I recently presented my 3 Essential Tips to an Organized Calendar on a global conference call. The call was titled “The Power Sales Strategies of a Professional Planner”.
After the call, I had several requests to provide my tips in written form, so here’s a quick summary of my 3 Tips to an Organized Calendar:
1. Live Your Calendar
Most professionals let their email and phone calls tell them what to do next—that’s reaction mode, and its a horrible way to run your day. Get out of reaction mode by deciding what to spend your time on (ahead of time, every week!) and then sticking to it.
Schedule time to plan out your week. I like Friday afternoons, but Sunday evenings work great for some people. The worst time is Monday morning—that’s too late! Lay out an organized calendar before the week begins.
Ask someone what their priorities are; whatever they tell you is usually what they WISH their priorities were. But you can tell someone’s real priorities (the ones they are living) by looking at their checkbook and their calendar.
Where are you spending your time and money? If you want to get control of your money—you have to tell your money what to do (that’s called a budget). And if you want to get out of reaction mode and get control of your life, then you need to tell your day what to do.
You can SAY that family is your #1 priority, but if you never allocate time for date night with your spouse or your kid’s soccer game, then its probably not going to happen. Likewise, a salesperson or sales manager can tell me that prospecting or recruiting is a big priority, but if I look at their calendar and those things aren’t on it, I know they’re not really priorities. So organize your calendar in a way that shows your true priorities. Then live your calendar.
2. Schedule Everything!
Create actual appointments (or placeholders to block off time) for everything you want to do. Exercise, date nights, bowling, time with the kids, recruiting, prospecting, meetings, drive time between meetings—everything that affects your day should be on there. Don’t worry about business vs. personal—simplify your life by having everything in one place.
Is your calendar overwhelming? I’ve seen plenty of my client’s calendars that are full of appointments they never planned on attending. Schedule everything you want to do—then get rid of the rest.
3. Color Code Your Calendar
Learning to color code and categorize an organized calendar was the best thing I’ve done to get control of my week. Here’s how to do it in Microsoft Outlook (Google calendar and most others have color coding, too):
Go to your calendar and select an appointment. On your calendar toolbar, there’s a button called Categorize (a square with multiple colored blocks). Click it and select Edit Categories (or All Categories) to see a list of colored categories. Select each color and then click Rename to give it a category name.
Here are some categories I have my clients use:
|Red||Meeting (that you are leading)|
|Orange||Meeting (that you are required to attend)|
|Purple||Prospecting or Recruiting|
(here’s a screenshot of one of my weeks…)
Spend 30 minutes creating color-coded categories, then create an organized calendar by assigning a color to each item.
Now, you can glance at your week and instantly see where your time is going!
- Is your week all Red and Orange? You’ve got too many meetings – time to do something about that!
- No Pink on this week’s schedule? You need to carve out some family time!
- Not seeing enough Purple? Schedule some time for prospecting or recruiting now or your sales numbers are going suffer next month.
I hope these 3 tips to an organized calendar give you a jump start to a more organized life.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!