How to Schedule Your Day to OPTIMIZE OFFLINE SUCCESS!!

18 replies
Hey Warriors,

You've probably noticed quite a few posts by me lately and may be wondering how I have time to write all these posts and still am able to run my business. It's very simple really... good time management!

One of the most challenging things of being self-employed is sticking to a schedule that fosters productivity. Without a boss look over your shoulder it is easy to sleep in an extra hour or two, put off tasks until later in the day or week, and develop an "I'll get to it later" mentality. This lack of self-discipline will kill your business quicker than almost anything.

In order to stay productive and keep your focus on obtaining new clients, it is important to implement a schedule for yourself and be diligent in sticking to it. It's easy to act like an employee with a boss, it's much more difficult to act like both an employee AND a boss. The later is what is important though. It's not that you don't have a boss-- you do. It's YOU. And it becomes very easy to slack off if you don't stick to a schedule.

Here is the schedule that I keep for myself and have found it to help me stay productive.

  • 6:30 - 7:00 am: Wake Up, Eat Breakfast & Read the News -- It sounds like something my mother would say, but eating breakfast is extremely important to kick your body into gear. I generally make a packet of Oatmeal (takes 1 minute in the microwave) and have found that fueling your body with whole grains in the morning helps wake you up and get your brain going. While I'm eating breakfast, I will read both the general news and industry specific news. I'm a big fan of TechCrunch and always try to stay up-to-date on what is going on in the industry. I'll also start figuring out which businesses to call.
  • 8:00 - 10:00am: Cold Call Businesses -- I've found that the morning is, by far, the best time to call businesses. People are just starting to get into their day, so they aren't consumed with tasks yet and are more likely to talk to somebody on the phone because it helps them procrastinate in doing what they need to do. Additionally, they haven't been bombarded with phone calls yet from other people trying to sell them stuff. This helps separate you from the rest of the folks pitching their services. If you call at the end of the day, odds are that the business owner has already received at least 10 other sales calls and they are not going to be in the mood to hear you out because they are tired of all the calls.
  • 10:00 - Noon: Follow Up Calls -- I use this time to make follow up calls to businesses. The difference between a follow up call and a cold call is pretty simple-- a follow up call is a business who I have already contacted. It could be that I had previously spoken to the decision maker and they weren't interested at the time, or it could be that I never got a hold of the decision maker and I'm calling back again to try to get a hold of them. I use SalesForce as a CRM, so I'm easily able to schedule all my follow up calls after I get done with the first call. I always record notes from every call so that I can pick up the phone and continue a conversation like it had never ended.
  • Noon - 1:00pm: Lunch -- I take time out to eat lunch and this is also when I spend a lot of time on WF and writing posts (like this one!)
  • 1:00pm - 4:00pm: Appointments -- I always schedule my appointments for the afternoon. I do this because it allows me to keep my mornings free for calling and even if I don't have a specific appointment set, I know that I will have time in the afternoon for anything that comes up because I've blocked off that time.
  • 4:00pm - Whenever: Random Tasks -- I find that there are always things that come up throughout the day. It can be client relations, vendor/outsourcer relations, accounting, really anything. If I don't have any appointments in the afternoon, I will do this stuff earlier, but if I'm busy, I do this in late afternoon / early evening. I've found that by setting a time to take care of tasks, it keeps me from getting overwhelmed when things come up. Everything little thing that comes up can feel like an emergency, so know that you have scheduled time in your day to take care of this things will really help keep you focused. Some people might say it is best to do this stuff in the morning, but I prefer to end my day on a high note where I feel like I have accomplished a bunch of stuff-- and crossing things off a list feels really good!
One thing to note about this schedule is that it is not rigid. If a prospect wants me to call him back at 3pm, I do so. I won't not call him because it isn't in the exact time frame of my normal schedule. I also have networking meetings that I go to that happen in the morning, lunch, and evenings. I fit those in accordingly. It is important to remember that you must be flexible as a business owner-- things will come up that you need to handle right away and you just have to do it. However, I've found that by having a structured schedule, it really helps me stay organized and keeps me motivated because there aren't a bunch of unknowns of what I'm going to do during the day.

Also, one last thing-- no matter what schedule works for you personally, there is no excuse for sleeping in. It is sometimes hard to get out of bed when you feel like you can put things off until later, but I've found that sleeping in kills my energy for the day.

