In this blog I want to talk about you managing your calendar in such a way that it serves you and your business and not the other way around because as a woman entrepreneur I have learned a lot about managing my time, through trial and error, and from others too.
We frequently put things into our calendars without a second thought because we don’t want to forget appointments and tasks, and then we look at what’s planned and it's like, ooohhhh, this is just horrible. There's no fun or joy there. And although your calendar is supposed to be a useful tool, your energy takes a dive.
Maybe you’ve added things that you feel you should be doing or that others have asked you to do, and there’s some guilt involved. In reality those types of obligations result in you wishing you had never said yes to whatever it was.
So you also need to use your calendar to set your boundaries. Your calendar is there to provide a focus for you about how your business is going to grow and how you are going to make money. It's also there to give you the freedom that you want to be able to do things that you want.
Because I think that one of the reasons that most women entrepreneurs decide to go into business is because you want financial freedom. Yes, you love what you do, but there's also the aspect of wanting to be your own boss and not having to answer to anyone else. You want to have the freedom to spend more time with your family or friends, or reading, or baking, or cycling or running, or gardening ...
There are of course some things that you will always have to do. For example if you have children you’ll have to feed them and maybe take them to school (or become a home-schooling expert), and if you have pets they’ll also need some attention.
So taking all that into account, look at your calendar today and ask yourself which activities bring you joy, which activities generate income, and which activities strengthen your brand?
Your new calendar
Even if you have a marketing planner (online or offline), one of the easiest ways to get started on your new efficient working week is to print yourself a blank calendar for the next month (the calendar connected with your email will probably be more than adequate).
Decide which days you want to work
As a business owner potentially working from home – and especially during the pandemic - bringing routine into your life is going to be a life-saver because working for 14, 16 or 18 hours a day is nothing short of self-destructive. You’ll end up being burned out and your business will go belly-up.
Decide which days you want to work and how much time you are prepared to spend working in/on your business. This was an important lesson for me when I first started my coaching business because I went around in circles trying to set up appointments and calls with people wanting to know about what I offered.
I spent hours writing emails, backwards and forwards, cancellations, rescheduling, managing missed appointments. It was beyond frustrating and the solution was so easy when I thought of it during a session with my coach – and that was to have just one day each week when I would be available for discovery and intake sessions, basically any work with others that I wasn’t getting paid for.
Growing your business
If you're in business the bulk of your activities need to be focused on income generation, on growing and scaling your business, and you can’t afford to be spending your precious time on that type of admin. But it’s also important to remember why you went into business in the first place, and to balance your working hours with time out to relax and do things you enjoy.
So how are you going to decide what to do when?
You’ll probably already know what time of day you do your best work, and you probably have a best day as well. That’s the day that you are ideally going to choose to do your creative work such as recording videos, marketing posts and working on your marketing strategy for the next seven days (or the month or the quarter). And that’s it for that day. No calls, no appointments, just you being fabulously creative.
Depending on the type of work you do, your next step will be to decide on which day (or days) you’re going to work with clients who have already paid you for coaching, consultancy or for the service you provide.
Then you’re going to need time for those discovery or sales calls (no-one is paying you yet). And if you want to do pro-bono work it will be important to calculate that too so that you’re not saying yes to everyone who asks for your help.
Another thing I started doing a long time ago was to have fixed working hours. So on some days I’ll start work at 8:30am, and on others at 10, and I will shut my laptop at 6pm every day. Of course you can still look at emails if you really want to, and if something urgent comes in you can choose to respond or not. But it’s important to understand that it’s your choice, and that you’re not giving your power away to others just because they want you to.
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do when write it all into your calendar and stick to it, every week. It is going to be so easy when someone asks you for an appointment and you can immediately offer a specific time, to which they can then say yes or no.
Make your calendar work for you and your business, don’t let it send you around in circles. You’re in charge, and it’s time for you to start valuing yourself and your business so that others do the same.
PS: If you’d like more tips and detailed advice I’d love to welcome you in my online community on Facebook and you can join the Group for Ambitious Women Entrepreneurs Who Want Financial Freedom here: http://bit.ly/Ambitious-Women-Entrepreneurs