No one can ‘manage’ time but calendar planning AND tools can help you to get the most from the hours you have.
It is an easy win to outsource, hire in and add automation tools ONCE you have a system. What is an hour a day, 3 days a month 6 weeks a year worth to you? What could you achieve with that time?
For all of you who bristle when you think your flexibility, spontaneity, and creativity wings are being clipped, know this - you are in charge of your calendar and time; committing the time in the calendar is not set in stone. There is still the flexibility to move, reduce or expand the time allocated … which is great as you learn the true time needed for repetitive tasks AND it will improve your chances of success, completing tasks and achieving the goals you have set.
Updating, blocking, and keeping a calendar in shape to reflect what you do, when you need to do it free up head space, knowing you have the time planned in.
Learning to use your calendar to optimise, measure, track and increase your productivity, profit, and enjoyment is an easy win.
Using your calendar, a calendar planning app is the starting point to ‘seeing’ your commitments, your plans, and your dreams on a page in time blocks.
By mapping and creating a structure to your day, week and tasks, you are beginning to add process to your business, the first step in getting ready to be able to grow your business, delegate, outsource and get support.
Processes take time to map and iterate, so getting your calendar in shape will not only give you the time to create and iterate processes but also identify how much time you have,or don’t, and what to ditch, defer or delegate.
3 step Time Audit to figureout where your time is committed, how much time flexibility you have and when you are best for each task.
Step one - Identification
A list of all your current non-negotiable time pulls, things you need to do but can wiggle around AND the what you would love to have time for. #
Click here for help on Getting started - get an overview of now
Step Two - Map your time
Add to your calendar the blocks when you are committed to non-negotiable activities.
Step Three - efficiency & optimisation
Now think about when you are at your best for deep thinking, creative, people-facing, admin tasks.
Calendar management sounds like hard work, but with help and a plan, anyone can begin.
When you have the space planned to focus at your best you will be more productive. You will stop being the bottleneck to your and your team's success.
The Immediate benefits
See where you are over-committing and where your time is being spent
Increase your profits as you begin to bill for your time accurately
Free up head space from remembering, worrying about what you need to do,when you need to do it
Increase your confidence in yourself and your ability to deliver on time
Celebrate the wins as you work through milestones and project chunks
Benefits of Time Blocking
Allocating time when you are at your best, mapping your task in time blocks, and planning in the space WILL optimise your chances of achieving your goals.
The plan is to work towards batching similar tasks when your headspace energy is at its best and give you space between to recharge and put similar items together to optimise you!
A day for external meetings
A day for internal operation- 1:1, board meetings, team meetings
A 3 day working week
Time for deep work
Admin hours or day
Top tip when you know the work - Name it ; add links and notes and save time and avoid the opportunity for distraction going looking creates.
As a professional business owner, a parent or mum your wellbeing comes first. You cannot deliver effectively or at your best is you are overwhelmed, tired, distracted.
Protecting your health, billable time, family time is the way to success, less guilt, frazzle and worry-filled days.
Creating the structure, then the habits and processes is the way to scale your business, be at your best and enjoy the feeling of success.
Working Calendar tips
The tools to help you be at your best are literally enless in their combinations from overlaying personal and social calendars (and then hiding them to avoid distractions) to using colour, busy,free, personalised out of office messages to prompt action, categories
Remember: Leave white space and travel time - to breathe, take notes, respond after meetings
Use the field and drop down options
Update the field in the invite Out of Office, Busy, Free, Public, Private
Recurring , All day
Choose colours (3)
Mirror in your labels in Gmail and Catagories in MS Office
Colour coder external and internal meetings OR Online vs those that need travel
On Multiple Committees - colour code them
Present, Train, Speak vs attendee - colour code the what
Block out time until you can fill them (5)
Reduce Distraction and wasted time looking for the information
Name it in the block, add links and notes so when you start you have everything you need to hand
Travel blocks - add train tickets, map links for walking , dept time an arrival time
Video link - add contact numbers too
Getting started - get an overview of now
Map 4 columns on a page, document, board
Column 1- Activities that absolutely HAVE to be done during your week.
Column 2 - Activities that are related to your business life
Column 3 - Everything else you do - an essential task that cannot be missed
Column 4 - What you would love time for
TIP: Some activities are obvious and the other will arrive fortnightly, monthly annually as you do them - keep a working document add activities and iterate (and remove those you end up delegating or deleting)
Creating your Dream calendar so you can fit in and manage every aspect of your life. It will look messy to start but seeing how little time you have you will begin to
map the time it takes vs holding space
evaluate and remove no and low value tasks
delegate and automate
Tools for Success
A great right hand or a Virtual Assistant focused on your Email and Calendar can not only create systems, and maintain them but will increase your success.
Identify, protect and reserve space - creating harmony between work,thinking and down time
Proactively review your schedule - keeping you prepared through tracking deadlines, deliverables and dependencies.
Re-‐evaluate priorities, reduce conflict and modifying scheduled appointments
Syncing and keeping you on time - update multiple calendars on multiple systems, time zones and working hours
Optimise your energy and time by minimising distractions - adding details, reports, tickets and links
There are so many different techniques you can apply once your time is mapped to ensure focus whilst on task. Systems to track & meet deliverables and apps that can automate and streamline - from Asana to Trello, ways to automate using Zapier, Calendar apps like Calendly and Acuity, and focusing systems like pomodoro timer technique ( the todoist has a great article on it).
A quick time grabbing win is to streamline your inbox to free up the time lost to checking emails and to start using the one-minute email system to delete-defer-delegate and do.