It doesn’t matter what type of work you do or where you do it. The greatest frustration is the constant battle for time. Most entrepreneurs we have worked with have attended numerous courses and webinars and purchased products on time management. Yet somehow all the planning, time templates, tools and concepts seem to blow up every 90 days leaving your calendar in chaos. You can set your clock to it. We are all faced with it…fighting for time. The team is fighting for time on the attorney’s calendar to fit in client appointments and for production time. The attorney is fighting for any time outside of client appointments to not only “get the work done” but to focus on future growth activities and projects.
The good news is there is a way to stop the exhausting pattern. The first step is to recognize the patterning of “time thievery” that creeps in every 90-days and to proactively put a plan in place to stop it. A huge misconception is that you can “fix” your calendar and it will stay that way. Because your work flow, type of work, team needs and personal commitments fluctuate, the plan for how to handle your calendar needs to be adjusted periodically.
It really is quite simple. RIGHT NOW, go to your calendar and book an appointment every 90-days for the next year. A real appointment, not an ‘if I don’t have anything else to do’ appointment! Preferably schedule this appointment on a Monday or Friday during on your Construction Days, to revisit your time template, analyze your the “Time Thievery” that is slipping into your day and check in on the important “stuff” you never got too over the past 30-days. See what is taking up your time and what isn’t making the cut. Adjust accordingly.
Sound too simple? Think you’ve already tried this and it has never worked? Convinced this might work for someone else but not YOUR practice? Think again. It…Really…Is… Simple. Don’t overcomplicate it! Your calendar seems overwhelming because it gets out of control and you are forced to deal with it reactively. The habit of adhering to the “Time and Money” way, or whatever time template you are using, and then a proactive scheduling a “90-day Time Analysis” with your key team member, does work. With a little determination and discipline, you will see results within 90-days.
Imagine a firm where you, as the entrepreneur, have uninterrupted, pre-determined space each week to tap into your creativity, nurture referral relationships and write without trying to cram these future-focused, revenue building activities in between the “stuff I have to do for the firm”. Whether you are awake to it or not, if you are NOT spending at least 20% of your time on intentional future building activities each week, you may be constantly dealing with inconsistent cash flow, unqualified clients and feeling like you own a job vs. a business.
The kicker is that prospective clients and referral course can sense the lack of future-focused space in your world with every interaction. It’s unfathomable to digest that year-end 2011 is just 11 weeks away, the holidays are swooping in and you have goals you haven’t been able to even start working on yet. This is the very reason to find time now to proactively address your calendar so it can provide you the time and space you need to handle your current commitments and have time for growth activities. Block the time out for the entire team to create a plan for your calendar and start proactively building your world for 2012 with safety nets in place every 90-days. Not sure where to start? We’ve already recorded the calendar conversation you need to have with your team! Order our Webinar download, “Time and Money” ($29). To order, email email@example.com.
(by Laney Lyons)
Have you ever found yourself listening to a speaker and getting chills because its as if they were sitting smack dab in the middle of what’s going on in your life? But they are more articulate than you could possibly find the words to be, providing powerful insight on why we make certain decisions. That happened to me this morning. While getting ready for work, my husband and I were listening to a sermon* and I literally got chills as I heard him explain exactly why my husband was heading to work this morning to turn in his resignation at a job he has worked at for over 14 years, so we can move from our hometown of Tampa, Florida to Detroit…just in time for winter!
The theme of the message was “The Danger of Not Moving Forward”. When the speaker described how people who aren’t moving forward become stagnant, critical and bitter it resonated. Two years ago, while writing “Don’t be a Yes Chick!”, Molly and I wrote this:
Nurturing and growing your team is a never-ending process. And if it does end, you’re in trouble because it means that your team is no longer growing. That’s the beginning of stagnation. Like sitting water, your team doesn’t just stop growing and stay in place; they start to rot and eat away at all the standards, training, and culture that you’ve built. If a team isn’t motivated by growth, they’ll focus on other things that are negative and unproductive. A team that doesn’t have goals becomes wrought with gossip, cattiness, blame, and complaining; hence, your work as a team leader is never done. You can either devote time to leading your team, or spend time reprimanding them. The choice is yours. We don’t know about you, but we have very little patience for reprimanding.
This morning, I heard this message spoken to me with stunning clarity. The danger of not moving forward is that you become stagnant. And when you are stagnant you are not in the mindset to attract opportunity or to recognize possibility. Not moving forward doesn’t have to mean physically relocating, but it does absolutely mean being in a place and a mindset where you can grow. When you align yourself with your purpose, a commitment to happiness and a place you can grow-all wrapped up in your integrity-it’s amazing how doors begin to fly open. Paradoxically, they open when you were just getting “comfortable”.
Two and a half years ago I left my job of 12 years to start my own business. I began the process of creating relationships in my life that are meaningful, supportive, and healthy; which allow all parties a space to grow and flourish. Some relationships were reinvented and some didn’t make the transition. Every day since, I’ve been moving forward. Sometimes with excitement, sometimes with fear, but moving forward nonetheless. At 12:10am, January 1st I became engaged to a wonderful man who brings me joy and happiness. A month later I returned to Cambodia for a second time to volunteer with orphans and friends we met two years prior. A few months later the “Don’t be a Yes Chick!” book launched, after two years of hard, exhausting work. Two weeks after that I was married. In the meantime my company’s revenues before the end of the third quarter exceeded our total revenues of 2010 while we were training yet another team member to support our growth. And now, Anwar (my husband) receives a completely unexpected offer to become lead beat writer covering the Detroit Lions for MLive.com and The Booth newspapers. All of the above is a result of staying committed to moving forward in my life.
Chapter Nine, of “Don’t Be a Yes Chick!”, is ironically titled “Growing Chick”. The premise of the chapter is Why Becoming a Leader is So Important, which discusses how bosses and team leaders can provide the leadership their team needs to be able to grow and flourish. Sitting here just two years after writing that chapter, I have my own team in the Don’t Be a Yes Chick! Virtual Book Club because if these amazing things can happen to me once I committed to moving forward I have to continue to share the same possibilities with my team. And I understand the importance of my role as a leader is so critical, personally and professionally.
Why am I packing my bags, my dogs and my laptop and moving from sunny Florida to Detroit just in time for winter? Because I understand The Danger of Not Moving Forward and the endless possibilities that are waiting around the corner that I’ll never know if I’m not willing to make the move to turn the corner.
* The sermon I was listening to is “The Danger of Not Moving Forward” by T.D. Jakes.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney