Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Calendar

Some time ago, my father in-law shared with me the following experience:

The story starts with him stumbling upon a box of his old "yearly day planners” - going back some 40 years. The planners were an archive of his entire working career.

Having some time, he decided to go through these planners and take a “walk down memory lane”. He poured through the planners. He relived the “daily grind” - busy days and countless meetings with scores of people.

He went through roughly 20 years’ worth of planners before he stopped. The process was upsetting him.

To paraphrase him: 

“As a working person I was very busy. I worked long days. The stress levels were, at times, unbearable. My work felt so important, at the time….”

Then the other shoe fell….

“Going through these day planners, all these years later, I realized that I didn’t remember virtually any of the meetings or events listed in those books….. Except for those related to my children (births, birthdays, & other special events)

His experience has left a lasting impression with me.

It forced me to think about the balance I have (or don’t have) between my own family life and my professional “working life”.

How am I filling my calendar? Are the people I’m meeting with, interactions I’m having and relationships I’m making, going to be memorable?

What will I remember when I look back at my “archived digital calendar”?

I hope that when I look back in the rear-view mirror, I can say that I was a caring and loving father and husband first and foremost.

I want my professional career to be defined as “not only doing things right but also doing the right things” for the students in my care.

I want to look back and remember scores of meaningful relationships with colleagues and students.


  1. This a good reminder to put all those great little things into your planner, whether they are planned or not. If i was to look back at my Google calendar in 20 years would it look at all like I made any impact on kids or just had a bunch of stuffy meetings?

  2. Really appreciate this post Johnny. We are getting ready to begin our second quarter this week and this serves as a good reminder to me about priorities. Balancing our lives at work and at home is a significant challenge. As you allude to, it helps to consider our "calendars" in terms of people and relationships--not tasks and meetings. Thanks for this reflective post!

  3. Love this post. Especially the "doing things right and doing the rights things". Sometimes I find myself going from meeting to meeting and issue to issue without the proper amount of mindfulness. Just being sweep along by the current of the day.

  4. Thanks for the comment Kyle, Jeff and Marty. This is something I have to be real intentional about in my life. Hopefully this reflection will assist you too!