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 a given day/week/month.
Here’s what entrepreneurs had to say about maintaining a schedule for more productivity.
#1- Creating a solid routine
Maintaining a schedule means you must stick to your plan, and if you don’t, you are apparently ruining your own life. We all have our ways of managing our time, but what works for me is creating a solid routine. Say I only have 9 hours of work a day, I divide it into parts so the tasks would not overwhelm me. If the clock hits 5 pm and I should be out, I stop there. When it is time for home chores or my pastime, I ensure not to skip it. You’ll be surprised at how you pick the habit as you go. I must say it did not start easy. But it is a matter of how you seriously follow your own rules.
Thanks to Steven Johnson, Boot Mood Foot!
#2- Kanban System
Five years ago, I was introduced to the Kanban way of managing work and schedule, and I believe that it was a pivotal moment in my life. The only scarce thing in the world is our time, and I've always sought high productivity and efficiency. I am a doer, and I don't the corporate way of doing meetings all day long. My work schedule starts with a daily stand-up meeting. 15 minutes, that's all we need with my team to discuss the priorities for the day. After that, I get to get things done. My time is blocked in 60-minute Pomodoro cycles with five and 10-minute rest time. My work is scheduled on a Kanban board, where I have a full overview of the whole team's work. Thus, I don't need hour-long meetings on status reports. The Kanban board shows precisely what's in progress, what has been done, and what is due.
Thanks to Militsa Chervenkova, MilaChervenkova.rocks!
#3- Being strict
Keeping a strict schedule is extremely important on behalf of me as a working-at-home mom. It improves my efficiency in time management. I always plan my schedule one month ahead and check it every night if what I completed and achieved. I practice waking up early to start my day. By doing this, I feel like I have plenty of time to use. A time tracker or any task manager application is also a huge help to urge on the right track.
Thanks to Jenny Abouobaia, Clever Touch Marketing!
#4-Keeping track of how many hours I worked
I used to think that flexibility in scheduling work was the key to maintain creativity. But since the pandemic and its inevitable restrictions, my options of working in coffee bars or going for midday strolls changed drastically, causing me to adjust my working schedule. I had to view it from a new perspective. I started by keeping track of how many hours I worked and which of those were actually productive. By the end of the month, I had a fair overview of how my mind and body work best when always working from home. Then, as I planned for the next month, I adjusted the roster so that I accomplished most during my productive hours and gave myself some time to procrastinate when I'd be distracted easily. I also added short breaks every 40 minutes, so that I can stretch my legs and refill drinks. This way, I found it much easier to maintain a healthy work schedule.
Thanks to Jeanine Duval, Edelwyn!
#5-Taking full advantage of appointment slots
One of the keys to maintaining my busy schedule is by taking full advantage of appointment slots. This is a great feature within Google Calendar that allows you to book chunks of time, and then split it into pieces. For example, I could book two hours of calls and split them into six twenty-minute calls. You can then take this a step further by creating bit.ly links for different blocks of time. You can have a link for each block of time and share these links, and they can book time with you. This is a great method to minimize the back-and-forth emails that save a load of time for me and other companies.
Thanks to Charlie Wright, EposNow!
#6- Creating a detailed weekly plan
The #1 reason why people do not maintain their schedule is because they create unrealistic and overcommitted schedules. They never build in any transition time or downtime which leads to exhaustion and burnout. As an entrepreneur with multiple businesses and a young child, I have mastered the art of creating a detailed weekly plan that ensures I schedule the most important tasks early in the week, thus allowing for some flexibility when something unplanned comes up. Then, I always reserve pockets of time for catch-up, downtime, etc. I have a very structured and repeatable process I use (and teach) on how to create an achievable weekly plan that is easy to maintain.
Thanks to Megan Sumrell
#7- Making a to-do list
Maintaining a strict schedule becomes a challenge for me sometimes. So I make a to-do list everyday and set my priorities. Prioritizing important tasks make it easier for me to stick to a schedule as I work in a streamlined manner to complete my work before it’s too late. Some things are not that important and I postpone them to the next day to make sure they don’t disturb my schedule for the present day. I hope setting priorities help you all to maintain a schedule as well.
Thanks to Julien Raby, Thermogears!
#8- Scheduling time for contingencies and emergencies
Identify your available time and be realistic. Sometimes things take longer to finish than expected — whether it's because a task turned out particularly tricky, you fell into a slump or dipped out on a quick coffee break. Schedule some extra time to cope with contingencies and emergencies. In order to make sure those unforeseen moments don't throw a wrench into your workflow, always add in time-cushions of 10 to 15 minutes between each task so you're giving yourself some wiggle room. Experience will tell you how much to allow – in general, the more unpredictable your job, the more contingency time you'll need.
Thanks to David Stellini, AllFront.io!
#9- Focus and avoiding distractions
The hardest part about sticking to a schedule is getting started and becoming used to that sense of commitment. The ability to “multitask” is a buzzword in business that people often consider to be a strength. However, multitasking decreases your productivity, and the reasons behind this are pretty obvious. Keep your focus on the task at hand. Give Your Schedule Regular Glances. To avoid forgetting about commitments entirely, stick to one place where you record all of your plans and obligations. This will prevent you from having to switch back and forth from one calendar to another, which will increase your chances of accomplishing everything without becoming overwhelmed.
Thanks to Richard Waters, Row!
#10- Breaking up larger workloads into smaller pieces
I like to break up larger workloads into smaller, bite-size pieces. This allows me to gradually get a little bit done each day and work ahead until I have fully accomplished the project or assignment. This ensures I do not wait until the last possible moment to get the work done. Breaking up my workload allows for the final product to be much more thoughtful and detailed in its completion. I know I have done the necessary research and included the most important statistics and numbers that allow the work to shine and stand on its own.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!
One key to maintaining my schedule every day is freeing it up by delegating everything I’m not good at. Marketing, customer support, sales, PR – if it’s something that I’m not very good at – I’ll hire someone else to do it for me. That way, I have plenty of time to focus on my own schedule and doing the things that really matter, such as finding ways to grow my business.
Thanks to Adam Hempenstall, Better Proposals!
Scheduling is crucial to maintain order in a business. I use the batching method for scheduling out my mile-long to-do list. If I need to knock out blog posts, I will set aside a specific set of hours to focus solely on blog posts. If I have to create social media posts, I’ll block off time for those as well. Batching my schedule helps me to focus on one task at a time instead of bouncing between 5+ tasks at once. It also means I can dedicate these timeframes to create a ton of excellent content that I can schedule in advance. It helps me keep ahead of the game with quality content instead of rushing to push out content for the sake of content.
Thanks to Blaire Brown
How do you maintain your schedule? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.