It is amazing how much you can accomplish before 10am and helps motivate you throughout the day. If you currently don't get up early, just bite the bullet and start doing it. After a week it will become normal and you won't think anything of it! Once you "normalize" your productivity, you will start to realize that you can accomplish much more than you ever thought possible. Some of the things that were big hurdles or caused you to procrastinate will start to seem silly-- in some cases it will literally take 10 minutes to do what you've been putting off for days, weeks, or even months!

I hope this helps people bring some structure to their day if they were missing it before. If anybody else has any tips or wants to share how they structure their day, it would be a great addition to this thread!

Make it a GREAT day!!

-Ben
#day #offline #optimize #schedule #success
  • Profile picture of the author BrashImpact
    Ben,
    another valuable content Post...Thanks for taking the time
    to share with others..Value Value Value Baby.

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  • Profile picture of the author thedealmaker
    Great post!

    It really shows you how you can be productive everyday.

    I've found that sometimes when people are working from home that they don't have a structure to operate from so tasks that aren't business related consume most of their day.

    This post definitely gives you a clear idea of what to do.

    Thanks for sharing.
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  • Profile picture of the author oleskool
    Thanks, structure does lead to productivity. I like to schedule my week Sunday evenings so that I know what I must do for the whole week.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scitknot9
    Ben,

    Another great post....thanks a lot!! You always put out really informative, helpful posts and I thank you for that!!

    This is an area I am struggling with myself at the moment. I tend to put things off and let other things get in the way, wife and kids etc etc!!! I'm known to be a bit of a procrastinator anyway....and I so do not want to be one of those in this business.

    This is the first time I have 'gone it alone' if you will, and I'm finding every excuse to put things off - just because I'm fearful really!! I know that the best thing I can do is take action, i see it written everywhere on this forum everyday and always think to myself 'Go for it, what's the worst that can happen, you'll get better at cold calling etc,' but somehow I always seem to put it off!!

    I feel that I have lots of great Ideas to help local businesses in my area (most of which I have found on this forum - it's a wonderful place) but there always seems to be a mental block and the fear that I will fail and fail those that are relying on me.

    Anyway, enough of the whining now, lol.

    Thanks for the post,

    Scott
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  • Profile picture of the author Warrior Ben
    Thanks everyone for your kind words!

    The key here is not to necessarily follow my schedule hour for hour, but to set up some structure in your day and then stick to it. (Although I do recommend cold calling first thing in the morning!) You will find yourself to be less stressed and have a clear focus of what you need to accomplish during the day.

    If anybody else has a schedule that works for them, please share as other Warriors would probably find a lot of benefit in that as well!

    -Ben
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    • Profile picture of the author RRG
      Originally Posted by Warrior Ben View Post

      Thanks everyone for your kind words!

      The key here is not to necessarily follow my schedule hour for hour, but to set up some structure in your day and then stick to it. (Although I do recommend cold calling first thing in the morning!) You will find yourself to be less stressed and have a clear focus of what you need to accomplish during the day.

      If anybody else has a schedule that works for them, please share as other Warriors would probably find a lot of benefit in that as well!

      -Ben
      Ben,

      Great post.

      I would recommend adding to a schedule like this:

      5:30 - 6:30 am Running or brisk walking or other cardio exercise.

      Being in good physical condition enhances all other parts of life. Plus doing it in the morning ensure it gets done no matter what else happens during the day.

      AND . . . it gives energy to the rest of the day.
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      • Profile picture of the author MsMotivation1
        I need to add this to my schedule ASAP...

        Don't know why it's so hard to squeeze in regular exercise...

        Once I get on the computer, everything else goes out the window!

        I'm changing that starting tomorrow



        Originally Posted by RRG View Post

        Ben,

        Great post.

        I would recommend adding to a schedule like this:

        5:30 - 6:30 am Running or brisk walking or other cardio exercise.

        Being in good physical condition enhances all other parts of life. Plus doing it in the morning ensure it gets done no matter what else happens during the day.

        AND . . . it gives energy to the rest of the day.
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    • Profile picture of the author Amy5
      Hi Ben,

      I'm rather new here so this may be an answered question already. Are you allowing time in your schedule to do the actual work or do you have a team doing the work - providing the services?

      I'm just starting and because I'm not charging enough to hire anyone I find it takes all day to do the actual work. I'm trying to get a doable schedule down.
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  • Profile picture of the author maricelu
    A quick question, just so not to start a new thread,

    Any chance for me to get business owners in the morning? I am changing my schedule as in the university I will learn in the afternoon. I plan to visit them and I know it depends on many factors but some of you may encouter this situation and has something to say.

