Entrepreneurship is inherently anarchy. Without a boss telling you what to do and when to do it, days can blur by, and deadlines are waiting like surprises around every corner.
Consistently I see entrepreneurs wake up and try to invent the wheel every single day. What should I do? When should I do it? Is that the best use of my time? I don’t have things ready to do that today! The amount of energy it takes to answer these questions every morning is significant. Imagine if all that genius required to pull it together last minute went towards pushing the business needle?
Everyone should have a stock schedule – a work schedule that repeats every week. Creating a work schedule for yourself and your organization is an example of decision pairing, which allows you to put that energy towards productivity. It also creates a rhythm that your staff and customers can depend on, creating room for more productive conversations.
I often get pushback that you can’t script life this much. Not everyone is available when your calendar wants them, and block scheduling can feel too constricted. What I tell them is – if you could script your life to have the balance, relationships, success, and health that you could only dream of, you wouldn’t say no, would you? You can get pretty close with years of practice – success is not an accident or a fluke. For the free-hearted who detest structure – you can move the blocks around to accommodate spontaneity, but having 6 hours permanently set aside for prospecting, for example, each week, protects your business from see-sawing between business problems each week.
Creating your time block schedule
- Brain dump everything you do in a week.
- Organize this list into broad categories like prospecting, admin, financials, calling, servicing & personal—maximum six categories.
- Decide how much time you want to be spending in each category in a week.
- Excel – it doesn’t have to be fancy. Write the days of the week across the top & times down the left. Put in your reoccurring blocks.
- Keep it Simple – when the stock schedule gets too detailed, it becomes too hard to execute. Having broad categories like financials, planning and prospecting allows structure & flexibility. The tasks under those categories might change each week but the business will still be balanced.
- Slush – have 1 hr in the middle of the day for “slush.” You know something will come up as a surprise, it always does, so let’s plan for it. Worst case scenario, you end up ahead of schedule – now wouldn’t that be a dream?!
- Keep it front of mind – screenshot the schedule and make it your desktop background or block out the schedule repeating weekly in your calendar right now so that when you are on the phone next time, you can schedule the meeting during the smart time.
Maximize your workday by incorporating these techniques and developing these habits over time. Remember, persistence is key. By continuing to organize, plan, and prepare, you will begin to see the difference.
If productivity isn’t your strong suit, and you don’t know where to start, you don’t have to go at it alone. Schedule a free two-hour session with our productivity advisors to dig into your business and develop a plan
Nicole Gallop is a VP at Cultivate. As a strategic planner, Nicole is unafraid to push boundaries to achieve goals. Her passion is optimizing the potential for both you and your business. She operates with an intense focus on bringing the right people into a highly collaborative, positive and result-oriented environment.