You know, I often find when I’m talking to folks about their business a funny thing happens – they have no clear idea what their schedule is! Does that strike you as odd? I was totally surprised because when I look at my journals and day planner, I know day-to-day and hour-to-hour where I need to be and what I need to be doing to accomplish my goals.
Of course, for many people in a retail business, this is not a big issue, because your hours are set based on consumer traffic in your business. Your business operates during those hours and in general, when your doors are locked for the night, your time switches over to "personal time." We all know that there are things that can only be done after hours, but set business hours do help in controlling your schedule, eliminating some work-family strife.
However, for people in a service business, like product sales, for example, the hours are less clear (and generally beyond the traditional 9 am to 5 pm) and can become blurred. Business hours and personal hours can overlap significantly if you’re not careful (and no one wants their family and friends angry at them for missing another event, do they?)
Successful business owners realize that controlling their schedule to create balance in their work and family lives is essential. Remember, no one is really in business to spend every waking hour working; you’re probably in business to create a comfortable lifestyle for your family, so that you can provide for their needs and wants easily through the results of your efforts. If you’re one of the many who find their schedules totally out of control, are there some key actions you can take right now to get back on track building a truly functional schedule? Here are some ideas:
1. Establish a specific time each week (perhaps, Sunday evening before bed) to review the coming week’s activities. Make sure you write in personal and family meetings and events, business meetings you must attend, and time for personal development and self-improvement activities (your reading, for example, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog article). If you’re in sales, you’ll need to add specific appointment setting times, and client visits scheduled as a top priority. Remember, if it’s not scheduled, it’s unlikely you’ll get to it!
2. At the end of each day, ask yourself what went well and what you could improve. When you focus on making small changes each day, they begin to add up to large improvements over time! You can make huge changes in your business simply by making small changes consistently over time.
3. To get maximum results, commit to keeping to your schedule and doing what you’ve planned each day. Some days, of course, you’ll have to take care of emergencies or urgent things that come up, but you must focus on taking care of the important things first – that’s your clients and your team.
4. Work when you work; play when you play. I say this all the time, but I truly believe that you must be "in the moment." If you’re setting appointments, make them strong and concentrate solely on that task. The people who are the most successful in business and in life are those who control their thoughts and are focused on each task at hand.
Has your schedule been strangling you? Are you at the mercy of everyone and everything because your schedule hasn’t been working? What are you doing to get yourself on a schedule that works for you, your business and your family? I’d love to hear what’s working for you.