2019 Finish Calendar Tips

2019 Finish Calendar Tips


From January – June 2019 I’ll be sharing 12 ideas on how to use your Finish Calendar. They’ll go out twice a month, and can also be found here.



Idea #1 – Keep your calendar in front of you.


If you want to make the most of your Finish Calendar in 2019, do whatever it takes to keep it in front of you. For me, this means mounting it on foam board to make it portable. I do this for 3 main reasons:


1. I like to take it to meetings to show clients that I’m serious about my time.

2. I like to use it as a prop in videos, and having it on foam is a better solution than walking over to the wall with my phone every time.

3. Having it near my desk makes it easier for me to reference it and to write entries on it. I just know that I’d use it less if it was mounted on the wall.


Are all these reasons going to line up exactly like yours? I doubt it.


Like me, you may also get more out of your calendar by mounting it and making it portable, but plenty of people I’ve talked to prefer putting their calendar on the wall.


When it comes to productivity tools like your Finish Calendar, you have to embrace your weird.


You have to be willing to use your tools in unorthodox ways if that’s what it takes for you to get the most out of them.


Motivation needs to be personal to be maximized.


If you’ve already had some aha! moments about how your Finish Calendar is going to help you get more done, lean into those. Even if they’re a bit weird, you need to embrace them.


On the flip side, if you’re starting to see some ways in which the calendar might not work out like you had hoped, be willing to pivot and try something new.


  • You can move it from one wall to another or one room to another.
  • You can mount it on foam board like I do.
  • You can change up your notations if you think of a better way.
  • You can use it to schedule work, measure progress, or both!


However you choose to use your Finish Calendar, do so in a way that works best for you. The goal is that the calendar is a useful tool that helps make time real, whether it’s showing you where you are spending your time or helping you plan out where you are going to spend it.


Keep it in front of you, personalize how you use it, and get to finishing!



Idea #2 – Customize and simplify


Today is a video idea!

Idea #3 – Use Your Calendar for Personal / Family Time


If you want to make the most of your Finish Calendar in 2019, I suggest you use it not just for work but also for play.


Most of us don’t really think to schedule family time or personal time on our calendars. We’ll schedule big things like vacations, of course, but smaller things? Oftentimes they are last-minute considerations or spontaneous decisions.


What if we not only said that time with family and friends was important to us, but what if we actually planned our time like it was as well?


Moms, do you want to find time in a busy schedule to pursue your own dreams? Or maybe you want to plan more day trips or sit down for dinner together more often? Plan ahead and use your Finish Calendar.


Dads, do you want to plan more date nights with your wife or family activities with your kids? Look ahead to your next 2-3 weeks and get them on your Finish calendar before those days fill up with other things.


This doesn’t just apply to parents and married folks, either. EVERYONE is busy, whether you’re a working 20-something, a retired grandparent, a college student, or a 37-year old photographer with three nephews, two dogs, and a jazz band you play in once a week. We all should be prioritizing time with the people we love, and the best way to make that happen is to schedule it.


My challenge for you is to look out into the future, ask yourself what you’d like to see happen, and then get it on your calendar.


What are the things you’d like to do as a family this month? What are the personal things you’d like to do this year?


Use your Finish Calendar for family activities and personal time, and you’ll be on your way to an amazing year!

Idea #4 – Color Coding and Prioritization


Today is a video idea!

Idea #5 – Use Your Calendar Consistently


Here’s what I know about myself: If I can take a look at what’s coming next week and next month, I can stay ahead of most of the important things in my life.


I check my calendar every day not only to remind myself of what’s now, but more importantly to see what’s coming.


Are there surprises? Of course there are. Every month has a new surprise.


This month it might be a fender bender that leaves you with hours of paperwork, insurance phone calls, and auto body appointments. Next month it might be the flu or a sprained ankle you never saw coming.


The problem is when we start to label things as surprises that really aren’t.


