You want to do all these great things, grow your part of the practice, and achieve your chargeable time targets. In fact you NEED to move your career forwards, is it stuck at the moment? BUT, there’s no space in your diary? It’s time to slash and burn.
What are you going to do with your time?
You are about to clear out space from your diary and if you don’t fill it with something else, it will fill itself again. It’s a bit like the person giving up smoking; they need to do something else with their hands (apparently). Find clear things that are worthy of huge focus and energy in your firm before you start emptying your diary..
The Diary Destruction derby – 12 ideas to clear space in your diary
- Bayonet the dead! How many things have you decided not to do, that are still creeping forwards? Are members of your team still doing things you thought were dead, are you keeping some things alive despite telling yourself you’d stopped? Wipe everything that isn’t related to current projects or clients.
- Be brutal: Remove the least important diary entry from every day in the next three weeks; reschedule or destroy it. What will really happen? Ask yourself if you were off sick, or there was an emergency would it matter – what’s the worst that could happen?
- Purge Procrastination: What are you working on that you really think you ought to stop? Procrastination steals diary time, drains energy and leaves you feeling washed out. List the decisions that you’ve put off lately, decide NOW or move them forwards in your diary by three months and then forget them till then. That means no more work on anything related to them, if there’s not enough evidence to go forward with them now, don’t waste time on them.
- Get colourful: Take 3 highlighter pens and mark each diary entry BLUE (if it’s building a blue sky future), BLACK (if it’s about clients and keeping your firm in the black) or RED (of it’s doing “stuff” that support the other two. Anything that isn’t highlighted – STOP doing! Challenge yourself with every red entry; do YOU really need to do it? Give it to somebody else, or outsource it.
- Travel: What would really happen if you scheduled into geographic blocks, so you spent less time travelling? Some people wouldn’t be seen quite as quickly, does this matter more than you clearing your diary? Could you use a video conference instead, Skype is free!
- Space: Diarise 30 minutes between every appointment, and allow for proper travelling time. You’ll feel less stressed, drive more safely and you will be more respectful of the person you’re meeting. Arriving late is totally disrespectful. Yes, you’ll have less appointments and might sit around for longer – have a dead time list. You’ll get loads more done.
- Meet yourself: Schedule “me time” and what you’ll do with it. Go for 45 minutes a day where you work on specific projects and nothing else.
- Post meeting time: Always give yourself 15 minutes after a meeting, write notes, clear your head and get ready for the next session. It’s obvious, but it’s so much quicker when it’s fresh in your head.
- Time Blocks: Set up blocks of time that relate to categories of things you need to do, in those times work only on your to do list items for that category (Marketing, Strategy, Client time, etc). Read more about Time blocks here.
- Your Time Thieves: What is special to you that steals your time? What will you do about it?
- Dress: Dress in way suitable for your planned day. If it’s a non client day, don’t dress for clients – then you can’t be tempted. It’s a sneaky trick, but it works.
- Now ask your closest colleague what they think should be done with your diary, I bet they’ll find more things that should go!
If you haven’t got a more profitable diary now, it’s time to think about what you’re trying to do in your firm and what is simply not going to happen.
Nothing will change if you don’t.
What’s your favourite tip for clearing space in your diary? Jon Baker is a Business Coach, Sales Trainer and Experienced Public Speaker who specialises in working with partners and potential partners from small firms – typically up to 10 partner practices. He helps the professionals with 5 to 50 staff improve their performance and grow their firm, sustainably, profitably and whilst enjoying the experience.