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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Productivity 101: Your Friend the Calendar

Written By: Catherine Morgan | No Comments

2015 Calendar“It’s not interesting, but it works – pretty much every time and for everybody.” That’s what I say about my best tip for getting more done if you find that your days are consistently getting away from you, or if you find that you’re not able to carve out time to do something that is important for your business.

It’s Productivity 101, but sometimes the very best thing you can do is get hands on with your calendar. What does that mean? It means you’re schedule everything – professional appointments, personal appointments, fun things, time to goof off, etc.

As I discussed in a previous post, knowing what you need to do can get you out – and keep you out – of overwhelm. Knowing exactly what you need to do and allocating those tasks to specific time slots can be a lifesaver for the busy entrepreneur.

One of the services I offer is accountability coaching. I get on the phone with a client and we talk about the various projects they have going on in their business, the administrative and business development activities they need to routinely do, and the personal commitments they have. We then figure how long each activity should take and assign all the activities to specific days of the week. Sometimes we even assign things to specific time slots if it’s a particularly busy week.

Could my clients do this themselves? Sure. Do they? Sometimes… but the value of doing this consistently has an immediate return on their investment. Almost like magic, their clients are being invoiced on time, payments are being received, and cash flow is much better.

Please note that activities may move if something time sensitive comes up. It’s OK because you know how much time you need and can allocate the activity to another day.

If you are far behind on a client deliverable, try scheduling 45- or 50-minute blocks in a row and use a timer. Setting specific blocks combined with the BIS (butt in seat) technique will get you back on track in no time. Your butt is in that seat until the buzzer rings. (I use this technique a lot.) You will find that by the second or third block you are on a roll and it isn’t even that painful.

Fun fact: Carol also uses this technique and sets the alarm on her phone to correspond to each end time to make sure she stays on task.

I also recommend that you schedule in fun things and free time. Why? Because you don’t want your calendar to just give you hard things to do, you also want it to give you fun things. If you forget this part, you may feel like it is bossing you around and come to resent it.

I urge you to consider your calendar to be what it actually is: your friend.

You can hear the story of what happened with a client in just one week here.

Article written by
Catherine Morgan is the editor of Business Unplugged ™ and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc., a virtual provider of coaching services to individuals who are in business or career transition. Catherine is the author of the eBook Re-Launch You: Discovering Your Point B and Embracing Possibility. An experienced independent consultant who was employed by three of the former Big Five consulting firms, Catherine combines job search strategy development with accountability coaching. Catherine speaks frequently on topics related to career transition, small business, productivity, and entrepreneurship. She doesn’t take herself seriously, but takes her subject matter very seriously.