
So I want you to recognize that if you are feeling resistant to creating a calendar or doing things on your calendar, it is normal. Okay. None of the thoughts we've just covered are going to create feelings like inspiration or motivation or confidence to achieve what we want to achieve and overcome that primal programming, just because you're feeling pain and resistance to creating a calendar doesn't mean that it's the calendar that's creating the pain. It is the person using the calendar, creating the pain, remember the hammer analogy. All right. So when we have this thought error, then lawyers give up on calendars altogether. They don't see the benefit of a tool that's going to help them consciously build up the life they want and result to end re resort to subpar alternatives, to plan, right? Like the, to do lifts, appointment calendars, post it notes, those kinds of things.
We don't recognize that it's just our primal brain functioning. Exactly how it's supposed to be functioning. We have to take the extra step to engage our prefrontal cortex, to begin changing the habits, to begin rewiring our brains, to get things done. And that's why I love coaching so much. That is the work that we do. So let's say you've planned your week. Just like I described earlier. Okay. You make it to Wednesday on your calendar. Maybe you even make it to the end of the week. You do everything. Okay. Maybe you do. Maybe you don't, let's just say you get, you get, you know, some of the way through, and then you look through what you did, but what our brain usually goes straight for are all the things we didn't do. It's not looking at wow. What a great job I did. I did 80% of my calendar.
I did 60% of my calendar. No it's telling us I didn't get everything done. It was just too much work. I'm not doing it right. Why should I keep doing this? I can't get it all done. This is too hard. I hate feeling disappointed in myself. I, I hate feeling this way. So the way our brain works is it says, well, the calendar is making me feel pain. So I'm going to stop using the calendar. That is a big mistake. All right, you are using the calendar in this case to tear yourself down rather than build yourself up. Remember your relationship with your calendar as a reflection of your relationship with yourself, chances are you're doing this exact same negative talk in other areas of your life. All right? So really pay attention to this and where this comes up in your life. Here's what I want to leave you with.
These are three questions to ask yourself. If you find yourself with calendar shame, all right. Calendar shame in the middle of the week or at the end of the week. It doesn't matter when you can always regroup. There's always a time for you to stop everything and regroup. Okay. So the first question I want you to ask yourself is, did you go all in on that one hour when you were planning for your week and I'm going to break this down further. Okay. That can usually be broken down into one bigger issue, which is, did you have compassion for your future self when you made your calendar? In other words, were you thinking about you on Thursday? Right. So if you're making your calendar Sunday night, were you thinking about, well, Thursday night, I'm exhausted and I just want to laze around and watch TV.
Or did you decide that you were going to plan, you know, your entire day back to back meetings, and then when you got home decided you were going to write, you know, three contracts while you were eating dinner. So I want you to recognize what you were doing, what you're thinking about during that hour, when you're planning so that you can have compassion for your future self. You've always want to make sure that you've got your back, whether it is you in the present or it's you in the future, you always want to think about how can I make sure that I trust myself and you build that trust by not screwing yourself over when you're creating a calendar. That is just crazy, crazy town. Okay. So make sure you've got space on your right, like don't schedule back to back to backs, try to build in some time there, like maybe 10 minutes and maybe your meeting spills over.
Maybe it doesn't, but don't try to cram something in there, like checking emails so that you could feel like you're being more productive, give yourself space. And when you're planning your calendar, make sure you're planning you time first and you stick to it. So you've got like some kind of ritual you do in the morning. I like my lemon water, you know, all of that good stuff. My coconut tea in the morning. That's something I love to do in the morning. And I don't compromise on it. That is happening, period. I don't plan meetings early in the morning because I want my me time. So that is why that, that time is not consumed with checking emails or doing work. It's just for me. All right. During that hour, when you're planning your week, think about problems ahead of time that you knew were going to come up like childcare issues and needing to arrange help.
Maybe, you know, you're going to need to order groceries online to save some time that week, because you just don't have time to go to the grocery store. Or maybe you can ask somebody to go grocery shopping for you really think through your week. I mean, that's what that hour is about. And when you have that hour of quiet time, when you have all of your electronics off and you can just focus on you and your week, you're going to be able to think about all of the problems that could come up. And when you do, then you're not going to have so many emergencies. All right. To ask yourself what you were thinking about during like throughout your week. Okay. So anytime you didn't want to look at your calendar, why, what were you thinking notice when you don't want to do something on your calendar?
Why? Right. These always come down to a feeling like we feel anxious. We feel fear. We feel anxiety. Notice the feet, the feeling. And when we avoid doing something on our calendar, it's because we're trying to avoid that feeling. Our brain doesn't want us to feel bad. And so it's telling us in that moment, Nope, don't do that. It doesn't feel good. And it's programmed just to do the easy stuff. It's up to us to recognize the feeling, feel it all the way through and tell ourselves, okay, it's just a feeling I can do this. And then you can get back on track. All right. Another question to ask. Are there ways you could make this calendar easier on yourself next week? What I do during that hour of planning each week is review my prior week, where there are times when I over-scheduled myself, where there times when I just didn't leave enough space for me to enjoy my week, did I give myself time to enjoy walks with my dog?
Like, what am I incorporating that I don't want to be incorporating? And what do I want to incorporate more of? And what should I just be giving up? Because that is not how I want to use my time. And when you notice the negative thoughts coming up, right? Like the ones that are what's wrong with me, I should be doing more. There's not enough time. I want you to do this. I want you to give positive thoughts, equal airtime. Even if you don't 100%, believe them yet, tell yourself nothing has gone wrong. This is how my brain works. That's okay. And this is part of the learning process. I'm doing exactly what I need to do right now. There's always enough time to get the most important things done. I can do this and remember breathe. All right. Number three, are you reviewing your week for what worked and what didn't work?
So we really talked a little bit about this already, but this is going to help you continue to improve your calendar, right? Every time you didn't add enough break times for your kids. I know that's been coming up as like coaching clients. Aren't anticipating the amount of time that they want to spend with their children and you know, kind of the timing of it. All right. So just recognize what's coming up, what you can anticipate. And yes, sometimes you're going to have to move something on your calendar. If you have kids at home and they're, you know, coming in to, you know, your work time at an unanticipated time, and maybe there's a way for you to shift responsibilities for childcare. Somehow during that hour, you want to get work done. I mean, kind of think about the possibilities for you. The important thing is to remain open to it so that you don't feel like you're obligated to do things or that you are somehow, you know, a bad mom or are bad dad, just because you want to get some work done.
Okay. Recognize there's a balance there. And remember a relationship is not about things being all or nothing. Okay. It's actually a really good point considering like, you're going to have to shift things, you know, we're in the middle of a pandemic, things pop up, all right. There's people working from home. We have kids at home. We have different responsibilities than we're used to. And maybe even thinking about having a calendar is kind of challenging right now, but I believe it's more important than ever. Okay. It's all about communication and understanding. That's what a relationship's about. There's a lot of compassion that goes into having a relationship with another person. And the same goes when you're working on your calendar, if it doesn't get all done, that's okay. You're going to be light years ahead of where you would have been. If you didn't create the calendar at all.
And when there is an emergency and we're talking blood or tears, right. You can handle it. You'll move things around if necessary and decide to skip things completely, if that's necessary and that's okay. Right. I want you to know that you can treat your calendar as a living thing, right? I think that's where we get so caught up is that there's this perfectionism around using a calendar and it's a relationship. It's an ongoing relationship. It's constantly shifting. And every week we get to reevaluate. In fact, every morning I look at my calendar and I reevaluate. Okay. Is that going to work for me? Did I schedule enough time for myself? Are there enough gaps? I look at my calendar every single morning and I review it right. Having a calendar is not a prison sentence. It is a relationship. Okay. They are not the same thing. And sometimes it's Rocky. Sometimes it flows smoothly. And if you, if you stick with it, if you stick with it for the long run, you are going to love the results. I promise you all right. I will talk to you next week. Bye.
If you enjoy this podcast, I offer one on one coaching using my, be a better lawyer framework. That's where we rewire your brain to help you create the life and the practice that you want. Go to Dina, cataldo.com to schedule a strategy session.