245: The Importance of Designing Your Own Ideal Schedule

245: The Importance of Designing Your Own Ideal Schedule


In this episode, I discuss the significance of designing your own ideal schedule and how this exercise can help you get closer to living a more sustainable and values-aligned life.

I also share recent personal circumstances that prompted me to create my own ideal schedule and how my schedule relies on energy management and pacing all while maintaining my personal and professional priorities. I encourage you to try creating your schedule in a way that aligns with your individual needs and goals.

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245: The Importance of Designing Your Own Ideal Schedule


Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Welcome to the top rated and award nominated Grad School Femtoring Podcast, the place for first gen BIPOCs to learn about all things grad school, personal development, and sustainable productivity. This is Doctora Yvette Martinez Vu, and I will be serving as your Femtor, providing you with tips and tricks and everything else you need to know to successfully navigate grad school and beyond.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: For over 13 years, I've been empowering first gen students of color along their academic and professional journeys, and I'm really excited to support you too.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Doctora Yvette here. Before starting today's episode, I want to announce that my co authored book, Is Grad School for Me? Demystifying the Application Process for First Gen BIPOC Students, is available for pre order. [00:01:00] It officially comes out on April 16th, and between now and the rest of the year, my co author and I are available to speak at your next event.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: We are excited because this is the first book that provides first generation, low income, and non traditional students of color with insider knowledge on how to consider and navigate grad school. It's the book that we both wish we had when we were undertaking our own grad admissions process at UCLA many years ago.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: The book is both a corrective and a calling card to the lack of clear guidance for historically excluded students navigating the onerous and often overwhelming process of applying to grad school. We walk you through the process from first asking yourself whether grad school is even the right next step for you, to then providing you with step by step instructions on how to maneuver every aspect of the grad admissions process, including providing you with sample essays, [00:02:00] templates, and relatable scenarios.

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Welcome back everyone to another episode of the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. This is your host, Dr. Yvette. Today I wanted to share an exercise that I recently did for myself that I found to be quite useful and that might be useful for you. The exercise is the designing your own ideal calendar or ideal schedule exercise.

And what do I mean by an ideal schedule or ideal [00:03:00] calendar? Um, by this I mean designing and allotting times on your calendar in ways that Honor your values, your priorities, your body, your mind, your spirit, and all the things that are meaningful and important to you. Why did I do this? I decided to create an ideal schedule for myself because, well, one, I'm an entrepreneur, so I I do have much more flexibility and control of my calendar than most people, and two, I found myself this month completely at capacity and thinking to myself, I need to make a change because I can't keep going at this pace.

At the beginning of the year, I actually accepted more clients, uh, for my one on one, uh, programs. And I was fully booked. In fact, I increased the number of clients I usually work with that counts as fully booked to test my limits. I wanted to see, okay, what [00:04:00] number is too much for me that, so that way I would know.

Cause I was feeling like, okay, I don't have enough clients right now. I would like to take on more clients than I took on a large batch of clients, which was a really great opportunity that came up for me. And then I realized, hold up, hold up, increasing that top number of what my max number of clients is.

I took on a little bit too much. I took on more than I could chew or I bit off more than I could chew. So now that I am still working with these clients and finishing up my sessions with them, I realized, okay, I have another opportunity now to reassess and make some changes in my schedule. And I thought to myself, okay, well, in an ideal world, How do I want my schedule to look like?

And I was thinking to myself how for so many of us, we live life almost like going with the flow without really being intentional about how we spend our time. A [00:05:00] lot of people have a nine to five job. And this was me too, where you clock in, you clock out, and you don't really think about how you spend your hours.

You just kind of keep working, working, working. Some days might be more intense. Some days might be slower. Some weeks might be more intense. And then at some point, you're done. You might even reach a breaking point. I know that would happen to me where I would reach a point in the quarter system when I worked in the University of California system where I realized, oh my gosh, this is too much or my body would realize it was too much and I would get sick and I'd be out for a day, sometimes multiple days.

And even in one occasion, I was at the ER multiple times because my body was giving up on me. It was too much for me. And I often felt like I had very little control over my schedule. And in actuality, in retrospect, one of the things that I learned the hard way was that I did have control over my schedule when things [00:06:00] became so unsustainable that I thought to myself, I, I can't keep doing this.

I I'm going to have to make some changes or otherwise I'm going to have to leave my job altogether. That's when I went to go see doctors to figure out my health issues, to request documentation, to then ultimately request workplace accommodations so that I could have more flexibility and more in mornings because I tend to struggle more in my mornings.

Mornings are my lowest energy times of the day and also when I am most symptomatic with my chronic illnesses. So requesting that documentation was the first sign that helped me realize I do have more control of my schedule than I realized. I remember when I would work one on one with students, um, as a director of a McNair program, I often left my, my door open and allowed students to come in at any time of day to see me.

And then at one point I realized, oh my gosh, people are [00:07:00] coming to see me. At all times, I am not having enough time on my calendar for me to do my other tasks. So I had to set office hours. I had to set, these are the times that I'm in my office and these are the times that my office door is going to be closed because I'm going to be working and prioritizing other tasks.

