I started out this year with a fully fleshed-out calendar. I knew exactly what I was going to do, when we were going to promote, when we were not going to promote, when I was going to take vacations, etc. Everything was planned.
Well, as you probably know, things change as the year gets going. As entrepreneurs, the challenge is to be flexible enough to seize good opportunities, but not so flexible that we lose all our momentum.
Now that it’s July–where did the time go?–I decided to hit “pause” in the calendar flow and regroup.
I’m going to walk you through a simple, powerful exercise to evaluate where you are right now in your business, what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to change.
I’ve also created a downloadable template that helps you chart your progress in this exercise. You can get it by clicking here.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Step #1 – Review Your Week
Write down every single thing you can remember you’ve done in the last seven days. I mean everything–creating content, training, phone calls, reading emails, writing emails. It’s crucial to know how you’ve been spending your time.
Step #2 – Perform a Brain Dump
Think ahead to the next six months, and write down all of the things you need to get done. People to contact, products to create, events to attend, blog posts to write . . . I mean everything. (Warning–don’t use this as an opportunity to come up with new ideas! This is just for what you’ve got in the works right now.)
Step #3 – Identify the Revenue
Now that you’ve got your list of six months into the future, take a highlighter pen and highlight every item on that list that will produce revenue for you, either directly or indirectly.
Learn more about how you can successfully “regroup.” Click here to listen to the full episode.
Step #4 – Identify Misspent Time
Now take another highlighter pen in a different color, go back to the list you made in Step #1, and highlight the tasks that were either a big waste of your time or that you could have delegated but didn’t.
Now go back to the Six Month list, take a third highlighter pen, and highlight all of the things that you could either do farther into the future, or that can be leveraged or delegated.
Lots of highlighter action, I know. But this is all about identifying where you should and shouldn’t be spending your time.
Step #5 – Color Code Your Calendar
I use Google calendar, which makes it very easy to highlight each entry in a certain color. The point is that to have different colors for different categories–planning a project, upcoming deadlines, content creation, podcasting, being interviewed with someone else, even time off or personal errands (like getting my hair cut).
Once you do this, you can step back and see the big picture of your schedule. Where are your biggest blocks of time being spent? Is that enough, given what you know about your work flow? Are you spending enough of your week doing the things you really love? After all, isn’t that a big part of why we start our own business?
Don’t forget to download Amy’s template that walks you through this whole exercise, step by step. Click here to get it.
At this point, it’s time to pat yourself on the back, take a walk, breathe deeply.
That’s the whole point of this exercise–giving yourself more room to breathe. You now have a bird’s-eye view of what your schedule really looks like. You know where you need to focus your time. You know what things you can quit doing or delegate.
Without these moments to regroup, the day-to-day hustle can start to consume you. These regular check-ins with your schedule will put you back in charge of your business.
Links mentioned in this episode:
Click here to download the transcript.