#93: How do You Manage Your Schedule?
*A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to three classes of sales students at the University of Cincinnati, and they had some really great questions. REALLY great questions...and a lot of them. So I thought it would be good to share them, and my answers, with you, gentle reader.*
How do you schedule your days so you can stay on top of everything?
This is a great one, and so important. (Also, I do not stay on top of EVERYTHING. That would be impossible.) Anyone who has been reading my blogs knows I'm a fan of block scheduling, but there's more to it than that. Here's my process for determining my block scheduling:
Know your priorities. For me, right now, the big priority is sales activity, so I make sure that gets a big block of time on my schedule, right away in the morning. Whatever your priority, schedule that first, so everything else has to flow around it.
Know your rhythms. I write best first thing in the morning, right after I meditate and before my first dog walk. I start at 7 a.m., so no one is calling me or emailing me that early, and I'm not at risk of ignoring an important request. I also need to be able to concentrate to write, so I can sit down, throw in my earbuds, and crank out the work that needs to be done. Afternoons, for me, are far better for meetings and responding to requests, not creative work. And if you don't know your rhythms, experiment until you figure them out.
Never start with email. EVER. I don't even open my email until after my first block of writing time and dog walk. That keeps me from getting swept into all the fiddly urgent stuff that pops up and keeps me focused on the important tasks I have in the day.
Shut your email between email sessions. Just close it. And for God's sake, turn off all your notifications. You'll never get anything done if your phone and computer are beeping and booping at you all day long. Unless your entire job is responding to email, shut it down. Focus. And scheduled specific times in the day when you are going to open it up, work on it for a while, and then close it again.
Review at the end of the day and set up the next day's activities. I never walk into the office cold. I always have a plan for my day and my priority list written out and ready to go. Early-morning uncaffeinated Lacy is not the person I want determining my day's work.
So that, combined with my other block scheduling tactics, is how I get it done. Well, this and a lot of discipline.