It can be hard to stick to a schedule as a business owner handling several things at a go. Effective time management comes with the realization that it's okay to ask for help, delegate and allocate enough time for each essential task. It's about being realistic with the goals you hope to achieve on agiven day/week/month.
Here's what entrepreneurs had to say about maintaining a schedule for more productivity.
#1- Mapping everything out
I maintain my schedule by mapping everything out on my calendar and then sticking to it! This includes breaks, any personal time needed, every task falls under a certain bucket that is allocated time. This is combined with my to do list. Everything is electronic so we aren't looking for notes on what needs to be done. I also periodically review my calendar and allocations of tasks and blocks of time so I can maximize my day without overdoing it.
Thanks to Natalie Athanasiadis, Ormi Media!
#2-Use my calendar religiously
To maintain my schedule, I use my calendar religiously, and I always stick to it. Every event in my day added to my calendar, including lunch, so all I have to do is follow along. I use Forekast to add trending events to my calendar and keep up to speed on the biggest global happenings and share calendars with my team so they can invite me to upcoming events.
Thanks to Justin Kerby, Cave Social!
#3-Being productive and not just busy
Carefully! When I first started Going Merry I was excited to fill my schedule with meetings and be as busy as I could. Having a full calendar made me think I was being as productive as possible. However, I soon realized that this was making me lose focus – perhaps the most important thing when starting a company. Now I am very careful about adding anything to my calendar unless it's directly related to my most important priorities. If a meeting or call is, I try to book it during the afternoons when I am normally less productive, allowing me to complete daily tasks and important thinking in the morning. Even then though I focus on making sure my schedule is productive and not just busy!
Thanks to Charlie Maynard, Going Merry!
Sticking to a schedule is always a challenge, but I work very hard to do so because I know that ultimately, it’s the best way for my business to succeed. Part of what helps me is using my calendar. Out of sight, out of mind, so anything important has to go on my calendar so that it doesn’t slip through the cracks. I’m also realistic about my schedule; I know that I’m not as much of a morning person and that as the day progresses I get more productive. I, therefore, plan accordingly, scheduling important meetings for the afternoon when I’m at my best.
Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!
#5- Smartphone calendar and to-do list
Running a business, means that I have to determine how my 24 hours will be spent each day. I use a calendar on my smartphone to keep track of my events/meetings with other people. The rest is up to me, I make a to-do list of what I will accomplish that day; The “leftovers,” add to tomorrow and so on. In addition to work: eating, sleeping, unexpected situations, & personal time are part of those 24 hours as well. Successful time management is 100% in work, as well as personal life. The aim is for the amount of diminishing quality because of “lack of time,” to counteract the work quality that is up to par, but done in less than expected time.
Thanks to Dylan Schwartz, Dylan Universe Comics!
#6- Holding myself accountable
I maintain my schedule by holding myself accountable. Running a business from home can be daunting, but 100% doable. Every day I start with coffee and use that time to plan out and understand what has to be done that day. I have different groups that I break tasks into as well, from urgent all the way down. I also think it's important to factor in some me time during the day, so doing that helps me stay on task as well.
Thanks to Thena Franssen, Hodgepodge Hippie!
#7-Two primary tactics
Time is a fleeting commodity, especially if you are not organized. I use 2 primary tactics to maintain a schedule while dealing with multiple clients and projects. First, I get a jumpstart on the day by arriving at work 30 minutes to an hour early. When there are co-workers, there are distractions. My goal is to get online before most of my colleagues. Sure, I lose a little sleep, but the productivity during these quiet hours can reap dividends in reducing stress and maintaining a schedule. I also use time blocking. It is a very simple, yet powerful technique I use to manage and layout day. No fancy apps, I use the timer on my phone and block out my day in hour to half-hour increments on a spreadsheet. I do this every Sunday evening before the start of a work week. Of course, I leave open time slots which allow for flexibility.
Thanks to Bradley Shaw, SEO Expert Brad Inc!
#8- Calendly and time blocking
Sticking to a schedule each week is the only way that I can make sure that I get everything done for my business. I live and die by my calendar, I set aside blocks of time for things like meditating and journaling. If it is important enough for me to do it, it is going on a calendar. I even have a family calendar so that my partner can put events on so that I don't forget. One of the best tools I have found for making scheduling of meetings easier is Calendly, it syncs back to my calendar so that I don't double book myself and it only takes one email to find time, instead of the eight.
Thanks to John Hill, Adapted Growth!
#9-Maintain a weekly schedule
Over the years I have found that if I don’t establish a weekly baseline schedule I can become easily overwhelmed and my focus gets scattered as my attention randomly moves from one topic or task or to another. On a spreadsheet, I maintain a weekly schedule with specific amounts of time blocked off for specific activities. This includes personal activities like exercise, hobbies and time for fun as well as specific business functions and regular meetings. This schedule represents a baseline and I allow myself the flexibility to adjust it day by day and hour by hour based on priorities and unexpected requirements. However, I try as much as possible to stick to my preassigned schedule and give the activity within each time block my undivided attention. When it’s time to write an article, all I do is focus on writing the article. When it’s time to analyze data, all I do is focus on analyzing data. I give certain activities an hour per week. Other activities that require more of my time receive a couple of hours every day. While I’m engaged in one activity, I never have to worry about an other activity because I know I have time set aside for every activity at some time during the week.
Thanks to Robin Salter, KWIPPED!
#10- Make use of Asana
I use Asana to manage the tasks and deadlines delegated between my team and I. With the Asana dashboard, I can immediately check on the upcoming tasks that need to be completed and, at the same time, monitor the progress of other tasks I have assigned to my team. Scheduling the tasks in a systematic manner helps me to keep ahead of things as we are running our business.
Thanks to Shawn Lim, Singapore Forklifts!
#11- Allocate to the team
Most of my schedule is allocated by my team. In the morning, I usually get the most important things done in my day, reading, writing, research and of course working out. By midday, I check my email for the first time. My company has a person completely focused on my schedule where I only take calls at certain times as well as covering travel arrangements. The issues with trying to do it all of yourself is that its very easy to make mistakes and its very stressful. If you do a lot of travel, hiring someone to handle those arrangements can do wonders!
Thanks to Jeff Buttler
#12- Being organized
My key to staying on schedule is to be organized. Running a small business is like being a circus ringmaster. I have dozens of things happening at once. So, I have a daily task list, things that I need to do. And I list them by their priority. It sounds simple, but it works, and makes me far more productive.
Thanks to Langdale-Schmidt, VuVatech!
#13- Leverage calendar invites
Maintaining a schedule is crucial to ensure that my team and I stay on top of our projects and task lists. Everything I do deserves prioritization: from reoccurring tasks and projects to team meetings and sales calls – I leverage calendar invites for nearly everything – even for date nights in my personal life. If it's not in Google calendar, for me, it doesn't exist
Thanks to Adam McIsaac, Robin Media Inc!
#14- Write out a mini-list of the major things
At the end of each day, I write out a mini-list of the major things I need to be completed the next day. Along with scheduled calendar events, this means I now have a structure to my workday. When I have an extra busy day ahead, I will break each task down into timetables, put my phone away, close my office door, and put 100% focus and concentration into those tasks. All combined, this will ensure that your day stays on schedule and is efficient.
Thanks to Emmanuel Frost, Brand Alignment!