Most people don’t schedule their time well. It’s a skill that we aren’t taught – at least without any level of intention! We find ourselves with all of our responsibilities showing up on our plate and we operate from reaction mode rather than being in charge of our time.
So, how do you manage the schedule in your life? Do you plan a week ahead? A month? Per sales quarter? Do you plan your life around work, or your work around your life? Or do you operate in reaction mode?
Consider this: Have you ever planned everything – your personal, professional, leisure, and family time – an ENTIRE year in advance?
Few people schedule their lives further than a couple of weeks in advance, which is great! But if you’re going to cultivate a CEO mindset and live intentionally, being intentional about your time is a MUST!
You see, time is the great equalizer. It’s the one and only thing that every person on the planet has the exact same amount of. Nobody is allotted more hours in a day than anyone else. Which begs the question: what do successful people do with their time that others don’t?
That’s a big question with a lot of complicated and nuanced answers! But for starters, successful people have one very important habit: They are planners. They consistently plan ahead. And here is how to do it.
Pro tip! Do NOT miss this! When you schedule your time, write it down rather than using an electronic app or calendar. Electronic calendars can also be used, but they are no substitute for putting pen to paper. Writing things down activates a different part of your brain than an electronic app does. Find a system that works for you. Consider a day planner for the whole year that allows you to plan your months and your days.
Now, what are the nuts and bolts of successful planning and scheduling?
First, fill your schedule with your life’s priorities FIRST – then fit your work around that. Life is short, and ultimately YOU are in control of your time – fill it first with the things that are important to you!
Here’s what I mean.
Work in reverse of how most people plan their time: START by planning your leisure, family, and self care time. Why? Because what happens when we don’t schedule our leisure time? Do we ever end up having any? Or does extra time get sucked into the vacuum of responsibilities? I think we’ve all experienced this!
Consider: how many vacation days do you want to take? Do you want to take every Friday off? A week every month? There are no wrong answers – what works best for you? Now, schedule that time in your planner. Fill it with the hobbies you love, what you want to accomplish, and the things that help you relax.
In addition, make sure that you are scheduling time for self care. This includes time to work out, meditate, etc. Whatever it takes for you to be energized, put it in your week first!
Finally, before you schedule in work, schedule time you want to set aside for your family or loved ones including your spouse, extended family, children, or friends.
It seems backward from the way we usually do things, right? But at the end of the day, isn’t that time with family, personal time, and leisure time more important than work? Of course our work is important! But if we fail to be intentional about these things, do we ever get around to them?
Once your leisure time is scheduled, move on to deciding how you want your individual days to look. Evaluate what your ideal workday would look like. It’s empowering to know ahead of time what your day is going to be full of as you are selling with intention!
As you’re working on each individual day, begin with the end in mind.
Here’s what I mean: Before you schedule anything for work, write down what time you are going to END your work day. If you want to end at 4:30, try to schedule everything you need in by 3:30 to account for any unforeseen situations that may cause you to be in longer than usual.
Now, you know how and what time your day is going to start, you know when it’s going to end, when your hobby, leisure, workout, and family time will be.
Next, start scheduling your days hour by hour. Here is where you will determine exactly when you will make calls, schedule appointments, meet with your prospects, and work.
So, how do you schedule those hours? That depends on your goals!
Here is where we want to maximize productivity. Only do those things that will help you reach your goals. How much do you want to make annually? Simply do the math. How much do you make per sale? That will tell you how many appointments you need to make. In turn, this tells you how many calls to make!
In addition to making calls and setting appointments, it’s crucial that you make time to make connections with possible prospects. You cannot attract people to you if you’re never out meeting with them! In your work time, schedule time for networking, and for being where your prospects are!
So there you have it – your entire year at a glance! Doesn’t it feel empowering to know ahead of time what you will be doing to both live your life AND meet your goals?
Remember: sticking to your schedule doesn’t just happen – YOU make it happen. And the time to make it happen is right NOW.