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author Brian F Adams
      I've said before and I say again, Ben you have great info that you openly share with this Warrior community. I have learned from it all. Thank you for sharing your ideas! They really are great.
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  • Profile picture of the author jhuman
    awesome post!
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Rivers
    Hey Ben,

    Two thumbs up on this one!

    On most days, I'm able to follow the advice you've given, but on the days I don't...it makes a huge difference in my success.

    Not too mention, I feel like I haven't done much when I don't stick to the schedule and get things done earlier in the morning. It just messes my mojo up with I feel like I'm behind all day.

    Once again, good advice..keep it coming!

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Warrior Ben
    Thank you all again for your kind words!! For those who had specific questions, I've answered them below.

    Originally Posted by RRG View Post

    I would recommend adding to a schedule like this:

    5:30 - 6:30 am Running or brisk walking or other cardio exercise.

    Being in good physical condition enhances all other parts of life. Plus doing it in the morning ensure it gets done no matter what else happens during the day.

    AND . . . it gives energy to the rest of the day.
    This is excellent advice! I was actually thinking of adding in a part for fitness because it is such an important part of having energy to get through the day. Thank you for adding it for me!!


    Originally Posted by Amy5 View Post

    I'm rather new here so this may be an answered question already. Are you allowing time in your schedule to do the actual work or do you have a team doing the work - providing the services
    I outsource a lot of my work, so generally I will work on the stuff in the afternoon and evenings. While I block off the afternoon for appointments, I rarely have 4 hours of appointments in a day, so I will use the afternoon time to work on any actual work or working with my outsourcers.


    Originally Posted by maricelu View Post

    Any chance for me to get business owners in the morning?
    Absolutely... in fact there will be times when the business owner can only meet in the morning. I will propose an afternoon time, but if they only time they can meet is in the morning, I will meet when during a time that is convenient for them. Same goes for if somebody tells me to follow-up with a call in the afternoon-- I will do that. The point of having a schedule is to keep structure, but you don't want it to be so rigid where you can't accommodate your clients or potential clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author Deidra Renee
    Great Post! I would like to add another thing to the list...Get Dressed! if you fall for the *work in your pajamas* line that some ppl put out, you will become a procrastinator, trust me..I tried it..You have to make your home office (even if it's not an actual office, just the living room lol) feel like an actual work environment or slacking will be inevitable!!
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  • Profile picture of the author sesy0004
    Ben, Great post. Going by your advice the day will be more than fulfilled.
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  • Profile picture of the author jason44
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    • Profile picture of the author BradleyC
      Excellent post.

      My schedule is very similar.

      8:00am - 12:00: Phone Calls In This Order -

      1. Closing Calls - These are businesses that have had a presentation but haven't bought yet. I'm calling to close the sale, or answer questions and establish what else they need to make their decision. I want to catch them first thing in the morning before they've been hammered by 20 other sales people and while they're fresh.

      2. Leads - We do a lot of marketing so we always have leads coming in. I call them next.

      3. Follow Up Calls - These are generally to schedule an appointment to present the product to the business.

      In the midst of these calls if I have a scheduled call to call back a business I'm making those calls at the scheduled time. Also, if a customer calls in, I will always call them back promptly!

      If I get through these calls before noon, I then do mailer follow up calls. I never just straight cold-call. Instead I do a follow up call after the 3rd piece we've sent a business. These calls, in my experience, are far easier and more receptive than straight cold-calls.

      1:00 - 5:00p: Presentations
      I use the afternoon to schedule my presentations. I prefer in person, but also tend to do a lot of phone presentations.

      My total objective and focus during the work hours of the day is to spend as much time as I can talking to business owners. That's the only way you can make money in any business ... by talking to decision makers!

      Proposals that need to get done or other things like this are done in the evening and emailed out. I do not spend any of my precious 8a to 5p time doing this type of work! My 8a to 5p time is to be spent making sales or generating leads, period!

      I do not make calls Monday morning and I do not work Friday afternoon. I find these periods are the worst time to make calls to business owners.

      I will work Sat morning every now and again if I'm working with contractor type businesses.

      I will also tell you that you will be far more effecient and productive if you use a database program to manage your leads, prospects & customers, and to manage your call-backs.

      Bradley
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