Show me your calendar, and I’ll show you your priorities. You probably want to be someone considered efficient with time. You want to get it all done and stop feeling scatterbrained. You want to be your best self. You want to be the most productive person you can be today, but you have to learn how to manage your calendar first. You need to manage it ferociously. Look, the old cliché is true. If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist.
But let’s take it a step further. It needs to be specific. You can’t just write down, “go to the gym.” What you need to do is include the following: Set the time and location, what you need to bring, the activity you wish to accomplish, and then you have to honor it. So if it says you’re at the gym from six until seven, then at 6:00, you should be walking in because anything else before that time, is dedicated to something else written on your calendar. At 7:00, you need to be leaving because at 7:00, or 7:01, you should be doing what you’ve scheduled next.
People often question how I’m able to accomplish so much in a day, and it’s because I ferociously manage my calendar — every second counts. For example, I won’t receive any business if I avoid a follow up, or put off returning a phone call to a client or prospect, someone who’s trying to figure out who they want to hire to sell their house, or who they want to hire to represent them in the purchase of a home. I love agents who don’t follow up because truth be told, all they do is send their business to me, and to the agents that I coach because we honor our time and we manage our calendars properly.
I make sure I have time built into my day for working on my business, and that I have it marked down. Then, I have written in my schedule, activities to grow my business. I also include time to be with my family, time to work on my health and fitness, and time to educate myself. What I don’t do, what’s not on my calendar, is time for sitting in front of the T.V. and watching reruns of f.r.i.e.n.d.s, I don’t do that. I’d rather stimulate my brain by reading a good book or by going on a walk and stimulating my body, or listening to a podcast. I want to make myself better each day in some way, big or small. If we can make ourselves a little bit better than yesterday, then we’re winning. We’re moving forward.
The best practices on your calendar would include things like blocking out time for your morning rituals. I get up and make my coffee. I pack my bags, then brush my teeth. Next, I shave and get dressed. And lastly, I take my pre-workout. That’s my morning ritual. Then I drive to the gym. On the way to the gym, I listen to something that’ll pump me up, either some good upbeat music or I’ll record something, like how I’m recording this for my editor to use as content. I use that time instead of just mindlessly driving to the gym. When I’m at the gym, I’m fully present; but, I don’t stay later than I’ve planned. I don’t even stay 5 minutes later, because I’ve got another activity that has been marked down into my schedule.
A lot of times, people get caught up in, “working Facebook.” They get on Facebook, and because they haven’t scheduled the time to be on Facebook, to work social media, they end up spending 15 minutes extra, which becomes 20, and then 20 minutes become an hour. Next thing you know, they’ve spent two hours mindlessly clicking likes, hearts, or diving into politics, and watching things that put them a bad mood, or watching cat videos. That’s not how you get the most out of your day. That’s not how you become your best self.
But look, if you want to be on social media, I totally understand; I’m on social media. I want to know what’s going on with my friends, my colleagues, and my family. I use social media; I honor it. But I’ve got time on my calendar for it, and I limit it. I’ve got 15 minutes, and that’s all I get for exploring Facebook. When I do go on, I pay attention to the stories or the videos that are more meaningful to me, that I enjoy spending time on, but when the 15 minutes is over, it’s over.
I love the practice of time blocking my email because so often we can get caught up in our email for two, or three hours a day, just ridiculous amounts of time. Imagine for a moment if I told you that you could only be in your inbox twice a day for 30 minutes, each time. How quickly would you work through your emails? How many things would you delegate immediately, delete, or respond to, if you knew you were only going to get two, 30-minute windows of your day to check your emails?
I love it when I travel because I’m not interrupted. When I’m on a plane, no one can disturb me. It’s almost like a time block to get things done.
I like Sunday afternoons, too, because I’ve got no interruptions either, but on my calendar, it’s already set for the next week. So I send out a lot of emails, and I use technology to help, like Boomerang. I don’t want someone getting an email on a Sunday afternoon, so I’ll Boomerang it and have it arrive in their inbox Monday at 8:00 A.M. But I’m getting the work done on Sunday.
We have to eliminate distractions. That’s important when we’re talking about the calendar; we want to get as much done as we can during the time periods that we’ve blocked out. One of the keys to doing that is to eliminate things; minimalize your life. So if whatever’s on your to-do list isn’t in alignment with your goals, it shouldn’t make it to your calendar. Think about that for a second. Maybe it’s your goal for the week, goal for the month, goal for the quarter, or your goal for the year, but if it’s not in alignment with all those things, why would it be added to your calendar in the first place? We should only put things on our calendar that push us forward. Focus on the things that move you forward spiritually, with your family, and friends, your business, health, or vitality. Those are the things that need to be scheduled and blocked out, so they always get accomplished.
If you don’t have it on your calendar, it doesn’t exist. I mean that in two ways. First, the priority items need to be on your calendar. But also, things that aren’t a priority should NOT be on your calendar, so they don’t get done. If we live our lives ferociously through a calendar, we will be more productive because we won’t get caught up in the buzz of being busy for the sake of being busy.