How to manage your schedule like a pro

Posted on Posted in 2016 Business Opportunities For You, What's Trending Now


Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM, once said: “Never let anyone own your schedule.”

It’s simple and obvious, yet genius.

Planning and following a routine makes a huge difference in how you feel and what you’ll get done. Here are some of the things that will help you manage your schedule:


1. Create a routine
No matter what you are working on, create a routine. Block times for specific activities, and stick with the plan. Turn your calendar into a bunch of blocks, and put activities into those blocks. Whatever is not planned, you don’t do. If you want free time, plan it.

Your routine may change through the year, but at any given time it’s better to have a plan. For example, if you are working on launching a company, and need to do customer discovery, coding and hiring, then prioritize and block specific times for each activity.


2. Group meetings and calls into blocks
For example, if you need to have outside meetings, block two and a half days a week for those meetings, and go to the outside meetings only during those times. Do the same thing for in-office meetings. This way, you are not only creating a chunk of time for meetings, you are also creating other blocks of time that you will need to be able to do important work. You can also do the same thing with phone calls.


3. Optimize time for different meeting types
10-minute calls are a great way to initially connect with someone or give someone quick advice. You can do a Google Hangout or Skype if you prefer to see the person instead of just hearing them. The reason 10-minute calls work is because people skip BS and get to the point. Try it. Ten minutes is actually a lot of time if you focus.

If you are meeting someone for the first time, it’s more productive to do a call or an actual 30-minute meeting in the office.

Here are the types of meetings you might want to book:

• 30-minute meeting in the office to get to know someone or catch up.
• 45-minute meeting outside of the office. Allow 15 minutes for travel.
• 10-minute call to help someone who needs advice
• 15-minute daily standup — great for startups and engineering teams
• 30-minute weekly staff meeting

Whatever meetings you hold, group them into blocks depending on your particular schedule. If you feel like a particular type of meeting needs more or less time, then adjust the block accordingly.


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4. Use appointment slots
There is a great feature in Google Calendar called Appointment Slots. It allows you to book a chunk of time, and then split it into pieces. For example, you can book three hours of outside meetings and then split it into three meetings — one hour each. Or you can book one hour of calls and split it into six calls at 10 minutes each. There is also a bunch of specific tools, such as doodle, that do that too.


If you are asking someone to meet, always propose several specific alternative times such as Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. on Wednesday.


5. Block time for email
Email will own you unless you own it. To own your email, you must avoid doing it all the time. To do that, you need to schedule the time to do your email. It is absolutely a must.


6. Plan your exercise and family time
Unless you put it on the calendar, it won’t get done. That applies to your exercise and time with your family and significant others. Whether you go in the morning, afternoon or evening, do it three times a week or every day, put exercise time on the calendar.

If you are a workaholic, you will end up stealing time from your family unless you book it in advance and train yourself to promptly unplug.

Taking ownership of your calendar and planning your days and weeks will make you feel more happier and productive.


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