We are at a vital time in the current evolution to the “new normal.”  Right now, we should be “warming up” so that, as soon as lock down is ended, we’re ready for the sprint ahead.  As business owners, we need to be getting ourselves, our teams and our businesses fit to lead the race and take advantage of the new opportunities that will be available.

The first business tool I’d like to share with you that will help you get out of the starting blocks is the humble Default Diary.  This is a simple but powerful tool to help you manage yourself and your time.  And of course, something that you can introduce to your team members to ensure that they are also managing themselves and their time to best effect.

What is a default diary?

In its simplest form, a default diary is just a calendar of your week, split into appropriate time slots. It can be a 5 day week, 7 day week or however you want to show it.  In fact, you could have a fortnight or a whole month – it all depends on what works for you and your business.

Here is a simple example …

Just make sure you’ve scheduled time to do all the important tasks that will make a difference to the success of your business and your life.  Then you can just repeat, from week to week.  Simple!

Why is a default diary so useful?

I’m sure you’ve heard the story about filling a jar with rocks, pebbles and sand.  Well, the default diary makes sure that you’ve got all your minerals in your jar!  Using a default diary ensures you’ve scheduled time to focus on all the important things.

Planning your week out like this gives you a feeling of control and focus. This will help you move from a reactive to a proactive way of working.  It will also reduce your stress levels!

Focus on one thing at a time

By planning to focus on only one area of your business at a time, you’ll do less rushing around and firefighting.  This will make you more efficient and effective.  Rather than dealing with what comes up first, you’ll focus on what is important, not just what’s urgent.  Unfortunately, it also means that you can’t keep putting off the things you don’t like doing!

Schedule some “you” time

The default diary isn’t all about work!  It’s also useful for scheduling the relaxation time, social time and exercise you need to keep you happy and effective.  Knowing you’ve got all the work bases covered during your working week means you can enjoy your down time without feeling guilty.  It also helps you stop wasting your weekends and evenings doing work related chores that would be much better left until you have the focus to deal with them properly.

Time to get started!

The format for your default diary is up to you – be it Google calendar, an annotated desk diary, or a colour-coded spreadsheet pinned to the wall.  Just use whatever tool works well for you.  It may be a case of trial and error to find the right fit, but keep going, it will be worth it!

You can choose to share your default diary with your team, so they know what you will be working on when.  This means they can ensure they’ve done their tasks so you have what you need to do yours.  Also, they’ll know when you’re not to be disturbed!

So now you have a simple but powerful time management weapon in your armoury, you’re ready to come out fighting!