Eight Rules for Setting Schedules That Stick
When you wear as many hats as KW associates Ashley Miller, Jacob Parrill, and Tara Smith, it makes sense that time management becomes essential to the everyday smooth sailing of your business. “Time management is one of my favorite topics, and I really believe that it’s absolutely the key to success,” Smith says.
Smith is an operating principal of offices in Lexington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and a team leader in the latter location. Parrill is a KW MAPS Coach, productivity director, and agent team leader in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Miller is a MAPS Coach and rainmaker of a team in Central Illinois.
Below, Smith, Miller, and Parrill share eight lessons they’ve learned for building a schedule that will keep you on track. Are you on track to build a bigger business and a bigger life? KW agents can access free trainings on a variety of topics on Connect Live.
Eight Schedule Rules to Live By
- Schedule time to make your schedule. “You’ll never stay on schedule if you don’t actually plan time to look at what you did last week and then build your next week’s schedule,” Parrill says. He recommends time blocking this for the end of the day on Friday or booking some time over the weekend. “The key here is always to have it completed prior to the start of business on Monday,” he says. “Otherwise, you wake up Monday already behind and not on schedule.”
- Rebuild your schedule from the ground up. The first step in making your schedule? Erase everything. “Take it all the way down to bare bones,” Smith says. “If you’re like me, when I started this, the only thing I knew I was 100% committed to was lunch. So I created a block of time for lunch. Then go back to the gaps and actually build a calendar and time blocks that support your goals. You may need to be in three appointments a week, so you need to have three appointments blocked on your schedule.”
- Block your personal time first. “We always know what our priorities are by looking at how we spend and invest our time,” Parrill says. “So put in that time for your family, your health, your fitness.” For Parrill, that means blocking time for vacations, family days, date nights, and physical exercise before adding in any business items. “When you do that, you’ve set yourself up for success, and it makes it a lot easier on your family because they know that you’ve protected time for them.”
- Find a scheduling win every day. An agent Smith was coaching felt that if she missed her energizing 5 a.m. yoga class, the rest of her day was a wash. “Nobody nails it 100% of the time,” Smith says. “Highly successful people are very, very good at getting back on track. If you miss your time block, that’s OK. The entire day is not scrapped. Look for the next opportunity to get back on schedule so you can have wins on that day.”
- Give your time block a name that motivates you. Whether it’s a client, family member, or someone else, attach it to your time block. “Look at that time block like it’s a person you’re meeting with, and you’re going to respect that block of time because we don’t want to let that person down,” Parrill says. He suggests adding your kids’ or spouse’s name to a lead generation block. “It’s a great way to get back on track because we can look at that next time block and say, ‘I can’t let little Sally down.’”
- Set your schedule on repeat. If you use a digital calendar to map out your schedule, set up every event as a weekly repeating event. “After years of doing this, I know exactly when I’m going to be doing lead generation, when I’m going to have appointments, when my meetings are, and it takes chaos out of my world,” Smith says. “Every minute of time I have is an opportunity to try to impact my business or someone’s life. So just start creating those habits. Over time, you’ll look up and you’ll be the person that follows your calendar, not someone who lets your calendar follow you.”
- Only schedule events that are purposeful. As a coach, Miller has seen clients who use their calendars reactively, only following whatever has to be plugged in. For example, she throws in a random date for a dinner with a friend as opposed to a recurring, proactive schedule that says, ‘I’m going to have dinner with a friend once a month.’ To alleviate that, Miller suggests, “Ask yourself, ‘Are you filling your calendar with purposeful events, or is your calendar just following you with all the random things you choose to say yes to throughout the week?’”
- Don’t forget to plan for the unplanned. We all end up putting out little fires over the course of the week, so where do you find time to fight those fights? “The best practice is to plan for it,” Parrill says. “I don’t leave it white in my calendar because it makes me feel like I have extra time. I make all of my flex time pink, and I know anything that’s pink on my schedule I can fill with whatever I need to do if it becomes urgent.” And if fires don’t arise? “I use those time blocks for thinking time and personal development,” Parrill says.