That yearly dermatologist appointment you have on Friday, the same day your project is due? It wouldn’t be a surprise if you had noticed the conflict two weeks ago.


That fundraiser you agreed to volunteer for at the beginning of the year? You had no idea it would coincide would this month’s out-of-state swim meet, but they could have found a replacement volunteer had you notified them last week.


Without my Finish Calendar I would be terrible at this, but using it consistently and checking it every day helps me eliminate the “surprises” that aren’t really surprises. I encourage you to do the same.


Get in the habit of using your calendar not just for the now, but for the future.


Idea #6 – Planning in Pencil


Today is a video idea!

Idea #7 – Using multiple systems works for me (and it can for you).


One of the biggest pushbacks I’ve heard against the Finish Calendar is that people don’t think they need it because they already use Google Calendar (or some other online calendar system) to keep appointments and reminders.


My response to them is always, “So do I!”


I actually use three different calendars to stay organized and each serves a different role.


+ The Finish Calendar gives me a general overview of my weeks and months, and helps me to plan out things like writing days and travel days.


+ My paper planner helps me to break down my schedule on an hourly basis for the days when I need those details.


+ Google Calendar helps our family stay informed about what everyone is up to and keeps us from being double-booked.


If you’re frustrated because you’re trying to just stick with one calendar system and it’s not getting the job done, don’t be afraid to use more than one.


Can you go overboard with this? Of course. You don’t want massive overlap and redundancy between systems to the point where things fall through the cracks or you’re making extra work for yourself.


Stay flexible, and be willing to experiment to find out how the Finish Calendar works best for you in your system as you continue to be finish awesome things this year!




Idea #8 – It’s not weird if it works


Today is a video idea!


Idea #9 – Make resolutions all year long.


As a culture, we are AMAZING at January resolutions.


(Notice I didn’t say “New Year’s Resolutions,” I said “January resolutions” because by the time February comes around, most people have forgotten what they resolved to do just 31 days earlier.)


It doesn’t have to be that way for you and I, and I’ve found the Finish Calendar to be a fantastic tool to help with that.


I’m not sure what day you’re reading this on, but as I’m writing this, the month of May is about to start. Is May a good month to resolve to finish something? Absolutely. It’s just as good as January. And if you’re reading this in June or November, guess what? Those months are great, too.


As you continue to use your Finish Calendar this year, let it remind you of two things:


1. Goals can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The important thing is that you make them fun, and you track your progress.


2. Any other month is just as good as January to make a resolution to finish a goal.




Idea #10 – How I capture ideas


Today is a video idea!


Idea #11 – Keeping my emotions in check.


Perfectionism loves emotions.




Because emotions lie, and there’s nothing perfectionism loves more than using a lie to get you off your game.


  • Perfectionism tells you that you haven’t written in six weeks, so you’re a lazy writer.
  • Perfectionism tells you that this book is taking way longer to write than your last one, so you must be losing your touch.
  • Perfectionism tells you that you haven’t taken a trip with your kids in a few months, and they probably don’t even remember what you look like.


Do you know what perfectionism hates?


The Finish Calendar. It absolutely despises it.




Because perfectionism hates data, and the Finish Calendar is an amazing tool to help you collect and review data.


  • So now, when I’m feeling like a lazy writer I can look at my calendar and say, “Oh hey, you’ve been speaking nonstop for the last 6 weeks, You’re not lazy, it’s just not a writing season.”
  • Now when I’m feeling like this book is taking me way longer to write than my last one, I can check past calendars and see that, “oh, I had just as many writing days on the last book as I do on this one, they are just spaced out further apart.”
  • Now when I’m feeling like an absentee dad I can check the data and see that while I’ve been away speaking all spring, we have 3 trips lined up this summer and one more in the fall.

My emotions don’t always tell me the truth, but my Finish Calendar does.


Use your Finish Calendar to collect and review data over the second half of 2019, and tell perfectionism to get lost. You got this.



Idea #12 – Stick with systems that work


Today is a video idea!