Friday, June 3, 2011

Planning Your Time, Prepare for Interruptions by the 24/7 Couple

We try not to put out blogs that "Preach to the Choir," but one thing we have noticed as we talk to our fellow homepreneurs is that we tend to go through the day letting the day plan our time.  Instead, we should be planning our day so that we know what we are going to accomplish each day. There is a great deal of satisfaction at the end of the day when you can look back to see how productive you have been.  Here are a few tips on how to take control of your time and plan your daily activities so that you can have a productive outcome.

1.  Weekly Overview - it is important to take time either at the beginning of each week or at the end of your     work week to look at what is ahead.  A quick glimpse at what is behind you can help you bring unfinished       items into the next week as well.  Look at your calendar and start scheduling your work around the appointments you have on your calendar. Here is a recommendation of what we think you should schedule each week.

  • Prospecting - Very few people love this part of business, but let's face facts. Clients don't usually just appear out of nowhere. Schedule a couple of hours for cold or warm calling.  A cold call is when you call someone you have never met and a warm call is when you call someone who you may have met once or you know they have some knowledge of who you are and what your business provides.
  • Education - We can't stress this enough. Schedule time to learn something new about your business, technology or just challenge yourself to use that gray matter. Not only will you be able to put this new knowledge to work for you, but it has been shown that learning something new each day helps fight diseases like dementia.
  • Promoting - This could be going to a networking event, passing out marketing material or working your social media sites. A healthy promotion diet can bring new clients, which could cut down some of your prospecting time. What are you waiting for - "Go tell it on the mountain." 
  • Connect - Pick up a few blank greeting cards next time you are at the store, you can find packs of these for a couple of dollars - or print your own.  Take time each week to send a card to your current clients (2 to 3 times a year is good), to your past clients (3-4 times a year) and to prospective clients (even those you didn't get when bidding).  It is important to stay in touch and don't forget to ask them for referrals.  You will be surprised how many of the clients you didn't get will say something like "I wish I had chosen you for that project, you will definitely get my work next time." Why? Because you took the time to stay in touch and make them feel important.  
2.  Daily Planning - At the beginning of each day, fill in the gaps on your daily calendar with the tasks of the day, or your   "to do" list.  Be thoughtful and reasonable when putting together your list, you won't finish every project on your plate by the end of the day. That is why you took time at the end or beginning of the week to plan the next week's work load. Remember, you already brought the unfinished projects from the week before on to your current weeks calendars. 

If you are spending time promoting, prospecting and connecting, at some time during the week your phone will ring and you will need to schedule time to speak with or schedule a meeting you didn't have planned.  That is a welcomed interruption, but don't feel the need to meet with that client the same day. Schedule the appointment so it works into your weeks schedule. Don't let the day plan you, you have already planned your day.  A good weekly plan has left time during each day for the unexpected or welcomed interruption.

Take time each morning to pray over  your daily schedule. Pray specifically for your clients/projects that you will be working on. Ask for God to guide you and help you be the best you can be each day. Work to glorify God and try to work as though He is your boss. That's rewarding!! Praise His name on all the earth.  

3.  Plan Family and Fun Time Daily - You won't be able to or want to plan each minute of your family time or fun time but it is important that you allow time each day for connecting with and playing with your family. Don't work through dinner, this is an important time to gather the family around the table and catch up on daily activities and needs. 

Craig and I feel very blessed that we take time to read the Bible together and do a Bible study together. While I would love to say we spend time each night, there are nights when "life happens." This time together helps us stay centered on what is most important in our lives - Christ. 

We hope you find this information helpful and encourage you to pass it along to other homepreneurs. We send love and blessings to you and your families.

Karen and Craig Ruhl
The 24/7 Couple

"God is able to lavish every blessing upon you, so that always having sufficiency in every way you may be more than adequate for every good deed." - 2 Corinthians 9:8

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