You Can Be That Polished Pro – Scheduling and Prioritizing for Business Success
Part Five in the series: Five Ways to Simplify your Business and Make More Money
We all know that polished businesswoman who seems to juggle a thousand tasks effortlessly. She can drop the kids off for school in the morning, close a big new client by lunch, hold a stellar meeting in the afternoon, star at the local networking event before the kids get home and cook an amazing dinner for her family in the evening – all without missing a beat.
You, on the other hand, may feel stuck in the mud by comparison. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with everything on your “to-do” list, or simply don’t know how to get started on a big project. Maybe you work hard all day but notice that your big projects somehow never get done.
If this sounds about right, then you may simply need to focus on scheduling your time and prioritizing your tasks. There is a powerful connection between scheduling and prioritizing and how much money you can make. Likewise there’s a connection between your schedule and priorities and how “complicated” your business seems to you. The tips in this article will help you take more control of your time and choices, so you can start seeing progress and possibly even an increase in your income.
In order to reach your goals and achieve financial success, you need to take charge of your time. Scheduling provides the framework for which you organize your appointments and tasks. It doesn’t matter whether you use an electronic or physical calendar – just find something that works and honor the schedule you set for yourself.
Here are some important tips to becoming a scheduling superstar:
Know Your Operating Hours
Define your hours of operation and put this into your calendar. Even if you’re like me and often work past “business hours,” you still want to have business hours in place so clients know when they can contact you and expect replies to their emails.
Schedule Personal and Free Time
Your calendar is not just for recording business meetings and client calls. Make sure you actively schedule your free time so that you’ll be sure to take it! If you don’t put yourself on your calendar, some work-related priority will invariably fill the spot. For example, I have created a consistent habit of making sure I have 100% work-free timeframes, such as Friday nights and Sundays. Give yourself permission to relax, and have more fun.
Give Yourself Time to Work On Your Business
There is an important distinction between working in your business and on your business. It can be incredibly easy to focus completely on client work and forget that you also need to continue marketing yourself and your services to bring in new clients and grow your business. Make sure you put time on your calendar to work on your business, whatever that means for you. In my case, writing this article is a way I work on my business.
Block Off Time for Specific Projects
We all have tasks related to our business that we know are important but that we constantly struggle to find time for. Maybe it’s writing blog posts, paying invoices, making follow up calls to new leads, or finally starting on that huge project you’ve been putting off because it feels overwhelming. Blocking off time in your schedule may help you complete the tasks you can never seem to get to or make noticeable progress by tackling manageable chucks of those larger projects. With time assigned for the task, you won’t have to worry about when you’ll finally get around to doing it, and you won’t have an excuse to push it off until the next day. Those important projects become less intimidating and the satisfaction of having completed them will be exhilarating.
Scheduling can provide a powerful framework for actively managing your time, but you may still lack that critical organization factor that can propel your business growth and profits. This factor is prioritization. If you’re someone who feels like they work all day without getting anything done, then you may lack prioritization. Prioritization helps you identify the tasks and activities which will give you the most bang for your buck and then to make sure you tackle those tasks first.
Know Your ABC’s
I use and recommend Frankly Covey’s approach to developing a habit of prioritization. Covey’s method is as simple as knowing your ABCs. At the beginning of each day or week, jot down a thorough to-do list. Review each item on the list critically and assign it an A, B, or C where “A” notes the highest priority tasks, “B” is a medium priority and “C” is a low priority. It may seems a little “elementary”, but the ABCs provide a strong visual cue about which tasks you should work on first, and which can wait for later. Invariably, you’ll find that most of your “A” tasks are the difficult ones that you usually put off day after day. Seeing that big “A” next to it on your list may just give you the nudge you need to finish the task right away and reap the significant rewards.
The stellar businesswoman that I described at the beginning of this article doesn’t have any super powers or a magical genie in her back pocket. Most likely, she utilizes the power of a well-organized schedule and takes time to prioritize her tasks and follow through on that prioritization.
You can do the same thing, and soon you’ll feel like you’re getting more things done, working less and making more money. People may even begin to think of you as a polished pro!
Need a boost with your scheduling and prioritizing? Purchase a Business Sweet Spot Session to understand exactly what’s keeping you from being in your sweet spot, and your action plan for getting the focus you need to get the results you want.