The new year is two days away and if you haven’t yet, now is a good time to prep your calendar to take 2016 in ease and stride.
One of the ways to facilitate your freedom and success is to be prepared for it. That means taking charge of your time by being conscious about all that you have on your plate and creating space for important actions, events and goals. Your calendar is the starting point for this.
This should take you no more than 30 minutes; if you’re using calendar software, even less time than that.
- Block out all holidays for the year. Be sure to block out any extra days as well (e.g., two days for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays).
- Block out all personal days for the year that you plan to be closed (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries).
- Block out all known/intended vacation dates (or any other weeks/days that you intend to take off for whatever reason).
- Block out any known business events, training, conferences, etc., you plan to attend. Steps 1-4 before anything else is important because taking care of you and your business is always first priority. You can’t take great care of anyone else unless you first take great care of yourself. I’m also an advocate for taking plenty of time off from your business. The more time you take to recharge your energy and creativity, the better your business and clients are for it.
- Next, block out your Admin Days for the year. Using the repeat/recurring function, schedule them through January 2017.* An Admin Day is the one day of the week you devote strictly to your business administration and personal development. For example, Mondays are my “business days” where I am officially closed. I don’t do any client work; instead, I focus on taking care of my own business and use that time for administration and planning, research and development, learning, etc. I shade out that time because it makes me conscious about not making any appointments on that day. If you don’t need a full day, block at least half a day (e.g., Mondays from 8a – 12p).
- Then, block out your regularly scheduled weekly client meetings for the year. For example, Tuesday is the day of the week I use for my weekly retainer client meetings. Each client gets a one or half-hour time slot, same time each week, with a half hour or 15 minutes of buffer time between meetings. I established this practice when I realized how much more difficult it was for me to dive into work and maintain momentum when I had meetings scattered all over the course of the week. I’m much more productive when I keep them to one day and know I won’t have to interrupt my work and concentration the rest of the week.
- Carry over other regular meetings. Review this year’s calendar. If you have regular weekly or monthly meetings, be sure to carry-over and repeat those as well, Perhaps you have a weekly call with your business coach on Tuesdays at 3p and a monthly board meeting at 1p on the third Wednesday of every month. Get all of these regularly scheduled appointments on your calendar for the entire year.
- Block out lunches and breaks if you are someone who has trouble remembering to take time away from your desk and computer. This might seem silly and unnecessary, especially since we business owners can eat or take a break any time we like. But if you are someone who has difficulty maintaining boundaries, these can serve as daily reminders to be conscious about taking care of yourself. Taking breaks is super important, not only for your personal health, but the health of your business—you can’t take excellent care of others unless you first take excellent care of yourself. Remember, you want a humanly/sustainably paced business, not a business that leaves you no breathing room and leads to burn-out and overwhelm.
- Carry over regular weekly and monthly task reminders and other important to-do’s. For example, downloading and reconciling bank statements.
- Mark important dates. Are there client birthdays, anniversaries or other important dates you want to remember on a regular basis? Are there important goal dates and benchmarks you want to be reminded of? Add them to your calendar!
- If you have share an online calendar with any of your clients, repeat steps 1-6 there as well so they are aware of when you will be closed/unavailable. Likewise, by adding your weekly client meeting to their calendar for the year (step #6), no one has to spend any further time on scheduling.
- Rinse and repeat for your clients (if helping organize their calendars is something you happen to do).
- Schedule a To-Do in November to “Prep next year’s calendar.” If you’re using an online calendar, set it with a couple advance reminders.
- And while you’re at it, schedule a reminder in December to archive the current year’s documents and emails (more on that in another post).
* This is so that when January rolls around, if you’ve forgotten or been delayed or sidetracked in prepping your calendar in December, you can simply click on each recurring/repeating event and update the end date.
Cheers to a fantastic new year for us all!