Q: Hello Kevin, I’ve had a pretty
successful sales career in the professional services market for almost 10
years. I married 2 years ago and just became a father. While I used to feel
like I had a grasp on my schedule, even when busy, now I feel as if I’m always
running out of time. I’m worried something will get missed or slip through the
cracks. How do you manage your busy schedule and what tips can you offer for
juggling a lot of “to do” tasks?
A: First of all, congratulations on
married life and parenthood. Those are two of the best things I have going for
me and I wish you the very best too. And, if you think life is hectic now,
just wait until you have two, three or more kids in the mix.
As a business leader, sales manager,
husband, father of three, volunteer to many activities, and someone that enjoys
staying active, my schedule can be overwhelming to say the least. Over the
years, as I have added more and more responsibilities to the day, week, month,
I’ve needed to monitor myself so I do not become so consumed with these
responsibilities that something winds up being overlooked. No matter how busy
you are, you don’t want something to slip through the cracks, because you may
not be able to get that “thing” back. So what have I done and do now? I use my
calendar like an ultimate lifeline.
I’ve found there is no real secret sauce
to managing my time except keeping track of it. I’ve had coworkers comment in
the past that my life is an open book in Outlook. They can see everything I
have going on and sometimes have asked me why I include personal items in my
work calendar. I do not believe in managing multiple calendars. I want to know,
through one spot, exactly what I have to do today and tomorrow and next week.
And so, my answer this week is fairly short, sweet and to the point…become an
open book with your schedule.
With Outlook you can mark items as
private and only you will see the details. But, no matter what, put every
single activity in your calendar, and monitor these activities closely. Here’s
what I do: I block time for all work meetings both internal and external. When
meetings are external during the business day, I add drive time to and from so no
one else can book a meeting in that time slot. I block calendar time for my
daily “to do” items, such as invoicing, conference calls with my attorney, etc.
I put in my doctor and dentist appointments with drive time to and from. I put
in my volunteer meetings with drive time to and from. I add my kids school
schedules, practice schedules, game schedules, recitals, band concerts, and
pretty much everything they have going on.
One major additional step that I do,
which I don’t think everyone remembers, and that is to match my calendar to my
wife’s calendar. I need to be on the same page every day with her. She needs to
know when I can or cannot pick up one of the kids due to a work commitment. I
need to know when she has an appointment and needs me to be home for a
delivery. We both need to know that our children and other personal “to do’s”
Once you make your life an open book and
have all of your activities, meetings, tasks, etc. all in one place for others
to see, you will then be able to hold yourself accountable for your time, and
others will be in a better position to help you manage your time too.