One of my mentors once told me that we all have enough time, money and energy to do the things that are most important to us. I believe that to be true and have seen in my own life that time can expand (as well as contract) to handle urgent and important life matters – like dealing with a sick child, parent, or pet. Suddenly the things we just HAD to get done today can wait. This is the good news and the bad news. The good news is that we can create time in our schedule to make sure we focus time and energy on the things that are most important to us. The bad news is that we can allow the urgency of life to take over and get us off track.
As business owners, life matters can easily get in the way of forward momentum in our business if we aren’t mindful. And, many of those life matters may appear to be important, but in the grand scheme of things, many of them are simply distractions from what is most important to us. That is why I talk about “Priority Management” instead of using the term “Time Management” because it really boils down to prioritizing your time to make sure those things that are important to you, get your time and energy. This is not just in regards to business but looking at your whole life. I want to share with you some of my secrets to creating a Savvy Six Figure Schedule so that you can start to be more mindful with your time and get better results in your business. My clients that implement these key ideas spend approximately 10-20% less time working and get better results.
Here are the 8 keys to creating a Savvy Six Figure Schedule:
1) Carve out Focus Days – these are days when you are working “on” your business in strategic ways, such as writing on your blog, working on your website, creating content, and doing business development activities. I recommend you spend at least 20% of your time “on” the business – either in one full day or two half days.
2) Consolidate your client meetings into 2 or 3 Client Days – there is nothing more fulfilling for me than to know that all I need to do today is show up fully for my clients. I get to focus all my energy on my clients and by the end of the day, I am totally energized – more so than when I do 3 client calls and try to work on other projects. A momentum happens, themes start to emerge. And by being focused, you aren’t wasting time or energy.
3) Schedule 1-2 Strategic Alliance discussions a week – This is a business development activity and doing this on a regular and consistent basis is important. And unless you are planning a big launch OR you have the luxury of spending more than 20% of your time on business development, I don’t recommend doing more than 2 a week. I do my Strategic Alliance calls on Thursday afternoons and also tap into my Focus Days for these when needed, since Thursday afternoon isn’t always optimal for my partners.
4) Block out Free Days in your calendar a month in advance – I block at least 2 free weekdays a month where I just play. Many months, I block a whole week each month so I can work on bigger projects (like program content creation or strategic planning) and I can do those in cool locations where I have friends and family. When I block this time in advance, it is amazing how easy it is to honor it because I plan other things around it. Many of my clients used to take no more than 2 weeks off and are now taking 8 weeks or more out of the office, using some of this time for play and some of it to do yummy, fun projects they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.
5) Block time on your calendar for your “To-Do” items – everything on my To-Do list goes in my calendar. It keeps me on track (and out of time sucking activities like email and Facebook). And on my Focus Days, I allow myself to leave the office and play as soon as all my To-Do’s are complete, which gives me a strong incentive to get them done ASAP and not procrastinate. Schedule your most important To-Do’s first and leave padding in your calendar in case emergencies pop up that you have to handle.
6) Check email infrequently – On most days, I check email for a half hour in the morning, a half hour around 3 pm, and in the 5-10 minutes I have between client calls if I don’t need a break (this is when I handle the quickie emails). Have you noticed that you could pretty much spend the whole day on email? The more you write, the more you get. If it takes you more than 10 minutes to respond to an email, pick up the phone and call the person.
7) Schedule strategic projects at “peak energy times” – If you are a “morning person”, schedule time in the morning to work on writing your blog or copy for your website or other activities that take a lot of creativity and focus.
8) Block time in your schedule for Discovery Sessions – This can become Free or Focus time if no prospects raise their hands this week, but having time to meet with interested prospects is key. Momentum, excitement, and courage can fade if too much time goes by between the time they raise their hand to the time you schedule to talk with them.
These are just some of the key ways that you can help manage your time and priority so that your business can really flourish without wearing yourself out. Would you like 10-20% of your time back? Give this stragegy a try and let me know how it goes! And if you have other ideas on how to improve your priority management, I would love to hear from you, as always!