Do you find that you have no time for family, friends and just plain old fun?
What we have discovered is that for many entrepreneurs, small business owners and independent professionals there is a condition of insufficient – or even a complete lack of – scheduling.
Scheduling is a structure for getting things done in time with a beginning, middle and end. It is not a to-do list. It is not time management. Having a scheduled business means your schedule is in alignment with your game of life (business is included) and the people that you work with.
Unfortunately, unless you are able to create your schedule, continuously build it and maintain it, your ideas, projects and even your business will become unproductive or even disappear into the abyss.
When we coach entrepreneurs many often respond with “I don’t need a schedule,” “I have a really good memory,” or the running favourite, “Won’t scheduling just take more time? I just want to get things done now!”
In our experience, these are mindsets that are insufficient for success in today’s information age. Can you imagine an all-star athlete with no training schedule, relying on their memory for everything – and randomly practicing when they feel like?
Now, it must be mentioned that for the majority of us, effective scheduling has not been part of our school training – especially as it relates to the information age, so we will discuss some elements that need to be mentioned.
If you are an entrepreneur who is up to something, and you are playing a big game, having a schedule just becomes a basic component of your business – because you rely on many people to produce results together.
The problem arises when entrepreneurs take the “I am a great individual” mind-set to their business. And, since most, if not all us us, have gone through the educational system, we never really needed to consider scheduling from the point of view of the totality of life (or business) as a core schedule that was already designed for us.
The other challenge in today’s information society is that there simply isn’t enough time to get everything done. An individual cannot get everything done–ever. It is impossible. However, regardless of that fact, people still operate from the mindset of “I will get it all done.” This is where we take on the superhero role – and it is the number one reason why a lot of people burn-out and, by extension, a lot of small businesses fail.
What needs to be recognized is that business is a team-sport that cannot be won by an individual. Of course, many will still try, but if you play it that way, you are paving a road for unnecessary struggle. Getting over one’s need to prove one’s worth as an individual is tough, but the grass is much greener with a team aligned on a game.
So what can you do? We have listed the seven most essential tools that will make you more effective moving forward. It is by no means an exhaustive list.
- Have a clear game with a purpose that you can fully align on.
- For example, a game could be “To provide single moms the opportunity for financial freedom.
- Share your game with others and invite them to play with you.
- Figure out the activities, routines and practices that will have you win at your game.
- Activities are things that you do inside of your game
- Routines are things that you do regularly (daily, weekly, monthly etc.)
- Practices are things that you do that make you better over time
- Have and use only 1 calendar. If you have a paper-based calendar seriously consider going digital and syncing it with your iPhone/Blackberry. Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook are great options.
- Eliminate the practice of only working from a to-do list.
- Transfer all of your to-do lists into your schedule with the exact time it will take you to complete an item on your to-do list.
- Leave 15 minutes between every appointment. This will account for distractions and interruptions.
- Schedule your sleep, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also include time in your calendar to spend with family, friends or just plain old fun.
- Carry a small notepad with you everywhere, as “things to do” enter your mind. Debrief this small notepad every night. Items that are not in alignment with your game go to an excel spreadsheet called “Not Doing” with a date.
For more information we recommend, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, or if your budget allows take courses at Mission Control (www.missioncontrol.com).
Scheduling is not simply something you have to do. Scheduling is an essential tool that gives you a chance to win at your game, by being effective with the actions you take.
Master scheduling so you can win at your game!
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