Since we are heading into a holiday week at the beginning of July, we thought this would be the most ideal time to share some information about time management, because your time as an entrepreneur is extremely valuable.  Time after all is money.

How do you plan for a disruption in your work week?  Disruptions like doctors appointments, meetings, church events, sporting events, parties, etc.  Holidays are essentially planned interruptions. And unless you’re completely oblivious to the date and time, they do not sneak up and bite you in the rear.

You can easily overcome interruptions in your schedule through time management. Time management is a form of triage. Like in an emergency room, you must assign order to by a degree of urgency. We naturally tend to do this with our own lives.  You must place your personal and work schedule in an order of importance.

Now, we have emphasized many times on the importance of just going to work.  Getting out of your door in the morning is sometimes the hardest thing to do.  That’s because we tend to procrastinate.  Procrastination is the thief of productive time. Thomas Jefferson said, “Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today,” and this is especially true in our work lives.  Carpe diem!  Seize the day!  As Division Leader Paul Lane points out in this week’s Best Practices conference call: “You never take Monday off.  If you get a head start on Monday and you get something in the bag, psychologically it will help you to overcome those days ahead.”  In other words, you are starting off on the right foot and tackling the week head on.

Producing a written plan is the best first step to overcoming procrastination.  You got to not only plan on where you are going and what you are setting to accomplish, but also when.  Be specific. As Sales Coach Tom Snyder puts it: “If you don’t have a schedule, then you will always manage to find something else to do that is more fun than actually going to work.”

Once you force yourself to adhere to a written plan over and over it becomes a routine.  And work routines, generally speaking, are good habits, as they lead to positive outcomes.  But we must also caution that too much planning can also be a form of procrastination.  For example, someone who spends too much time arranging the things on his desk prior to the meeting instead of preparing for what the meeting is actually about.  Even planning must be done from the mindset of good time management, so plan wisely.

Technology can be a powerful aid when it comes to creating a schedule, but if you have to spend a great deal of time learning how to use something, like your iPhone calendar for example, then it may become a waste of time.  Some people use day planners, others use desk calendars, some use their phone calendars, others use Outlook, and some use a combination of all.  Whatever management tool you personally choose to use, make sure you are able to monitor it otherwise you have done a bunch of planning and have simply put it out of sight, out of mind.  This does you no good.

The easiest place to start forming a simple, productive, and visual schedule for your work week is with the MAN Chart.  This is for both personal producers and leaders alike.  The best thing about it is that it gives you your work week at a glance, and you can just start a new form for every new work week.  Just set up a given work appointment each day of the week in the morning, afternoon and night.  Reps can keep track of their approaches, presentations and closes.  Leaders can track their recruiting appointments, phone calls, training sessions all from this simple form.  For more explanation on how to use it, read page 17 of your Success Guide.

So, bringing this around full circle to the holiday, if you know ahead of time that there is going to be a interruption in your schedule, the simple thing is to strategize on how you are going to alter your routine for the week.  Whether you use the MAN Chart or if you have your own method of setting your schedule every week, you need to plan ahead for the expected.  It may be difficult to always plan ahead for the unexpected, but it is easy to plan ahead for the expected.  So, like the parable of the ant and the grasshopper, perhaps make one more appointment each day to make up for the long weekend.  Switch your training session that you usually have on Thursday to Wednesday night on your  MAN Chart in order to free up that extra time.  Just do not make a planned interruption like a scheduled holiday a reason you did not make your goals for the week, month, or year.

Our Top Personal Producer Marc Crevier emphasizes that if you base everything on your sales goals that must be met each week, for example, then you simply need to work backwards from the number of approaches you needed to make in order to achieve the number of sales you need to hit that goals; then simply reprioritize your schedule in order to still achieve those number approaches in the new number of days.  District Leader Lynne Cagle says so long as your plan each week based on the number of days you know you’re going to work, you should be able to meet any goal while still enjoying a holiday or other days off.

Listen to the entire Best Practices call now:

Here are a couple summary bullet points:

DO: Prioritize your time wisely.
DON’T: Wing it and spontaneously approach your time day to day.

DO: Set specific times to accomplish tasks and appointments, write them down, and keep them visible.
DON’T: Procrastinate by hitting the snooze button, and then getting to things when they suddenly feel urgent.

DO: Set aside some scheduled time to plan well ahead for your next day/week.
DON’T: Waste valuable time over-planning or making things perfect.

DO: Embrace technology to not only help you manage your time, but also to save you time as well.
DON’T: Get bogged down with something confusing or difficult that takes up more time than it frees up.

DO: Plan ahead for interruptions in your routine to meet your goals.
DON’T: Just accept that interruption as a loss and try to make it up another week.