Trading the Big Wave for Big Game

by Dan Walsh

If only we had all the time in the world.

2013 was a great year for me. I accomplished much of what I set out to do. A large part of this success was because of something so simple that I’m mad at myself for not doing it earlier: scheduling.

I’ve always been a list maker, but not much of a scheduler. Big mistake. I would always start my years with big lists of what I wanted to accomplish over the next twelve months and then fail to make any concrete plans. I think I compartmentalized scheduling to work related activities and kept it separate from romantic day dreaming. By the end of a year, I would usually feel a mild depression when I looked back at all I had failed to achieve. I was on an extended layover in Heathrow last year when I accidentally discovered the power of scheduling goals.

I was on my way to India with Angelica and needed something to help pass the 18 hour wait. I mused about what I wanted to accomplish in 2012 and came up with a good list. I wouldn’t be able to tackle any of these goals until we returned from India in February. We were both really excited about taking up rock climbing as a hobby, so we decided to sign up to the new rock climbing gym as soon as we got back. I made a little “February” note next to “Go rock climbing!”

Also at the top of my list was “learn to swim.” I knew this wouldn’t be cheap, so I decided to buy the lessons as a birthday present to myself. It was easier to justify the expense this way. I marked a little “July” note next to that goal. I continued filling in the temporal spaces based on how long I thought something would take or when I could afford to do it.

This loose schedule worked out well for me in 2013, so I continued it into 2013. I transitioned scheduling from my notebook to my Google Calendar so it was more accessible and easier to change if goals adjusted.

The two biggest scheduling hurdles seem to be time and money. I can’t accomplish everything in January simply because I don’t have the time. I also can’t pay for everything in January for a similar reason. Some goals are small and don’t have time or budget interference. I find it useful to schedule these as well, if for no other reason than because it creates a pre-committed start date.

Other goals, like learning to surf, are expensive and take a lot of time. When I decided to pursue hunting, which is also time and money intensive, I had to give up something in order to find the extra time and money. I decided to give up surfing. The younger, non-scheduled me would have been upset right now for not learning to surf, but the current me knows it was an active and metered choice. I’m ok with that.