It's been said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. How often do you hear a solopreneur say “Oh, if I only had a little more time!” For me it’s almost daily. It’s so easy to let daily tasks such as customer requests, the telephone, emails, and a million other distractions/duties/details pull you off course from taking time to plan for your success.
Many books are written as well as thousands of classes, masterminds and workshops taunting the importance of scheduling time to work ON your business rather than always working IN your business. But who has time to read all of them when you're working so hard dealing with the minutia of everyday tasks?
Listen carefully. Many of those little tasks that pile up can go away with planning. Planning gives you the opportunity to assess those tasks to determine which can be automated or delegated and to prioritize those that must be handled by you personally. But here's the bottom line.
Until you commit to the self-discipline it takes to do the planning, none of it will matter anyway.
Self-discipline is learned, and a choice we make everyday. One of the easiest tricks to develop self-discipline becoming a servant to your schedule. Block out one hour on Sunday nights each week for the next year for planning. During that time, write in tasks you need to accomplish daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.
Here's the hardest part. Keep your appointment! At first you may need to force yourself to keep the appointment, but with repetition, a new habit will develop. Use your self-talk to assure you talk yourself into it, rather than out of it. Your family, your business and your future all depend on you keeping this appointment. Don't let everyone down! I often joke with myself that my boss will fire me if I don't do it. The truth is, if I don't plan, there eventually won't be a company for 'my boss' to fire me from, and that's a reality I can't have. I love my freedom too much! So I pick myself up and get to my calendar. Pronto.
Have a file handy (or a pile if you're not organized. Yet!) where you can put all your notes throughout the week regarding things that need to be included in your planning. That will speed up your sessions and assure you stay on track with tasks that need attention. If you have paper notes, lay them out on the floor and prioritize them before you start scheduling. Make notes on them about how much time you think it will take to accomplish them. That way the ones that are bigger priorities will have the time to get them accomplished first. Then write each one of them into your calendar, blocking out enough time for each to be completed.
If someone asks you to do something during one of your planning blocks, you can easily say "I'm sorry, but I see I have something scheduled then. How does (another day/time) look for you?" Serve your clients, family, business and yourself well by serving your schedule first.
Many have heard me ask who is steering the ship of your company, and this is one way to assure the answer is “I am!”
Ronnie Roll has started several businesses from the "I Have An Idea" stage to grand openings and beyond. Her passion is helping others achieve their dreams, and her art mediums are business modeling and food.