You feel like you’re working all the time. But somehow, there is still always more to do. And to make matters worse, you’re not even making the money or have the position that you know you should have. So your productivity is in the toilet and you have nothing to show for it.
How does this happen?
For me, it has happened because I get bogged down with all of the little things. There is a never-ending stream of junk that will keep you from doing the big things. The important things that you need to do to get where you want to be. And if the junk stream never stops, how do we fit in the big stuff?
Things will always come up to keep you from doing what you want to do. Notifications, emails, dealing with needy clients, it’s always going to be something. If you let this stuff bog you down, it can be really hard to climb out and rise above it. You’ll feel like you are not in control of your own time most days, but you always are.
I live and die by my calendar.
Put systems in place that limit interruptions. Shove your phone in your desk drawer while you work if social media is a distraction. Get the tedious stuff out of the way first thing in the morning. Block out time on your calendar for the things that seem to get pushed down. Seriously, schedule everything!
Productivity is a little different for everyone. Our roles are going to call for different tasks, and there isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to this. But you don’t have to try and figure it all out on your own. There are a number of resources on the topic, so seek out examples and see what works for you.
Scheduling isn’t just about you either. When you follow your own calendar, it makes working with you easier for others. Share your calendar with the people who would need to know. And if you’re in a role that involves one-on-one meetings and calls with others, have them schedule on your calendar. Then set expectations with them about what needs to be discussed and how long you have to be with that person. That way, you always know that:
- The meeting/call is way more likely to actually happen! – It’s easy for others to forget about your time and obligations if it’s not on their calendar. When they schedule with you, they’ll be more likely to add it to their own calendar. And it removes the always frustrating vague, “I’ll call you next week.” We know how that goes. Lock it down.
- It will only last for the allotted time. – If you work on a schedule with others, it’s more comfortable to end the call at the agreed-upon time so you can get everything else done. And so can they. Win-win!
- The time limit forces productivity. – Knowing there is a limit on the length of the call, (and this goes for meetings, coffees, etc.), there is more urgency about getting to the reason for the call. No more chatting for an hour about your kids before realizing you haven’t talked any business at all.
The second part of using a calendar to be more productive involves analyzing the goals you have set for your business.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how I feel about goals. Goals are my jam. You can read more both here and here, and there’s probably more because that’s how passionate I am about having goals.
Anyway, look at those goals and decide how you can schedule your time to make sure you hit them.
In a sales role, that might mean more cold calling, more networking, and setting more meetings to fill your calendar. For a marketer, it might mean writing more content for social media, guesting on more podcasts, or reaching out to more people to promote your content.
But more isn’t specific and it’s barely measurable. So break it down even more.
If you want to make $100k in a year, you need to sell $2,000 a week to meet that goal. How many clients does it take to get to that number? How many people do you have to call to gain that many clients? So on and so on.
The more you can plan, the more you can schedule. And the more productive you will be.
Things will always happen. Life happens. And honestly, this only scratches the surface of everything you can do to increase your productivity. But it’s a good place to start. If you can keep your schedule the majority of the time, you will see a huge decrease in your stress levels and a huge increase in your success and your ability to get stuff done.
Is your calendar your best friend? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!
There is any number of ways of increasing your output and managing your productive time. You can block time on your calendar for what you need to do. You can use a timer for short periods and focus on one thing at a time. Where a lot of people fail is when it comes to measuring if the effort you are putting in is productive effort or just busywork.
I talk a lot about managing the inputs, so you only have to measure the results. If you make 25 cold calls a day, you need to be able to know what that effort gets you, now is not the time to bury your head in the sand. If those calls are not leading to any new opportunities, it is time to either work on your technique or up the number of reps.