The Motivational Calendar

by Elliot Lyons

I think the calendar is one of the best motivational tools ever invented. I’ll explain.

I’m a freelance writer, so most of my time is spent either writing stuff or finding stuff to write. Sometimes, there can be months without an assignment. This sucks, and does a number on my motivation.

The calendar helps me start, which is one of the most difficult things to do. It also helps me stay consistent and focuses my efforts so I don’t have to worry about what I’m not doing because I can see what I am doing.

Seeing what I’m doing and planning pushes me to confront the image I have of myself: Am I being as productive as I could be? Am I just freelancing to avoid thinking about what I actually want? The answer to the former question is yes, the latter no. I’ve always wanted to write, but I haven’t been as committed as I could have been. The calendar forces me to ask hard questions.

For me, commitment required taking a step into the unknown, so I approached companies I had no connection to, asking them for assignments. Putting myself out there like that was scary, not because if they said no, but if they said yes—I’d have to deliver, what if I failed?

Planning helped me overcome my hesitation to leap because it gave me permission to do something I wouldn’t normally do. Crossing the names of people I contacted off my list felt like an accomplishment, even if they didn’t respond, even if the contact didn’t result in an assignment.

I expanded my potential by going outside of the familiar pool from which I usually got assignments, all because my calendar made me look at life differently and think more about how I would get what I wanted instead of thinking about what I wanted and wondering why it didn’t show up.

And I never thought I’d be a person who said they got joy out of their calendar, but that’s changed because I now view it as a way to create what I want, and that gets me pumped because I’ve seen how much I’ve accomplished by just penciling stuff in.

So, now, a lot of times, I’ll open my calendar instead of turning on a motivational video because the calendar makes me make good on my dreams, causes me to act, which is the whole point of the videos in the first place.

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