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Why It’s Important To Be Intentional With Your Calendar

4 Min Read
Self

Time is our most valuable resource, yet how many of us secure our calendars in the same way we secure our homes? You wouldn't leave home without locking the door, but we often leave the house without knowing exactly what we're doing that day and when. This lack of intention with our time can lead to disorganization and even more stress, once you realize how much time is wasted. I know many professional women who only use their calendars to stay on top of work-related events, such as meetings or coffee with a client, but fail to see that scheduling life outside of work would do wonders, too.

This lack of intention with our time can lead to disorganization and even more stress, once you realize how much time is wasted.

Keeping a strong personal calendar will not only keep you on task, but will also make sure you prioritize time with friends and family, too. Scheduling date nights or drinks with friends in your calendar may seem a little Type-A. However, think about the intention behind it: you are devoting your time to that person, with the promise of no distractions. That's why when friends ask me to grab lunch, I say "Absolutely!" and ask them to send me a calendar invite.

A calendar invite makes both parties both acknowledge the commitment, serves as a reminder on the day-of, and allows you to transition into a new headspace once you get the calendar reminder on your phone that lunch is starting in ten minutes. For me, it also means I can focus fully on my friend to maximize our hour or so together, because I know there's nothing else I'm "supposed" to be doing. Incredible intimate relationships aren't built in a day, but consistently over time, so make a habit of being present together with the ones you love on at least a weekly basis. Make it a recurring calendar invite to help you keep the habit, or find a weekly planner you love and write it down. Put your phones away during this time and just be.

I started practicing this habit in 2017 after realizing I wasn't focusing on my relationships enough. Even when I was physically with the people I love, I was distracted. There's a term from Nir Eyals' book Indistractable that really impacted me: "residual benefactors." It's something you don't want your friends or family to become. Basically, it refers to a person that gets the leftovers of something once all of the other priorities have been taken care of - AKA, what friends and family become when they only get what's left of you after a long day, week or month.

When we're not intentional with our time and energy, we accidentally make the people we care most about residual benefactors. We overbook ourselves with work and don't book times in our calendar for our relationships which means the people we are working so hard for, get the leftover crumbs from our lives. Scheduling your time intentionally ensures that people you love get the best of you.

Don't feel guilty about scheduling your relationships, either. It's not a bad thing to literally "pencil in" date night or put a sticky note in your planner to "call mom." Just remind yourself that friendships and relationships don't end in a day; relationships are starved to death through lack of time, energy and focus. They cannot thrive and the connection gets lost. You are doing yourself a favor by being a little Type-A, and putting time with someone special in your calendar doesn't symbolize that they aren't important enough to remember otherwise - rather, it demonstrates just how valuable they are to you.

For example, before I became a scheduling-aficionado, I recall a time when I went back to my hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland to visit my mother. I had a few professional acquaintances who wanted to meet for lunches and dinners, and I gladly accepted their calendar invitations. At the end of my visit, my mother pointed out that I didn't have lunch with her but once. I hadn't even realized it, but I was penciling people in because all I saw was open space in my calendar. Without purposefully scheduling time with her, she became a residual benefactor. This was the opposite of what I wanted as she is the most important person to me.

When we're not intentional with our time and energy, we accidentally make the people we care most about residual benefactors.

I think many women can relate to this struggle. Between work, making dinner, events, the kid's activities, emails, errands and walking the dog, our time gets eaten up with day-to-day tasks. Often, we might go through a whole day without distraction-less, intentional time with the people we love. Our calendar is a reflection of our values and priorities. Create a habit around intentionality in your relationships, and make yours the best reflection of you.

This article was originally published December 26, 2019.

5 Min Read
Career

How Fitness Saved My Life and Became My Career

Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da

If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.

In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.

These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.

After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.

About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.

When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.

Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.

Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.

Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.

This article was originally published September 12, 2019.