Do you start each day with a plan in place? If you are like most business owners, you spend each day in a reactive mode, responding to whatever events, tasks, and problems come your way. By 5:00, you are exhausted, yet cannot really say you accomplished any of your goals. That’s why the concept of an ideal calendar is so important to understand and implement.
The objectives of the ideal calendar are to:
- Double our productivity
- Focus on our most important activities
- Get more done in less time
Start by creating and building your ideal calendar, which centers around your values and your big dreams and goals for your business. When we are clear about those, the scheduling of time becomes much easier. No longer are we reacting to what arrives in our inbox and the requests from others; rather we are in control and making conscious decisions to get more done in less time (and that means less stress!)
What if you could double your productivity, focus on your most important activities, and get more done in less time? Read on to learn how.
Here’s the simple process for building your Ideal Calendar and using it every day.
- Identify your Core Values, BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and other long-term goals. Note: Your BHAG is a three to five year goal. It should be significant enough that you are a little embarrassed to tell your best friend.
- Define the two or three Strategies that you are going to pursue that will lead to achieving your BHAG. Remember, these must be aligned with your Core Values.
- Establish your Tactical (one year) plan and the goals that you intend to accomplish during the year.
- Identify monthly goals, weekly and daily targets. Daily and weekly activities are called IPA’s or Income Producing Activities. They are the building blocks of your Ideal Calendar.
You are now ready to build your calendar. Here are the simple steps.
- Put mandatory commitments on your weekly calendar first. These might include networking group meetings, team phone calls, personal events that must happen at a fixed time. Note: If you can adjust the time of an appointment, don’t put it on your calendar.
- Block time for your IPA’s. If you have determined that you need to spend 10 hours on in person meetings with prospects, put blocks of time – usually at least two hour blocks – on your calendar. Note: It is important to keep blocks of time together; experience has shown that productivity drops off when the blocks of time are too short (or too long).
- Put other appointments on the calendar around you IPA blocks. If someone asks for a time in the middle of an IPA block, try to schedule them in an open time. Say something like “Tuesday morning is full. How does Thursday morning or Friday afternoon work?” This usually works with doctors, hair appointments, etc. If the other party is unable to change, you may have to move part of your IPA block to a different time – but don’t just let it disappear, reschedule it so you get your IPA time every week!
- Review your Ideal Calendar every week. How did you do on your objectives last week? Do you need to adjust your calendar to meet some demand on your time that you didn’t anticipate.
- Keep a scorecard of your IPA’s to ensure that you are meeting your goals. Having an accountability partner for your IPA’s is a great way to stay on track.
Remember today: “If you don’t manage your calendar, it will manage you.”