You’ve heard about the effectiveness of time blocking (did I just hear you groan?). And you know how it can help you close more business. Yet you continue to come up with lame excuses about how it just won’t work for you.
But the top ultra-producers in every field are those that protect their calendars with their lives. Now is the perfect opportunity to examine how you’re spending your time.
I want you to imagine having a week in which everything happens exactly as you planned it. I know, I hear you: you’re all saying, “Dew, my business doesn’t work that way.” But that’s because you’ve never actually put the work into planning how your week should go. Until you take the time to create an ideal week, you’re never going to have one!
Forget about past failures and push out the negative thoughts that say you’re too busy to fit everything you need to do into the time you have. You can’t do everything—no one can—but you can do everything that’s important!
Starting with a completely blank canvas lets you build your ideal week piece by piece. This blueprint will ebb and flow as you find out what does and doesn’t work for you, and with time, you’ll see a massive spike in your productivity.
Step By Step
Creating a template for your ideal week won’t fix your time management issues overnight. This is a process! First, plot out a weekly template—Sunday through Saturday—accounting for all the time from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. For your first draft, I’ve found that it’s best not to start with your calendar application. Instead, do it on paper (or an excel spreadsheet), where you can start with a blank slate.
I’m not suggesting that every single minute needs to be blocked or even used, but if you look at where you’re really spending your time, you can see where you need to be spending it going forward. So we begin with the end in mind: Think about how you want your ideal week to look when you’ve finished crafting it rather than focusing on what your weeks look like now. Think beyond today, and consider that if you want to accomplish these things, how do you actually get there.
1. Create the list of what goes on your ideal week.
Like we discussed in the IPA post, there are a handful of things that should always be your highest priority for what you want on your schedule. These are your income-producing activities—the things that either A) generate revenue, B) build relationships, or C) save time. If you don’t know what those are, start by making a list of the things you do every day and putting a star beside the items that check off the requirements for an IPA. This will let you know where your priorities are and can help you put all the other items into appropriate categories.
2. Define the time spent on each task.
Go back and look at your list now and determine where you really need to spend your time to get where you want to go. Assign an amount of hours per week to each task, remembering to allocate enough time on a weekly basis to those tasks that really support your long-term goals. Make sure you’re taking not only your IPAs, but your Non-Negotiables into account here as well.
3. Create the first draft of your blueprint.
Begin filling in your days. You’ll quickly see if you’re not devoting enough time to any one task. Make sure to work in ample time for prospecting to hit your goals. And you should allocate space for any travel time that takes more than 30 minutes. Don’t forget to also schedule prep and wrap-up time for each day.
4. Implement your blueprint.
Now that you have the bones of a plan in place, let’s bring your ideal week to your calendar. You’ll set yourself up for failure if you add a bunch of meaningless recurring appointments that you probably won’t honor. (That’s why you groaned when I mentioned it earlier!) Instead, only add actual appointments (as you book them) or block time only when you are serious about dedicating time to a specific activity. Color coding your daily activities into categories will greatly increase the organization of your calendar—this is a sales champion level technique that I highly recommend! The colors will allow you to glance at your week and instantly see where you might have allotted too much or too little time. Details on how to do this can be found in my 3 Tips on an Organized Calendar blog post.
Before You Go
You’re well on your way to creating and living your ideal week! Here are a few other quick tips for success in overhauling your schedule:
1. Put focus time on your calendar.
Every day, you should block off at least one hour for what I call “focus time.” This is uninterrupted time to just work on you and your business. Turn your cell phone off, tune out all the distractions, close your office door, and work! Honor this time every day if you really want to reach a place of productivity and results.
2. Set a time to plan ahead.
Even with your ideal week template in mind, things are always going to come up that require you to make adjustments. Spending time at the end of each week not only reviewing what went right and wrong the previous week, but planning for the upcoming two weeks will guarantee that you stay on top of things. I recommend making this Friday Final 15 a permanent part of your weekly schedule!
3. Don’t expect yourself to succeed just because you’ve created a template.
Just like with any kind of life change or improvement you try to make, this is going to take time. Give yourself the grace to fail while you’re working on making yourself a better person.
Take that pressure off yourself now, and don’t worry about the time it might take to get into a groove. Keep doing it, and it will come.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!