Do You Own Your Calendar, or Does Your Calendar Own You?
Is the Inability to manage your time holding your business back? Do you fear delegating responsibilities or find yourself overwhelmed with All. The. Things.?
Back-to-school season is around the corner, meaning it’s the perfect time to evaluate your routine, take a good honest look at how you spend your time, and adopt new habits.
→ Are you working in your business or on your business?
As coaches and resume writers, a good chunk of our time has to be spent working “in” our businesses. We’re providers and writers who deliver products and services that take time; however, it’s easy to get out of wack with your time allocation – caught up in operational or administrative tasks that carry less value and often take more of our time.
Alternatively, as entrepreneurs, we need to have some focused time to work on our businesses, stepping back from the grind to tackle strategic planning, long-term development, or new product launches.
If you’re failing to carve out time for business development, or you look at your calendar and see 67 hours of client meetings this week, it’s time to make some changes.
Five Tips to Add Time Back into Your Coaching Calendar
- Time Blocking
Time blocking means allocating specific time slots for different activities to create structure and focus. This could mean blocking out 8 – 11 am for resume writing, or that Mondays are for marketing, Tuesdays are for networking, Wednesdays are for finance, etc.
Start by identifying priorities and activities that suck your time but require thought and block them into your calendar – I mean physically add them to your calendar, mark it busy, and give it a special color. Commit to the rotation or activities you add as if they’re a meeting with a client.
Remember to include buffer (bathroom) time for unforeseen circumstances or breaks to maintain productivity and avoid burnout.
- Power Hours and Pomodoros
Identify your most productive hours during the day, and tackle the most challenging or high-priority tasks at those times of the day to accomplish more in less time. Bonus: you can also design power hours for stacking related activities.
For instance, you can write LinkedIn profiles or cover letters for several clients in one Power Hour, which helps avoid the mindset shift when going back and forth between tasks.
You can leverage the Promodoro Technique to turn these times into “sprints.” Set a timer for 25 or 50 minutes and work until the timer goes off. This approach helps break tasks into manageable chunks, a great workaround to reduce procrastination.
The key to successful power hours and Pomodoros is eliminating distractions to dedicate yourself fully to the project at hand. Put the phone on silent, pause the inbox, and remove the cat from your desk. 🙂
- Automate Routine Tasks
In a previous Business Corner (March 2023), I shared a list of my top tech solutions for solopreneurs, so now is a great time to go to the archives at parwcc.com and dig that up!
A wealth of automation tools out there can streamline repetitive and time-consuming tasks. From appointment scheduling apps and project management software for task organization to email, CRM, and funnel automation tools for customer communication, automating routine activities can drastically change the time you spend in your business versus on your business!
My top tip for leveraging automation is contained right here, in handy tip #4.
- Appointment Style Client Scheduling (and Calendly automated controls!)
A few weeks ago, I was in a coaching session with a new-to-business career coach, starting a side business to complement full-time work in career services. We got onto the topic of balancing client load with the “day job,” which is when I shared my appointment-style scheduling and Calendly set-up with him, and his eyes got wide with excitement!
I’ve structured Calendly to control and automate my availability, so I don’t have to think about a thing or worry about overbooking myself!
It evolved from a two-step process. Here’s how it works.
→ Manually entering all your available client sessions in your main calendar.
Set them to an obvious color (I used to use orange) and title them “Client Session Available.” Mark them all busy, so no one can book a free consulting call with you during those times, but be sure to leave windows (and create a special event type) for potential client calls.
→ Offer new clients or a next session based on your established availability.
The available orange sessions reflect open options. Change them to green once filled with a paying client (because green = money!). Train your clients to meet when YOU want to work (remember, you own your calendar) based on the available orange events.
→ Evaluate client flow by predicting who needs sessions during the following two weeks.
This will help you throttle your new-client onboarding up or down based on what’s open while ensuring availability for clients in a multi-session program.
→ Move all that madness to Calendly once you’ve gotten the hang of how many new clients you can take in a week and feel comfortable allowing clients to book their own follow-up sessions.
Create different event types with the appropriate controls for the number of new clients, check-in sessions, and follow-up sessions you want to have in a day. This is an automated way to ensure you don’t overload yourself while automating your scheduling and reducing the amount associated with rescheduling.
While it’s hard to offload stuff, you’ll need to lighten your load at some point. Monthly bookkeeping and bank reconciliation are the easiest (and first) thing I always recommend outsourcing.
Second is special media and content creation.
These two activities are so different from our core activities as career coaches and resume writers that it’s easy to spin your wheels and get caught in a rabbit hole when completing them.
Or forget them altogether, which isn’t ideal for your lead generation. Or your CPA.
Virtual Assistants can provide various services with minimal hours a week, so it may be more affordable than you think (and I have a great recommendation when you’re ready!)
Time is our greatest commodity. Clients pay us for advice and time in conversation; they pay us for the time it takes to create the perfect resume. As coaches and resume writers, our profit margins are dictated by our productivity and how much time we can bill to money-making activities.
Optimizing your time as an entrepreneur can be a game changer to growing your profitability, building capacity, expanding your income – and avoiding burnout! Ask me how I know…
I hope you’ll try out one, two, or all of these time-savers to position your business – and you – for long-term success and sustainability.
You’ve got this!
Your Friend and Coach,
Angie Callen, CPRW, CPCC