Column: Routine schedule


We are all born with certain benefits and disadvantages.

I feel blessed to be tall – really cool. However, I also had the misfortune of going almost completely bald before I turned 30.

However, there is one great equalizer – time.

We all have 24 hours in a day, and our success in business is directly related to the way in which we spend our time at the office. Unfortunately, just about every leader I have coached during the past 11 years does an awful job of managing their time.

The reason we struggle is simple.

As Dr. Stephen Covey pointed out in First Things First, we are “addicted to urgency.” In other words, we allow our desire for immediate gratification to drive our day and judge our productivity by how many items we check off a to-do list. If you have any doubt that you suffer from this ailment, ask yourself if you’ve allowed your email to interrupt an appointment or phone call in the last 24 hours.

It’s time that you learn to take back control of your day. To do that, I am going to recommend that you start by developing the habit of blocking your schedule. It’s a simple concept that is extremely difficult to put into practice for more than a couple of days.

To start, you need to ask yourself two questions: What are the most important items that you should complete every week (prospecting, reviewing financials, exercise, etc.) and what are the specific projects that must be completed by this Friday at 5 p.m. (complete a proposal, review insurance estimates, etc.)? As you put these lists together, remember that if everything is important, nothing is important.

Next, look at your calendar and make certain that you have time blocked to complete these activities. I recommend that you set aside the same block of time weekly for the habits that you’d like to develop (prospecting, reviewing financials, exercise, etc.). For example, if you are a morning person, I would recommend that you consider going to the gym before work and then getting your prospecting done as soon as you hit the office when you have the most energy.

After you have developed a weekly block schedule for habits, I would advise that each week you review and make certain you have time allocated to complete the special projects (complete a proposal, review insurance estimates, etc.) for that specific week. It’s O.K. if you have an entire afternoon scheduled for administrative work as long as you are clear what projects need to be completed during this time.

As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is choose to execute. Choose wisely.