If I were to make a list of the top 10 reasons for the success I have enjoyed over my 30-year entrepreneurial career, one of the points that would be on that list is the way I plan and schedule my time. In fact, I would guess this point would be on the top of any successful business leader’s list because you cannot be successful over an extended period of time, if you are not productive with how you spend each day.
In today’s lesson I am going to share with you how I plan and schedule my week’s responsibilities.
My Plan for the Upcoming Week
On Saturday or Sunday, I take time to review all my current projects and set priorities for the upcoming week. Here is how I do it:
- I make a list of all the projects I want to complete during the week. These are things that will require at least one hour of my uninterrupted time. All other items go on my Prioritized Daily To- Do List
- Beside each entry I write down how much time I expect it will take to complete that project.
- I then prioritize this list.
Below is the plan I put together for the current week. Since my new book will be released November 15th, most of my priorities this week are part of my “Book Rollout Plan.”
- Finalize product pricing with Success Books, my publisher. This includes pricing for the hardcover book, CD audio book, MP3 downloadable version, Kindle and iPad versions, and bulk orders for books and the audio program. Estimated time: 1 ½ hours
- Write this blog post. Estimated time: 3 hours.
- Design work. Put together a simple creative brief for my designer to work from in creating the front and back covers for my CD audio program. Estimated time: 2 hours
Total Time Estimated: 6 ½ hours
- Write the text for the back of the CD audio program. Estimated time: 1 hour
- Design work: Put together a simple creative brief outlining the changes that need to be made to LittleThingsMatter.com, so people can learn about and buy the book from my site. Estimated time: 2 hours
- Write product descriptions. This includes the product descriptions that will appear on LittleThingsMatter.com, YourSuccessStore.com, and Amazon. Estimated time: Estimated time: 3 hours
Total Time Estimated: 6 hours
- Design work: Put together a simple creative brief for my new Little Things Matter Facebook landing page. (This will be the page people see who have never visited Little Things Matter on Facebook.) Estimated time: 2 hours
- Meet and strategize with my son-in-law who handles my website and Facebook page. Estimated time: 3 hours
- Review my LTM website creative brief from Tuesday outlining all changes that need to be made to the site.
- Review my Facebook landing page creative brief.
- Review plan and testing deadlines for final rollout November 15th.
- Design work: Review the creative brief for my audio program design with the designer, including all the approved edited text. Estimated time: 1 hour
Total Time Estimated: 6 hours
- Write next Tuesday’s blog post. Estimated time 3 hours
- Write the next two weeks’ posts for Facebook and Twitter. Estimated time: 3 hours
Total estimated time: 6 hours
- Write next Thursday’s blog post. Estimated time: 3 hours
- Review and prioritize my marketing strategy with my son Gerrid and son-in-law Josh with Catalyst R.O.I.. Estimated Time: 1 hour
- Design work: Put together a simple creative brief for a full-color 8 1/2 x 11 flyer promoting my book and audio program. Estimated time: 2 hours
Total estimated time: 6 hours
The Bottom Line
I realize this schedule is unique to me; yours will look totally different. The take-a-way from this lesson is that if you want to be highly productive, you must organize and prioritize how you spend your time. Do not allow interruptions during the windows of time you have blocked out to work on your projects or you will never get them done in the time allotted.
In review, here is my procedure. I list all my projects and estimate the amount of time it will take to complete each one. Then I prioritize my projects and place them into specific days of the week.
Once I finalize my Project To-Do List for the week, I then create my Prioritized Daily To- Do List for Monday. It includes each of the points listed under Monday above, but it also includes other tasks I need to do, such as make phone calls, return emails, schedule appointments, monitor my social media efforts, and drop my daughter off at her friends.
A schedule like this also changes as the week progresses. There are times when I am running ahead of schedule, times when I am behind schedule and times when priorities change. The bottom line is that I go into each week with a plan and adjust as necessary.
40 Hours a Week is Break Even
If you do the math, you can see that I work more than eight hours on most business days. I also work 4–6 hours on Saturdays.
I have never seen anyone who has achieved any meaningful career goals working only 40 hours a week; 40 hours a week is where you break even. It’s the time you invest beyond 40 hours that gives you the edge in achieving your career and financial goals.
Let me also suggest that you monitor how long every project takes. This will allow you to accurately project how much time you need to allocate to projects in the future.
If you will begin to plan and schedule your time, as I described in this lesson, you will seldom miss deadlines or let others down. You will feel better about yourself and where you’re taking your life. You will experience more peace and less stress and, perhaps most importantly, it will help you achieve your goals.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them In the comments section below this post.
To achieve any meaningful goal, you must have a plan and the discipline to work it.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are listed #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts.)