I have never been one of those people who physically crosses days off of the calendar. While I have several calendars, the entire process of crossing a day off once it has ended has always seemed a bit morbid to me. It is as if you are saying, “That day is done and gone. We’ll never have it back.” So while I will cross appointments off a schedule and tasks off a to do list, I will almost never cross a day off of the calendar…
… Almost never. As I have written before, last summer was a learning experience for me. The days flew by so quickly that tasks had to get put on hold, and soon I turned around to find it was September already. I felt like I had not been able to schedule in the things that I needed to get done while I was on break. I felt like I had fallen behind. I felt like I had failed. So this summer, I vowed to be productive. This summer I have been on top of all my summer to do list tasks and responsibilities. This summer I have been quite proactive. But, one of the techniques I have been using, to my dismay, is the crossing off of days on my calendar.
At the start of this summer the Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship, a summer internship program that basically runs my life from June to August, provided me with a summer calendar of events. Naturally this scheduling tool was immediately hung beside my desk so that I could see it daily. Then about two weeks into my summer I read a blog post by another avid scheduler, who swore by crossing days off of the calendar. He said that being mindful of the passing days in a given two or three month period will help you monitor your progress. Being aware of the time that has passed and the time remaining before your deadline, he said, would keep you on track. I was reluctant, but determined to do anything I could to prevent a repeat of last summer. So I tried it and started crossing days off of my Watson calendar.
While I still do not like the idea of crossing days off of a calendar, I can appreciate the practical application of it. If everyday you take a few seconds to acknowledge that you are one day closer to a deadline, you are more likely to work on your projects and less likely to procrastinate. This crossing off of days is a mini reminder that time is limited, and it goes by fast. It is almost impossible to cross a day off the calendar without doing to quick calculation of how many days are left in summer. Just last night I crossed a day off and thought with disbelief, “In just two weeks my summer internship will be over! Where has the time gone?!” And isn’t it better that I have this realization now when I still have time to act on the things I want to do before my internship comes to an end, rather than two or three days before my last day in the Bronx?
I am the first person to say that crossing days off a calendar is a bit morbid and sad. I do have to begrudgingly admit, however, that for the purposes of this summer and staying on track it has really worked for me. When you are working on projects that have defined deadlines or on to do lists with a sharp end date, think about monitoring your progress by crossing days off your calendar. It will keep you mindful of your time, but better yet it will keep you on track. And in case you have not been keeping track, allow me to alert you to the fact that there is ONLY ONE MONTH LEFT OF SUMMER VACATION!! Use this time wisely. Click here for your two minutes of procrastination.