How To Use The Calendar To Get More Done
Do you spend time growing your business or are you too busy running your business?
Managing our time is a constant struggle, but when we use our calendars we can reduce the overwhelm, get more done and grow our business more effectively.
Look at your calendar. What is on your schedule? Client meetings, business meetings, maybe a lunch with a friend? When something is important we put it on a calendar so we don’t forget about it. Our family calendar has birthday parties, school events and even a wedding next month. Many people think of a calendar as a way to keep track of places we need to go or people we need to meet, not necessarily as a way to manage our time.
When something is scheduled on our calendar we work hard to not schedule anything else to do at that time. So what if you used your calendar to schedule time to work on those things that are most important in your business? Here are 4 ways to use your calendar to get more done in your business:
Tasks with Deadlines
When we have a task with a deadline, if we don’t work on it ahead of time it will suddenly become an emergency because the deadline sneaks up on us. Schedule 30 minutes a day or 2 hours twice a week to work on deadline driven activities. This consistency will help keep them from becoming an emergency where you need to drop everything to work on that task. When you first start this process you may need to schedule time every day until you are caught up.
Tasks You Don’t Like To Do
I hate working on my bookkeeping, so I schedule 30 minutes on Monday morning to take care of it. Because I know I have that time scheduled, during the week as invoices come in or I need to make a payment I set it aside for Monday morning. Having a regular rhythm allows me to focus on other things because I know I have time set aside to address this task. Because it is scheduled on my calendar I actually do it, instead of putting it off over and over again until it becomes urgent.
Tasks that Interrupt or Distract
We have all been trained to think that every time our cell phone makes a noise we need to check it. This constant interruption can prevent us from focusing on what we really need to be working on. Turn off your notifications on your phone, but schedule several times a day to check it. I check my social media 4 times a day at regular intervals. I also set a timer when I do this so I don’t accidentally spend too much time on it. I check my email twice a day. I have regular times when I return phone calls as well. This consistency allows me to focus on other tasks, knowing I am not going to miss anything because I have time scheduled.
Tasks that Need Focus
Creating that next offer or content for marketing are activities that benefit from longer periods of focused time. Look at your calendar and schedule at least 2 hours once a week to work on these types of activities. In my business I have designated Monday as a no meeting day. I don’t allow any meetings or client calls on Mondays. That is my day to work on the things that grow my business. I didn’t start with the whole day though – I had to work up to it over time. As I practiced these scheduling techniques I was able to free up more and more time.
As entrepreneurs often our personal lives and professional lives interact and no matter how well we plan and schedule, stuff happens. One way to manage this truth is to plan weekly, but prioritize daily.
Once a week, usually on Sunday night, I look at my calendar for the upcoming week. This includes both personal and professional information. I identify any activities that are urgent and must be completed, then schedule time on Monday (remember this is my no meeting day) to work on them. I also identify any open time in my schedule and schedule it as flex time. By planning ahead this way when something happens I have the flexibility to pivot. A sick child may mean that the things I was planning to do today need to be rescheduled, but because I have already blocked time on my calendar as flex time I know I can move those tasks to another day.
Consistently following this process helps me to prioritize and organize my tasks in a way that helps me not only get more done, but work on those things that grow my business.
Dawn Marcotte is the founder of DM Consulting LLC, a firm dedicated to making the world better by helping women entrepreneurs.
Dawn is an author, speaker, mom and marathon runner. Her changing passions have led her to publish books on topics ranging from parenting to weight loss to entrepreneurship – always with a focus on providing actionable information on complex issues. (build an online business, losing weight during menopause, getting a child to do homework.)
Dawn loves to share practical business advice in her Facebook Group. When she isn’t writing she spends time in one of her gardens, reading all things mystery and training for her next marathon.
Lear more at DM-ConsultingLLC.com
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