Monday, December 20, 2010

Calendar Control

With the holidays approaching, you may be planning to take a vacation from your business to celebrate with your family.  As the New Year begins, you'll have a fresh start to your business.  Hopefully, you have events already planned for next year but it isn't too late to tweak your 2011. 

Here are some tips on how to keep control of your own calendar:
  • Use one calendar for yourself which includes all your business events, personal appointments, family events, and children's activities.  Including everything on one calendar will avoid scheduling business events when you are supposed to be at a recital or making a doctor's appointment when you should be meeting with a customer.

  • You may find it helpful to color code the items on your calendar.  Assign a separate color for each area of your life: business events where you are making money, customer appointments, networking and training opportunities, children's activities, and personal appointments.  This allows you to see at a quick glance what your day, week, and month hold for you. 

  • Identify, in advance, when you are available to work.  If you do vendor events or home parties, decide which nights of the week or which weekends you will work and how many events you plan to do each month to meet financial and personal goals. 

  • When booking appointments with customers, avoid opening your calendar to them or asking when would be a good time for them.  Instead, give them choices.  For example, "Would a Tuesday or Thursday night be better for you?"  After they respond, say, "Would the 11th or the 18th at 7pm work for you?"  You want to fill your calendar consistently and on your terms.  This method will help prevent people from booking appointments too far out or overbooking yourself with too many at one time.

  • Make a resolution to say "no" more often.  If you are one of those people who overbook your calendar with too many activities and find yourself too frazzled or too busy to focus on your priorities, you need to learn to say "no".  For example, my faith, my family, and my business are my top three priorities.  When scheduling activities, most of them should fall into those three categories.  Too many other activities cause additional stress and allow you to lose sight of what is important.  Being pulled in too many directions makes it difficult to give your best in everything you do.
Do you have a great tip to add on how you keep control of your calendar?  Please share by leaving a comment below!

Need more help with time management?  Below are some books on this topic.