And again, that was a reminder to me that even in a nine to five setting, I'm I had some control of my calendar. I got to decide also what I did and what I spent my lunch hours on. So sometimes my lunch hour was in my office eating with the door closed and the lights off and trying to take a quick nap before my next session.

Sometimes it meant meeting up with a friend on campus and having a nice lunch date outside. And I got to decide that because I had to figure that out, what felt good for me. And so now, um, [00:08:00] this is kind of my reminder to you that, um, You also have some things that you can change in your calendar. And if you attempt to create your own ideal schedule, yeah, maybe it's not realistic.

Maybe you won't be able to exactly have your schedule reach what your ideal calendar or your ideal schedule looks like, but you can get closer to it. And the closer you get to it, you're going to know, um, because it's going to feel good in your body. It's going to feel good, you know, in your heart.

Overall, like holistically, you're going to feel better, um, because you're going to feel aligned. You're going to feel like, okay, I'm doing things that like feel good for me. So yeah, I just wanted to let you know that if you're feeling overwhelmed, if you're feeling like you have too much going on, if you're feeling like you're just working all the time, um, Your life doesn't have to be like that.

You don't have to be hustling all the time. You don't have [00:09:00] to be burning yourself out. You don't have to be neglecting other priorities that you have. , this is your life. Even if you're a busy student, busy undergrad, busy grad student, even under really challenging circumstances, even if you're someone that's having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, there are little things that you can do to make things slightly more sustainable.

It's not going to be drastic change, but there are little things that you can do. So what does an ideal schedule actually look like? What does this process look like? For me, I I actually created a table on a Google Doc, but you can do this on a spreadsheet, you can do this in an empty Google Calendar, you can do this if you print out a blank calendar with like boxes and slots for every hour, you can do this in any way that that kind of feels good for you.

But for me, I used a table that I created on a Google [00:10:00] Doc, and I labeled Monday through Sunday, and then every hour, starting with usually the hour, that I start working and ending with the hour that I stop working each day. And from there, I organized my life and workload into categories. So I've got, you know, categories for different types of tasks that I complete every week, and then a couple of personal categories as well.

And I blocked out time for each of these things. So, uh, thinking about my work, what are the things that are most important in my work that help push the needle forward to meeting my goals, and similarly in my personal life, what are the personal things that I want to prioritize that helped me move the needle forward to reaching my personal goals.

And so I blocked out all those [00:11:00] time blocks of Things that I want to do and when I want to do them. And I also, um, considered the time of day that I'm doing things. So thinking about when am I the most alert, the most energetic and reserving the time slots for the things that are most important to me during those.

Um, that's a bit of energy management that I have to do regularly because I do have to pace myself. I cannot work, um, more than a certain number of hours per day. And sometimes every day is a little bit different because of that. Um, so I made sure to account for that. Like typically, when do I have the most energy and what do I want to prioritize during that high energy time?

So I was thinking about, okay, what are my values? What are my priorities, both personally and professionally? And what are my energy levels during that time of day? So my natural cycles that I go through of, of energy in any given day. [00:12:00] And, um, That's kind of how I fit things in. Once I blocked it out, this is very similar to time blocking.

I thought to myself, okay. What's missing or what do I not have enough time for? So one thing that I realized was as I was going through and adding things for everything, I realized, wow, with all the meetings that I have on my, on my schedule, whether it's, um, interviewing guests on my podcast, consultation meetings with new clients, consultation meeting with, with folks that want to have me as a speaker, um, one on one coaching meetings, group coaching meetings.

I thought to myself, I don't have enough hours in the day to have this many daily meetings and do all the extra admin work that goes on behind the scenes, all the planning, all the, you know, in business, it's things like the marketing and the emailing and the, uh, You know, for me producing the [00:13:00] podcast and writing, you know, writing for my newsletter, writing for my blog.

And there's just so much that goes on, uh, the additional learning. I'm always learning. Um, in fact, I'm starting a coaching, a coaching certification program soon. So I'm always doing additional learning. There's a lot that I do that, uh, Um, I need to make time for, so that meant making the difficult decision of reducing my number of one on one clients that I will take on for the rest of this year.

So, um, yeah, you have to make those difficult decisions about what do I not have enough time for? What can I delegate? What can I ask for help on? I will be very, very upfront about this, about the fact that I do have the privilege, even though I'm someone who is disabled, I have the privilege of having a partner and a husband who helps me out a lot, helps me out with child care, helps [00:14:00] me out with um, domestic labor, helps me out with doing the things that are really, really hard for me to do at the end of the day when I've depleted all of my energy and I delegate, I delegate the things that I can't do.

And of course I pitch in in ways that, um, make most sense to us in terms of how we plan our, you know, how we get our chores done, how we do, like, the things that we do, the life skills to, like, survive. He does rely on me to do things that I can't. He's not great at either. So we lean on each other's strengths and support each other and ask for help in that way.

Um, and that's something that I'd like to encourage you to do because I don't believe that we need to be like a lot of us, um, who in my experience, for instance, may have, Immigrant parents and may have self sacrificing immigrant parents or may have very hardworking immigrant parents because they had no other [00:15:00] choice.

They had no other option. They have had to live under survival circumstances. And you know what? In your case, you might be living under those circumstances right now. You might be doing the things you need to do to survive, but I wanna remind you, it doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be that way forever.

And like I said, little things that you can do. So if you were to create your ideal schedule, and it looks way different from what. Your current schedule looks like right now. What is one thing that you can take off your plate? Or what is, well, what is one thing you can take off your plate that maybe really drains you or depletes you?

What is one thing you can add to your plate that that restores you, that energizes you. Like some of the things that I've added to my plate. I mean, now I do two podcast episodes a week because I love [00:16:00] podcasting. So I know that it energizes me and that's why I keep doing it. And maybe it won't feel energizing forever.

And I might forget. Reduce my episodes. Who knows? I might not have the episode forever. There might be a day in time that I choose to put an end to this podcast, but right now it feels really good. So I do it more often. Same thing with, you know, meetings with certain individuals that I meet with. You know, if it feels really good.

Mutually beneficial and energizing and restorative. I keep doing it. So think about that. Think about how do you want to block out time thinking about what are the things that are essential to you? What are your non negotiables? What are the things that you need to survive? This includes when you're going to eat, when you're going to sleep, when you're going to do the things that you need to do for yourself to make sure you're alive and well.

And then making time for, you know, the most important aspects of your [00:17:00] work, making time for the most important aspects of your life outside of work, because we are more than the work that we do. Thinking about your energy levels throughout the different times of day. And also don't forget to leave buffer time to sometimes what I do is I'll overestimate how long something's going to take me.

So that way I have a little bit of wiggle room. So give yourself some wiggle room, add in some open space, add in some breaks, even if the break is five to 10 minutes in between your meetings. And, um, The other thing I want to say before I finish up this episode, it was supposed to be a 10 minute episode, but then this always happens to me.

I say it's going to be short and then it ends up being longer than I anticipated. But I wanted to remind you that I, it is my goal all the time to try to minimize harm and to try to teach people ways to live that feels a little bit [00:18:00] better because the world is so harsh on us and it's even more harsh on you.

The more your identities are at intersections, that Make it so that you're more oppressed. And so I, I just want to remind you that you deserve tenderness. You deserve softness. And if this is not a tender and soft moment in your life, I'm sorry. What can you do, even if it's for micro moments, even if it's for five minutes or less, to take care of yourself, you deserve to take care of yourself, you deserve to schedule in time for things that make you feel good, you deserve to do things that nourish your body, mind, and spirit, you deserve to create your own rituals and activities that feel good, that honor all parts of your identity, you deserve to you.

To be courageous and to say no to things that don't feel good. You deserve to set boundaries, to make space for yourself. You, uh, don't have to have a rigid [00:19:00] calendar. You can schedule in flexibility. Your schedule might look one way, and the day might look completely different, and there's no shame in that.

So just keep that in mind if you decide to create your own ideal schedule. Create it in Even if you can't get there anytime soon, just ask yourself, what's one little thing that I can do to get me a little bit closer to this ideal schedule? That's actually what I'm doing right now. I know that the, for the rest of March and the good, you know, a week, first week or two of April, things are still going to be really, really busy for me.

And then on April 16th, my book comes out. And again, I don't know what's going to come with the wave of, of I don't know, communications that I get from people that hear about my book. I am not 100 percent sure what's to come, but at you, but for sure, you know that I am trying to get as close to maintaining my ideal schedule to keep taking care of myself.

So you deserve that [00:20:00] too. And that's it for this week. I hope you have a good rest of your week and I'll talk to you all next time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thanks so much for joining me in the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. If you like what you heard, here are four ways you can support the show. The first is to make sure you're subscribed and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. The second way is to get your copy of my free Grad School Femtoring Resource Kit, which includes essential information to prepare for and navigate grad school.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can access it at the link in today's show notes. The third way to support my show is to follow me on social media. You can find me on Instagram with the handle at gradschoolfemtoring and on LinkedIn by searching my name. The last way to show your love is to sign up to work with me via my Grad School Femtoring Academy, my group coaching program for first gen BIPOCs seeking to work on their personal growth [00:21:00] and gain sustainable productivity skills.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can learn more at gradschoolfemtoring. com slash academy. Thanks again for listening and until next time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thanks so much for joining me in the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. If you like what you heard, here are four ways you can support the show. The first is to make sure you're subscribed and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. The second way is to get your copy of my free Grad School Femtoring Resource Kit, which includes essential information to prepare for and navigate grad school.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can access it at the link in today's show notes. The third way to support my show is to follow me on social media. You can find me on Instagram with the handle at gradschoolfemtoring and on LinkedIn by searching my name. The last way to show your love is to sign up to work with me via my Grad School [00:22:00] Femtoring Academy, my group coaching program for first gen BIPOCs seeking to work on their personal growth and gain sustainable productivity skills.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can learn more at gradschoolfemtoring. com slash academy. Thanks again for listening and until next time.

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