Time Mapping - Blending Sabbath Practice and Goal Setting

I am a person who enjoys setting goals and making lists. Even better than making lists is checking them off.  I don't know where I picked up the term "Time Mapping," but somewhere along the way I started using this practice.

I call it "Time Mapping" because I create a map of the week that I envision having.

I map out where time goes, and what gets done. My inspiration to start this practice was Whitney English, Founder of Day Designer.

Since I am an avid user of the Day Designer planner, I was curious about their founder. So I did a little research and I stumbled upon this particular blog.  

Ever since I read this blog I decided to make "Time Mapping" a weekly discipline. In this article, the author outlines a practice that is now a big part of my Sabbath routine. I am intentional about resting on Sundays. Sundays are a very unique day of the week. On Sundays, I carve out special time to map out my time. I review my past 6 days, and then I look over the next 6 days. It is an opportunity for me to appraise what was accomplished (or NOT accomplished) over the last week, and helps me consider what I want to accomplish in the coming week.   And maybe "accomplish" is the wrong word. What I really mean is, I’m intentional about what it is I want to spend my time on.

At the beginning of 2019, I realized that I had reached almost every goal that I had set out to accomplish in 2018. Some were specific and some were general. 

But every single goal that I had written down at the beginning of the year, and then deliberately made time for every week- resulted in significant progress.

More than 90% of my goals were achieved.  These goals were important to me. They were ambitious to me. They were relevant to my life. Yours could be totally different. What matters is not the difficulty level for you- it's what you want your life to look like this year.  If you want your life to look and feel more peaceful, then your goal might be just saying "No" to things that don't bring you peace. Maybe you'd like to perfect a handstand - set that goal! Whatever goals you set, you must give it the time it deserves in order to receive the prize. Put that time into every week. Enough of the goal speak, here's how I map out my time every Sunday. 

  1. I write in my planner "Time Mapping and Highlight of the Week" on my Sunday slot. 

  2. I look at my planner over the weekend, and see that on my Sunday. 

  3. On Sunday, I get out my journal, my work calendar, my paper planner, and my erasable pens. I put them all on the table in front of me and I get comfy. 

  4. I begin with looking back at the past week. Did I hit my weekly goals for workouts, journaling/reading, my budget, and my career? I track progress either mentally or in writing. Some things, like journaling for example, I just tally how many days of the week I actually journaled. This gives me a little boost if I hit my goal of journaling 5 days a week, and it also gives me a little nudge if I didn't. 

  5. Then, I check the planner for any things that didn't get done. At this point, I decide if it this thing is worth my time, if so, I'll transfer it to the following week. If I decide that it is not worth my time I'll either let it go, or delegate it. (For example, I absolutely needed to clean my humidifier out. I did not get it done two weeks ago, and I went ahead and transferred it to last week, because it felt important to my health. I decided it was worth my time. It was SO MUCH WORK. But now that I've done it, I know how much time it takes, and if it is worth that time.)

  6. I then review the last week with my gratitude glasses on. What was the highlight of my week? I write that down, and put it into a jar. 

  7. I then begin to write in what I envision the next week to look like, with my color-coded pens. Work hours go in pink. Workouts go in green. Volunteer goes in light blue. Journaling time goes in indigo. Personal plans I write in purple. When I am doing it at my best, I also write in the meal plans for each meal to keep me on track. 

  8. Finally, to ensure that I'll keep it up, I'll write in "Time Mapping and Highlight of the Week" in the Sunday spot for next week. This helps me anticipate anything that might get in the way of this time, and plan accordingly. 

So, that's it! This system is what I credit with helping me achieve the majority of my goals in 2018. These are the things that work for me- you’ll have different priorities and color-coding. Keep in mind with this- we’re still human. I definitely make mistakes or fail to Time Map, and then I pay for it. For example, *True Confession, I failed to put this blog into my Time Map. So, even though I had the idea for this blog a long time ago, it didn't get finished a month ago. Just an example of how time so easily gets lost into anything and everything. This is why I like things to have their place in my planner, which means they have a place in my life. (I should really create a blogging time slot for next week!) 

We’d love to help you reach your goals at the Phoenix Counseling Collective. If you’re interested in learning more or becoming a client, feel free to contact us.

Take good care of your time,

~Molly J

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash