In a world full of apps, sometimes the very best thing you can do to improve your productivity is to go low-tech and get hands on with your calendar. What does that mean? It means that you schedule everything – professional appointments, personal appointments, fun things, white space to envision and dream (or to goof off), etc.

Knowing exactly what you need to do and allocating those tasks to specific time slots can be a lifesaver for the busy entrepreneur. I have gotten to the point where I know that if an activity or event is not on my calendar, it likely will not happen. 

I have been known to say, “If it isn’t on my calendar, it doesn’t exist.”

It is incredibly helpful to schedule the various projects you have going on in your business, the administrative and business development activities you need to routinely do, and the personal commitments you have. Figure out how long each activity should take and assign all the activities to specific days of the week. Try to assign tasks to specific time slots. 

I also recommend adding a cushion of time if you are the type of person who underestimates how long things really take. 

Almost like magic, you will find that clients are being invoiced on time, payments are being received, and cash flow is much better in your business.

You may also find that there are fewer customer complaints and fires to put out. 

Please note that activities may move if something time sensitive comes up. This is okay 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, or are feeling completely overwhelmed, try scheduling a few 45- or 50-minute blocks in a row and set a timer. Your butt is in that seat until the buzzer rings. Then you can take a short break to do whatever you want to or need to do.

Working for specific blocks of time, combined with this BIS (butt in seat) technique, will get you back on track in no time. 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.

I also recommend that you add in blocks for 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 that you enjoy doing. 

If you forget this part, you may feel like it is bossing you around and may come to resent your calendar.

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

Pro tip: I color code my activities. Client meetings are one color. My group coaching calls are another. Blank time to regroup in the middle of the day is another color. Exercise is another color. Podcast interviews are another color. This allows me to see what my week looks like and track my progress within seconds. 

I am sure there are lots of spiffy apps that could help me with project management and time management, but I find I do well using this technique.

If you think you don’t have enough time, or are not getting enough done, I highly recommend trying it for a few weeks. 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash