Would you like to carve out more time to be consistent and productive?
I’m betting you said “Yes!” 😊
Surprisingly, I have found that there’s always a few tweaks, and in some cases some major shifts, that you can make to your calendar to have more consistency and productivity in your days.
5 BASIC DEFINITIONS & CONCEPTS
Let’s start with a couple of basics that might help create a framework for more balance and consistency.
THE MINDSET BIT
“Setting a schedule makes me twitch! I’m a creative and a schedule makes me feel caged. I like to do things when the spirit moves me!”
“I have too many balls in the air, and I have to touch them all otherwise something is going to fall apart!”
I’ve worked with plenty of entrepreneurs like you who have a hard time with setting a schedule. You want to be available to your clients. You might be hoping this is showing them that you’re available to them. You’ll see anyone pretty much any time. I get it. It’s how I started out, too.
When you make an appointment with your dentist, doctor or hairdresser, you get a couple of options and because you want to see them, you pick one, right? Your clients and your business are no different. They come to you because they want to engage with you, therefore, giving them a few choices shows them you have other things going on. They will pick one.
CREATING YOUR SCHEDULE
Let’s create a first draft of a schedule for you to experiment with for a month or so, gather some evidence of what worked and what didn’t and then tweak from there.
What is your START time and END time for each day? This creates the foundation to your productive work schedule.
I can hear your resistance so here's a suggestion...if “schedule” makes you twitch then use the word “routine”. Feels better, doesn’t it? The point is having the intention to doing all that you want to do in a day begins with setting yourself up for success with a plan. And plans with boundaries are a great foundation.
Mondays are great for TIME ON. People are coming back off a weekend and “getting caught up”.
TAKE A STEP: Create a recurring appointment on your calendar to repeat every Monday as Busy called Admin Tasks.
BENEFIT: You’ll see it on your calendar as your reminder and by marking it as busy your client scheduling software won’t see it as available to client sessions.
Carve out blocks of time or days for client work. This is TIME IN. An example is Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. No admin work (cuz that was allocated for Monday) and no social media posting in between clients. If you have a few minutes, stand up, walk around your house, stretch, breathe. Be more centered for your next client.
TAKE A STEP: Create a recurring appointment on your calendar to repeat every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as Free called Client Time.
BENEFIT: You’ll see it on your calendar as your reminder and by marking it as free your client scheduling software will see it as available for client sessions.
In this section, I’m talking about setting up routines for consistency.
Carve out smaller blocks of time for activities like social media engagement.
TAKE A STEP: Create a recurring appointment on your calendar to repeat every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as Busy called Social Media Engagement.
BENEFIT: You’ll see it on your calendar as your reminder and by marking it as busy your client scheduling software won’t see it as available to client sessions. Yes some of these are client work days but you’ll work on your social media first thing of your work day and the rest of the day will be available and focused on client work.
Want help with setting up the next version of your schedule?
Contact me to uncover what’s in your way of setting yourself up for more success.
Janina Goldberg, www.CallWithJanina.com
During a session with a client, we uncover that she LOVES checklists AND is MOTIVATED to see things checked off...we have found a method for her to stay focused and see tasks thru to completion :)
For some people who are more project driven, Asana is the way to go. Asana lends itself well to those who have multiple tasks/steps within a project and also have multiple projects. Asana has great integration with your calendar as well as customizing the frequency of emails as reminders. Asana is great to work with on your laptop and the app version on your phone is good too.
For those who are more visual, while Asana does have a “board” layout, there’s Trello. It displays in more of a post-it note way. Also can assign tasks, set due dates and set up notifications.
A couple of simpler task apps are Alarmed (iOS devices) and Tasks (by Stephen Nottage on Android).
It’s no wonder entrepreneurs struggle
to see their productivity and personal growth.
It’s common for entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, to put enormous pressure on themselves to do the right thing, critique themselves at every turn and do lots of that.
I wrote a great article over on the Hera Herald page at Hera Hub...read more here...
I get excited about new beginnings; Mondays, 1st of the month, new projects. Something about a clean slate - fresh canvas - to begin to make a mark in and co-create what is my life.
This past week marked the beginning of another year of being married to my best friend. We've learn so much from each other and about ourselves individually and as a couple over the past 25 years+. Our anniversary cards to each other used the words "our dreams for the future" and "look forward to new adventures" and doing this in partnership! I'm so excited to BE on our path TOGETHER and looking ahead with a sense of adventure and collaboration :)
This past week was also the beginning of the month. Something about turning to a (relatively) clean calendar that is on the refrigerator. I also have a couple personalized photo calendars around the house and I enjoy flipping the page to see a new photo that reminds me of beautiful memories.
I like planning out a new month - what do I want to CREATE. Among the appointments that are currently scheduled, what am I re-evaluating to be phased out, where am I consciously wanting to spend more time and doing what activities? What else do I want to add/schedule in that will bring me closer to my goals and enrich my month?
* I've upgraded financial coverage for myself by partnering with Nicole Caplette at Anchor Financial Division of Five Rings Financial. Feels good to experience gentle guidance and education from Nicole and have this additional support in place!
* Continuing to take care of myself physically, working with Katy Charlson at San Diego Structural Integration receiving easily understandable explanation and education on the inner structure of the body and adjustments to areas that are out of alignment all for operating from a solid, grounded foundation.
* Asking for and receiving (perfectly timed) business and mindset coaching from Tara Sage Steeves at Create Your Life! and feeling empowered and ready to implement when the opportunity presented itself THE NEXT DAY! So grateful for the clarity and celebration of where I am in my own business right now and the guidance that I receive and how that fuels and empowers me to be the best I can be to my clients!
* I'm so grateful for my clients! Their curiosity and willingness to show up, owning where they are and getting excited and clearer on where they are heading - each of them willing to find and see the cracks in their personal and business foundation, noticing the cobwebs in the corners and feeling supported in doing so. I'm honored to be part of these exciting conversations in reframing how now after identifying what's blocking them moving forward, to committing to repairing the cracks that will support them in going to the next level (next floor in their inner home) and deciding to clear out the cobwebs instead of putting up a pretty barrier (removing what's no longer needed once and for all). Yes these were actual visuals in our sessions this past week :)
* I enjoyed wrapping up the week by attending an intimate workshop learning a little about how my own surroundings reflect and have an influence with how I feel and what happens in my life. Valerie Sorrentino educated us with some Feng Shui basics. It was nice to be in Dr Brandey's office space for this workshop that was full of amazing intentions, tips and gifts.
* Loved being part of my friend, Kristen's birthday celebration! New restaurant for me. Always nice to see people again and meet new ones. Aligned human connections - fuel my soul :)
What are you beginning this month?
What are you clearing out/getting clear with?
What are you deciding to put in place as you wrap up 2016 in a way that shifts and empowers you for 2017?
Do you feel like you are ALWAYS WORKING? Read more about how common this feeling is and one suggestion I have in moving towards a more balanced schedule…
I love what I do! But I find myself feeling like I’m ALWAYS working. I want to do things with my friends and family but I feel like I “should” be working instead since I’m a solopreneur and there’s so much to do.
First, please hear me when I tell you that you are not alone with this sense of ALWAYS working! I’ve heard from many solopreneurs who think being a successful business owner means they have to ‘work the grind’ and ‘give it their all’ and ‘make sacrifices’ and ‘work hard’ to be successful.
Second, I’m not hearing that you want to decrease your effort – what you want is to have some boundaries around your work…create a schedule that feels like you have time allocated to working your business AND you have time allocated to NOT working your business (social time with friends and family, exercise time, time to read a book, attend a soccer game, etc, etc).
What I have found that allows a shift to begin in feeling like you CAN have time to yourself (time where you aren’t always working) is to give yourself permission to establish a start and end time to your work day. Again, your effort will not decrease. What I suspect will happen is your effort will become more focused because you don’t have all day to spend working. I find this true for myself – when I have say a doctor’s appointment, I find myself more focused and intentional in what I’m working on during the day since I know I have a cut-off time. Make sense?
To start, I would suggest you create a work schedule for yourself for 1 week – and see how it goes. Create your own work day cut-off time. And if you find it challenging to honor your new work cut-off time, plan a non-work activity that you’ll be going to; set a coffee date with a friend, sign up for a yoga class, something that will support you with the “What needs to get done before the end of my work day so I can do that other thing that I want to do?”
Where to next?
=> If you want to find out how I can support you further, click here and schedule time with me - we'll figure things out together :-)
We can overthink and therefore “overwork” in areas of our business and on client work than is necessary. We play what’s on our to-do list over and over in our minds – even if we’ve scheduled it on our calendars. I’ve done this many times before. How about you?
Replaying and overthinking can happen with tasks that are time on our business (creating/modifying programs, scheduling social media posts, blogging/article creation, networking) or time in our business (billable client work).
