Many of us set out to start our own business to have the flexibility to work around our other responsibilities like family and fun. To do that we need to be disciplined yet flexible in how we schedule our time. This article shares four tips to organize your calendar for work and life.
Schedule your priorities
Living a fabulously balanced life is about being true to your priorities. Staying true to our priorities means scheduling those “Big Rocks” first. Family priorities, including holidays and vacations, are scheduled first.
As a mom, I consult the school calendar for days when my girls will be home from school. I can then decide to schedule myself off on days that they are home to do something fun. I also make a note of doctors appointments and other family responsibilities, trying to chunk them where I can to make the most of my time.
By planning priorities first I usually can provide plenty of notice of this time off to my clients. It also helps prevent me from scheduling meetings during an extended holiday break!
After scheduling my family and personal priorities, I plan out any big milestones and launches for my business. I start with the end in mind, noting the dates for milestones and launches, then work backward, scheduling any related tasks while being careful to balance my workload.
Use One Calendar for everything
When my girls were young, I thought a “family” calendar that feeds into my Google Calendar was the way to go. After all, everyone says to keep work and family separate. What I found was that marking something on the family calendar opened me up to double booking work events.
Now, everyone has their calendar. If my daughter has cheer practice or a game, she invites me to the event. When I accept an invite, the appointment is added to my calendar. My google calendar is the one calendar that reflects everything in my life. If I need to be somewhere, it needs to be on my calendar.
Having their own Google calendar has been helpful in teaching my teens responsibility for their schedule. As their mom, I schedule a lot of appointments for them and let’s face it; I want to know where they are or need to be. Google Calendar makes this easy allowing them to share their calendar with my account.
Create Your Ideal Day Calendar:
My only exception to the one calendar rule is my ideal day calendar. I create an ideal day calendar to help me block my time and stay productive by keeping me on what I set for each day.
An ideal day calendar is just what it sounds like; it’s a calendar showing what your ideal day would look like from the time you get up to the time you head to bed.
On my ideal day calendar, I map out when I want to exercise, what time is set aside for personal activities and the time that is set aside for client work. This calendar is a visual reminder and the drag and drop functionality of Google calendar makes it easy to adjust when needed.
Automate your Client Scheduling:
Automating client scheduling allows clients to self-schedule appointments and prevents the back and forth of trying to find a time that works for everyone. It also helps prevent any confusion for clients who may be in a different time zone, as they choose their timezone and the system automatically converts the time appropriately.
I currently use Calendly.com to schedule client appointments. Other options include TimeTrade and Acuity Scheduling. All allow you to send a link via email, embed it on your website or add it to your autoresponders.
Once someone schedules an appointment, your calendar is automatically updated, and a confirmation is sent listing the meeting date, time and instructions on how to connect for your appointment.
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