A few step by step practices for really kicking time’s ass
In my previous post, I introduced some big picture strategies that help me master my schedule as an active and engaged entrepreneur, business coach, speaker, community contributor, mom and traveling gypsy. In this post, I want to get down to the nitty-gritty and give you some concrete steps to increase your scheduling bliss. Here are five steps I follow when making my schedule and setting appointments.
Step #1: The List
I’m the sticky note queen. I always have tons of these suckers lying around in all colors, shapes, and sizes for making lists. I make a list for each business and additional aspects of my life, i.e. self-care, family, errands, housework, social life. If you have multiple businesses, like myself, I like to make a different list for each business. Learn to mind dump and leave everything floating around in your head on your lists. Ah, feel that? It’s the feeling of free mental space. Feels nice, doesn’t it?
Step #2 Categorize
Organize each list by type of task, for instance your business list might be broken down into follow-up (responding to emails, phone calls), sales/outreach (sending out emails, calls), meetings, creative work, visioning work (goal setting, time to work on, rather than in your businesses). Side note: I set time aside every month to work “on” my business with a small group of accountability buddies who inspire me. I highly recommend it and will dive into this topic further in an upcoming blog post.
Step #3 Prioritize
Run through each list and prioritize each item, assigning it a number of importance and how long it will take. (More on how to prioritize in step #5.)
Step #4 Time Block
Start scheduling. Remember to put your ‘me time’ first. Leave time between your time block chunks, to return calls, emails, use the bathroom, refuel, and get refocused. As an added bonus, give yourself a 15-30 minute window between appts, to complete whatever notes, follow-up emails or paperwork that you need to complete for that meeting.
Step #5 Say NO
My calendar is packed to the gills. Given how busy I am, it’s been absolutely vital for me to learn to say NO. “No” can be a complete sentence. Go ahead, try it. It feels nice, doesn’t it? When my schedule is super tight, with little wiggle room I live by this powerful two letter word.
I have a pecking order for my appointment slots:
ME time (yes, not ALL the time, but it should be!)
“My Pipeline Potentials”
My Networking Group Directors
I schedule my non-essential appointments further out when I really have time. I don’t try and squeeze them in an effort to ‘people please’. Another key thing is clarity. I find it helpful to get really clear on what each appointment is about, so I can make the right decision of where to put them in my calendar. I am not saying “getting to know” someone isn’t important, I am just saying ME and MY sanity is MORE important… because if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to show up for anyone. (For more on self-care, read my post 6 Ways to Self-Care Like a Boss.) Some people might get scheduled out 3-5 weeks in advance. If they don’t like it, then too bad. For some people, the timing just isn’t right. I know I’d eventually like to connect, but it’s not urgent enough to schedule. I might tell them that my schedule is full and let’s touch base next month, or the following.
Remember, time is irreversible. It’s the most precious and the greatest gift we have, which is why I don’t like to waste it – mine or yours.
That’s a wrap, ninjas
I now release you into the world…schedule strategically and be FREEEE!
Have you discovered the scheduling holy grail, or better yet, a time machine? I want to hear from you. Need some advanced scheduling ninja training?
People and possibilities. These are the two words that motivate Lynn Howard, owner of Asentiv Hawaii. She lives by the motto “No excuses, only solutions.” As a business coach, her passion is to inspire others to achieve their own success by believing in themselves and
taking action to overcome adversity. She is blessed with a delightfully snarky sense of humor, which provides comic relief when doing difficult ECC work with clients. An adventurous spirit, she loves to travel and has visited Indonesia, Bahrain, Thailand, Peru, and Columbia. She is based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.