Control Your Time By Designing Your Schedule.

I thought my schedule was packed when I worked in corporate! Filling in my days with status meetings, presentations, sales calls, and updates all mixed together to produce a week chock full of weaving, diving, and running. Now that I've been running my company for the past ten years, I've found it even harder to keep my schedule clear and organized to ensure I get everything done AND allow myself the time to work on my business.

Do you feel this way? 

Well, I developed a cool way to look at each day in my schedule and ensure I not only get my client sessions scheduled, but I also leave time for basic tasks and strategic projects.

Take a look at my typical schedule (click on image to expand):

The key is CONSISTENCY and FLEXIBILITY. I try to remain consistent from week to week to ensure I can work in my business and on my business.

But I also need to be realistic. Emergencies crop up. Clients move or cancel appointments. New prospects creep into my calendar. Speaking engagements usually fall right in the middle of my schedule (but those are planned well in advance). So I also have to be flexible and have the ability to move things around when needed.

Here's the surprise — I don't have to do it as much as you'd expect. Week after week, I can pretty well stick to my schedule and ensure I am growing my business while keeping the engine running smoothly.

Let me break down some of the elements:

4:30 AM to 10 PM - Yep, that's my day. I know - 4:30 AM is a bear. But I find it's my key time to get things done - where I am energized and focused. My best brainstorming occurs at this time. So I do my best thinking in the shower (a sort of 21st century meditation) and then I'm off to write my blog and prepare for my clients.

7:00 AM to 5 PM - Blocking out all of my clients. I was taught this many years ago by my mentor coach, Ken Abrams. If you fit all of your clients into pre-specified groupings, it's easier to manage your schedule without all of the 30 and 60 minute gaps.

Email - I check my email at 9 AM, Lunchtime, and at 7 PM. It doesn't rule my life. If there is a client emergency, call me. Candidly, I read my email every few hours, that's fine to catch up on what's important.

Lunch, Dinner with Family, Reading - This is my time - these hours are to allow me to decompress and spend special time with my family and also to grow my knowledge-base.

Thursday - This is my Networking/Connecting day. I am out and about meeting people, learning about new businesses, and going to meetings. I also meet with two groups - my sales force (about 35 people) who are actively out promoting my product to key prospects. The second group is a high-potential business owner team where we exchange leads and discuss many business issues and problems. I also fit in meetings with my agent, pr guy, marketing team, accountant, attorney and any other colleagues who make my business HUM.

Friday - This is my 'clean-up day'. I spend the time with any errant clients and also do any marketing/prospecting, presentation building and my financial planning. I spend most of my day connected at the hip with my assistant ensuring I clean up any mess from the previous four days and preparing me for the next week.

I hope my schedule gives you a few ideas on how to better structure your schedule.

What do you do to make your professional (and personal) life more bearable?