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How A Desk Calendar Changed My Life

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Jun. 30 2014, Published 8:01 p.m. ET

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Earlier this year I accepted the internship of my dreams.

I spent years listening to Angie Martinez on the radio (pre iHeart Radio days), and watching The Breakfast Club interviews had become my newfound obsession. I wanted to intern in radio, but I thought my background in print wouldn’t make me a top-notch candidate. But, I finally got out of my own head and applied – and ended up accepting an internship with a CBS Radio station 94.7 Fresh FM.

There were many details for my new position as an intern as with any new job but the one that stuck out the most was the 5a.m. call time. I was interning with the Tommy Show which runs every morning from 5a.m. – 10a.m. I’m not a morning person by any means, in fact, I negotiate with time every morning – “Just a few more minutes… hours, please!” I push my luck when I try to calculate the exact time I should roll out of bed in order to hop on the train and make it to work on time. So a 5a.m. call time wasn’t exactly the aspect of my dream I wanted to come true, but I decided I would woman up, wake up early, and work.

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Waking up early didn’t seem so bad at first – yes my body was a little shocked but I thought that was normal. I found myself trying to go to bed earlier, but graduate school doesn’t always allow you to do that. My routine for the next four months became:

  • Wake up at 4a.m.

  • Negotiate with time

  • Roll out of bed and throw on anything I could find

  • Grab something for breakfast

  • Rush to the station

  • 5a.m. we’re on air

  • Leave the station at 10a.m.

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Wake up at 4a.m.

Negotiate with time

Roll out of bed and throw on anything I could find

Grab something for breakfast

Rush to the station

5a.m. we’re on air

Leave the station at 10a.m.

Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Not to mention, I was taking two of the most hands-on and intense classes of my graduate school career and working. I found time for naps, but some days they were optional. Soon I began to forget things more often than usual. My days began to run into one another and I would lose track of time. Assignments, due dates, emails, returning phone calls, and meetings – none if it was sticking with my memory.

So after admitting that this was a problem (the first step), I decided to find a solution to my problem (second step) – and that solution was to buy a calendar. Simple enough, right? Now I know you’re thinking “Why didn’t you just use your iPhone or those apps they make specifically for productivity?” Well because although my age puts me in that millennial category that relies on technology to function – I’m old school. I use my laptop for blogging and schoolwork. I use my phone for texting and email accessibility – and occasional Twitter posts (a place I disappear from often). I don’t have Facebook. I still prefer buying the New York Times newspaper rather than rely on the digital editions, and I curse e-readers. I’m with the times to an extent but because I can be a control freak, I like to think I have it together without having to rely on too many outside factors.

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So the desk calendar it was. I spent hours in Target trying to find a calendar that fit perfectly with my needs. I needed to be able to write on it because I tend to have several things going on in one day, but it also needed to be big enough that I wouldn’t… no couldn’t ignore its presence. And I found just that.

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Ever since I bought this calendar almost five months ago stress has been down and life has been a lot easier. I’m no longer remembering things out of nowhere and rushing to get them done. I’ve been able to hold myself accountable for everything I write on it and not just dates and assignments, but writing quotes that will help motivate me through the day. Now I’ll be honest, there was a short time in May where I didn’t commit to writing anything down at all and absolutely nothing got done when it was supposed to. It really threw me off and made me feel overwhelmed and unproductive. The same way I felt before.

I know I could and should train my mind to remember things – slowly but surely – but for now I like to rely on what I know is helping me stay on top of school, two jobs, my thesis, and life without pulling my hair out or taking random naps in hopes that everything will mysteriously get accomplished without my involvement.

But the school struggle life means I can’t afford a maid nor an assistant – so I’ll stick to my life changing, handy-dandy desk calendar.

What are some of things that are helping you keep track of your life? Tweet @HerAgenda, and share your stories.

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