I lead virtual networking events nationally and regularly deal with registration, planning, and all the prep that goes with it. The meetings and the work that goes into them are an absolute blast!

We now have Communities in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Florida, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, and on Long Island. The group is made up of a vetted community so everyone that attends (and may ultimately become a Member) is there because someone suggested them, and they were ultimately approved.

Given our vetting process, registration and overall attendance is excellent.

Despite this, I’m amazed when someone cancels at the last minute or simply “no shows” because they suddenly had a client appointment. Couldn’t that appointment have been scheduled at another time? Why would you schedule a client or prospect meeting at a time that you registered (and paid) for another meeting?

Naturally, life happens, and other circumstances come up.

An accountant that must suddenly process a tax return by deadline.

A web host that must help get a client’s website up and running after it crashed.

The Board or a group of decision-makers are only available at this specific time.

An accidental double booking or a client meeting that should have made the calendar but didn’t.

Of course, a family situation involving childcare, sickness, or your own well being is a given.

When the situation is NOT an emergency, why can’t the client meeting simply be scheduled at another time? That is, unless you don’t value the meeting you’re not showing up for.

One of the great benefits of being business owners is that you get to own your calendar. You can decide, in most cases, what gets scheduled and when it gets scheduled.

If you’re not valuing and controlling your time with prospects, client’s, and even family and friends, they may not either. Boundaries, man!

Here are 5 ways to potentially generate more value from your time and own your calendar.

Make a List of Your Priorities

What projects do you need to complete? Do you need to follow up with prospects? Is there social media work that needs to be done? What Revenue Producing Activities (RPA) do you need to complete? Begin by making a list and checking it twice. Is your sense of organization being naughty or nice? Seriously, if you’re spending time during your work week doing things that don’t make your list of priorities, then you’re using some of that time to do other things. Goofing off on social media, spending handling email that is not a priority, or having meetings that aren’t producing a positive result. What are your Top 10 Priorities for your work week?

Create a Model Week

Given your Top 10 Priorities, what deserves to be scheduled (yes, actually scheduled!) into your week? And of course, what tasks don’t make it to your calendar? Here is how I typically organize my week. I will divide my 5 workdays into halves. This way, every half day amounts to 10 percent of my week. Then I determine what percentage of my week I want to be devoted to any given set of activities that made my list of priorities. For example, if I want 50 percent of my week to be devoted to Revenue Producing Activities (Zoom meetings with referral sources in my target market is a good one), then I will focus on having 5 half days scheduled to do nothing but outreach, schedule, and hold the RPA meetings. That means that allotted time cannot be devoted to anything other than an emergency or something that truly is a priority. That 50 percent of Revenue Producing Activities become Non-Negotiable Activities. That’s NNA if you’re scoring at home!

Set a Weekly Goal

I love goals! Scoring them, setting them, and hitting them. What gets measured gets done. Here are some questions and potential goals you might want to set for yourself. How many scheduled networking meetings do you want on your calendar on any given week? Is the 50 percent (based on my example) you’ve devoted to RPAs in your Model Week getting you to that goal? Are the meetings that you’re booking generating referral-based business? Are there other weekly goals you should be setting? It might be helpful to consider your goals on a Friday after reflecting on your past week. It’s always interesting to determine what’s working and what’s not so you assess, analyze, and can make any necessary adjustments.

Assess and Analyze

Are you tracking your Revenue Producing Activities? Are your Revenue Producing Activities producing revenues? (Kind of the purpose.) Are your goals clear and are you hitting them? Again, what gets measured gets done. What’s working? What’s not? Also, are your other priorities getting done? For example, if you need to be studying to take an exam for a certification, doing casework, reading, servicing clients, hiring, training, leading your team, or anything else that made your list of priorities, make sure you’re devoting the right amount of time (percentage, half days) to those respective areas.

Just Say No

There are always people that will want to be a part of your Model Week. This is a place to be a bit selfish with your time. It’s great to help others but you want your time to be valued. Perhaps 10 percent of your time can be devoted to “miscellaneous” provided that the activities dedicated to that time slot makes you feel good. If those activities don’t make you feel good, then they probably shouldn’t be taking up space on your calendar. I was recently part of a group meeting that met once a month. I was getting little fulfillment from the meeting and began to dread it. Once that happened, I knew it was time to get that 60 minutes a month back and devote it to something that made me feel good. Certainly, if someone asks you to take on a project or do something that takes time away from one of the priorities in your Model Week, it’s alright to say “no”. In fact, just saying no feels good! Remember, saying no to something you don’t want to do means saying yes to something else. The reverse is also true!

Your workdays don’t have to be scheduled in halves or 10 percent modules. You can divide your days into thirds or any way you like but if you slice and dice too much, it becomes a lot of work.

The key is to make the process easy. Otherwise, you won’t do it.

I like 10 percent modules because it limits the number of priorities (if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority) and makes the math easy. It’s easy to add percentages in “tenths” while making the adjustments that make sense.

Also, don’t be reluctant to have 10 percent of your week (or more) devoted to doing something fun! A walk with your honey, the gym, family time, or whatever.

If you’re owning your calendar, you’re owning your time.

Featured image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

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