Do you bill a client for a tasks that you estimated would take 2 hours yet you spend an additional 4 hours or more procrastinating or “thinking about working” on it? At the end of the day you feel like you were “busy” but was it really productive work and was the task efficiently executed?
Let’s just call it what it is…Overthinking and overworking are time and energy not well spent!
Spending more time and energy thinking about your tasks can create thoughts and illusions that you don’t have room for more paying client work or no available time for networking and expanding your community.
Being busy does NOT always mean being productive!
I believe that you want to be more productive and do things more efficiently – gaining more energy and time in your business and in your life!
Here are 4 simple steps to support you in becoming more efficient and more productive:
Step 1) Declare that you want more time and energy
Ask yourself how you feel about your business life. Is this what you signed up for? Is this how you thought it would go? Do you think it’s possible for things to be done differently but you just don’t see how or don’t know where to start?
If you have a sense that things need to change, then declare it! Decide. Declare that you want more time and energy in your business and in your life and decide that NOW is the time to start making changes!
Step 2) Stay mindful / Be intentional
With your current declaration and decision from step 1, keep this thought and energy with you at the beginning of every day. You are a powerful entrepreneur. You created your business with a specific mission in mind.
Creating helpful reminders on your phone or making sticky notes on your bathroom mirror are great ways to remind you of your intention/decision to move forward with this process.
I am a successful entrepreneur.
I operate an efficient and productive business.
I work flexible hours that support my lifestyle.
Step 3) Gather information on your current situation
Gathering information and collecting data is one of my favorite things to do. You can’t make changes to things that you don’t know about. While you can start at any moment doing things differently, if you don’t take a look at your current situation and your patterns, you won’t be able to determine your next step or truly assess your progress.
When I set out on a mission to make changes in any area of my life, I first devote some amount of time to collecting data. For example, to change my eating habits and what I’m eating, I’ll start by logging what I eat for a week. I don’t need to analyze or fix or assess anything. It’s just logging what I am currently doing – with curiosity and no judgment. My task is to log information – that’s it. Depending on what you want to change will determine how long to collect details of your current activity.
To get a sense of where you are truly spending your time in your business, you can create a simple time tracker on paper.
To support you in logging this time throughout the day, maybe you set a reminder on your phone or computer for every 1 hour that reminds you to log your activity for the past hour.
Step 4) Making intentional adjustments to your tasks
In support of increasing your efficiency, here is a good definition: Efficiency is performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.
With this as your goal, after you have collected a fair amount of data from step 3, make intentional adjustments to areas you can focus on first. By increasing your intention to working more efficiently, where can you begin? As an example, if you start your day checking personal email and Facebook, set a timer. If from your information gathering from step 3, you had been spending 2 hours at the start of your day on personal emails and Facebook (getting caught up), allow yourself 30 minutes.
Now, there may be some mind chatter coming up by your initial intention of 30 minutes for emails and Facebook in the morning. You may be thinking that would be impossible to commit to this on a regular basis! If that’s the case, I’d challenge you to do it for a week. And every morning that the timer goes off after 30 minutes, write down how you’re feeling. Are you angry? Had you not realized you already spent 30 minutes? Perhaps you’re feeling that 30 minutes IS all it really takes to catch up on email and Facebook.
For some, this will be easy to implement. For others, intellectually it’s a yes but when it comes to staying with it you could benefit from support. That’s where I come in. When we work together, I will be here to support you in your process and hold you accountable to your goal of being more efficiently productive – taking a look behind the curtain with you without judgment and creating a plan of implementing changes with where you could be working more efficiently for gaining more time and energy in your business and in your life.
Consider your next step...
I identify with entrepreneurs and have personally experienced the ability to breathe easier knowing a strong foundation with great documentation is in place. A scheduled plan with gentle reminders will quiet down that monkey-mind and allow more peace and calm. With your tasks and goals planned out on a calendar and processes in place, the mind is freer to generate inspired ideas, have the space to develop and modify programs and workshops all so you can be of higher service in your business with more ease and joy.
If this sounds like you or the support you need, it's time we talked. Schedule your complimentary 30-Minute Strategy Session and take your first step toward getting the support needed to grow your business, calm your mind, and live a life of more abundance!
Janina Goldberg has been a Process Management Master and Coaching expert for over 25 years! Over the past 8 years, she has refocused her expertise in helping entrepreneurs who want to up-level themselves personally and the productivity and success of their business. She really listens to your big goal ideas and helps you distill them into achievable plans with inspired actionable next steps. Janina transforms the “It’s all in my head” activities that business owners do week after week into organizable processes for ease in consistent execution.