Plan your week, produce your life

Ellen Rohr
Contributing Writer
Bare Bones Biz

You could buy the grooviest software, the smartest phone, the most expensive day planner and hire a willing-and-able personal assistant.  None of those actions will do anything for your productivity.  Unless, you change your relationship to time, time will slip away from you.  If you don’t plan your day, your day will be planned for you…by your family, your customers and your team members.

Here are a few techniques I teach and practice to be more productive and get more out of life…

• You’ll need a calendar.  My vote:  Use Outlook or Google Calendar.  It will sync with your smart phone.

• Put a “Meeting with you” on your calendar, with a weekly recurrence…forever.  Put it on Sunday or Monday early, before the week kicks in.  Schedule an hour for this meeting.  Have your business plan, your master to do list, and your calendar with you.

• At this meeting, page through your business plan.  Remind yourself of the big picture, and get inspired. Recommit to your mission and your goals. Read through your master to do list.  Notice what needs to be done now, and what can wait.

• Assemble a Top Projects list.  Based on the business plan, and your master to do list, select a few no than 5. The item that don’t make it to the Top Projects list stay on the master to do list.

• Plan the week ahead.  You’ll use one calendar for all aspects of your life.

• Put in personal and family appointments first.

• Put in regular work appointments.  If you run service calls, or sales calls, schedule the time you will be available to do that.  Schedule an appointment to visit with the dispatcher each Monday to make sure she or he knows your availability.  

• Make sure that one or two or three of your Top Projects have project time scheduled on your calendar.  Unless you schedule the time, the projects won’t get done.  Yes, you can schedule time after the team goes home, or on Saturday.  However, remember, the point is not to work more.

• Schedule meetings with the people who report to you directly.  Jot down their project assignments and commitments right in the appointment notes.  Good way to hold them accountable.  Put the meeting agendas in the appointment, too.

• Remember travel and transition time.  Build it into the calendar.

• Schedule a day OFF.  A day you don’t plug in…or connect with anything that plugs in.

• Consciously pre-pave your week. Don’t schedule time for things you don’t want to do or low results-to-effort activities.  It’s your life and your calendar.  “See” yourself living each day.  Imagine how enjoyable and productive and profitable this day, this week, will be.

Every day, report in to the calendar…

• Do what you committed to do.

• Of course, stuff happens.  At the end of each day, acknowledge achievements and move items you didn’t get to.  Move it or dump it or delegate it.  

• Did you complete a Top Project?  Woohooo!  Celebrate it! And select another project to replace it on the Top Projects list.

Regroup at your next weekly “Meeting with you.”  

Are you willing to change?  Are you willing to drop the limiting thoughts and baggage that is keeping you down?  Are you ready to plan the life you really want to lead…and live it?

Yes.  Yes, you are.

Ellen’s UN-conventional approach to business makes it easy to be more successful and profitable. Download free biz tips at, find her blog at HuffPost Small Business and connect @ellenrohr on twitter

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