As my business has grown these past two years, I have gained more clients. THIS is a good thing. However just like many people, I have to balance my growing portfolio of clients with my life. Having my office at home is an awesome thing, but it does require some man-made ‘separation of church and state’ if you know what I mean. Many people have asked me how do I keep track of all my clients and my family to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
There are three main things with the last being the most important:
- Calendar Maintenance
- To Do List
- Daily POWER HOUR
Calendar maintenance is a must in most people’s lives. Luckily, I enjoy keeping a calendar and have never found it to be a burden. I use both a paper calendar as well as an online one. I use them both for reference and only make a commitment after seeing both.
My paper calendar is from Day Designer and has both a monthly and daily layout where I can keep track of my days by the hour. It also includes my To-Do list which I will get to in a minute. My planner is my personal guide to Jenny and my business. With just a glance, I know how busy my upcoming day is and about how many hours I will be billing.
My online calendar is through Google. During the day, I keep it open on my both my iMac and phone. It gives a me a great overview of my schedule when I am out and about and someone asks me something off the cuff. It is also invaluable for sending calendar invites to other people for meetings. I can include all of the details for a meeting and know that the other person has this information as well. Each of my calendars compliment each other and have their purpose. They keep me on track and are my hourly reference for what comes next in the business and for my family.
My To Do list as I said is in my paper calendar. I am able to mark long range project due dates as well as a task that I know needs to be done the following day. I write everything on this list and I am not ashamed to say if I do something that is not on the list, I still write it in later. Why? Not because I want to look super busy cool, but rather because it helps me reference when I did something. I like to know when I performed a task or what was added to my day; it is a record. This is not be confused with an hour tracker; I have a whole other program for that and I will share that one of these days. My To Do list is my daily and weekly guide to what needs to be done. It is not necessarily in the order of when things should get done, but my daily tasks can all be found there.
This brings me to my POWER HOUR. Yes, I need to write this in all caps because it is that important. My PH (less obnoxious?) is the same time each day in the morning when I reflect on how my day ended yesterday and take a look at my To Do list for today. When the kids are in school, this hour falls around 9 am. They are gone and I am able to truly focus on prioritizing. This summer it has been heavenly at 7 am–before they are up. I literally have a list with all of my clients on it. I go down client by client and think about what is needed for each of them. Most of the times, they are already on my To Do list, but sometimes by doing this a reoccurring task will pop up that I did not have written down. Or, by thinking about what happened yesterday, I will realize that I did not complete something and it needs to be as soon as possible. This is also a chance for me to send project-based clients who might be currently dormant an email to check in and see if they need any assistance at the moment.
As most of you have read about me, I wake up early–5 am early. But I am not going to lie, 5 am is too early for a PH. That time is for my easier tasks on my To Do list. I do schedule the PH as early as I can, so that anything that is a priority will not be missed but I fear 5 am would make for a reckless PH. My daily PH is my guarantee that I will not forget or neglect a client. By looking at their name in print, I am forced to recall what’s the latest and greatest with them. And though it is called an hour, it rarely takes that full amount of time.
So what is your POWER HOUR? Mine is when I take inventory and ensure that all my clients are being served to the best of my ability.