121. Owning Your Calendar

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/121. Owning Your Calendar

121. Owning Your Calendar


What’s the most valuable asset that any of us have? It’s our time.

And yet how much are you utilizing your calendar throughout the day to keep yourself organized and on target. To communicate with team members and partners about your availability..

This is crucial as a leader and will send the right message to everyone that you work with.

Today I’ll be revealing 5 ways you can get started now.

Register for my Virtual Happy Hour: https://www.adamliette.com/virtual-happy-hour

Learn more at https://www.adamliette.com

Activate The Warrior Within https://www.adamliette.com/awaken-the-warrior

The Greatest Opportunity Of A Lifetime...

20 Business Owners Lives Will Change In 2024...
​...And I’m Personally Inviting You To Be One Of Them!

The Greatest Opportunity Of A Lifetime

20 Business Owners Lives' Will Change in 2024

​​... And I'm Personally Inviting You To Be One Of Them!


What's going on there smooth operators? Let me ask you a serious question. What's on your schedule for today? What's in your actual calendar? What are you supposed to be doing? Serious question because the calendar kind of gets a bad rap. It kind of gets thrown, you'll hear so many gurus or people talk about how like the entrepreneurial dream, no scheduled, do whatever you want, for our work week, whatever you want to attribute to it.

And over the years, I think for a while I bought into that bullshit. And I wasn't keeping a schedule, I wasn't owning my calendar, I wasn't communicating the things that I was doing in a way that could be not only intrinsically to myself, helping to guide my day helping to keep me on task, but also externally, letting people know when I was available, letting people know when I had things, letting people know my expectations and what I wouldn't want it to be doing throughout the day, not just within the business itself, but also in your interpersonal life.

Like where are you putting your time and energy and where you may be blocking your time and energy. And I found more and more that the higher my leadership goes, and the higher I'm expected to lead. The more and more I'm relying on my calendar to help guide my day to help communicate that to those around me. Because honestly, like leading a team, meeting real real people that they have needs to they need your time they need your attention. And you'll you'll hear so many actually I just interviewed someone, though their episode will be on in a couple of days. She mentioned how early on her slack would be she'd wake up to 4050 DMS every day. And I being off slack for a couple of hours would result in just this communication overload that was hitting her and I think that's more of more of what we see. And more. What I hear from others is that this constant boom, boom boom that you're getting in the information environment from around us. And just it just causes a bunch of noise causes a bunch of pressure we feel feels like we're always in a reactionary nature.

And the one thing I know about leading is that you can't be reactive, you have to be proactive.

So leading a team, being proactive requires you to have ownership of your time the most precious commodity that you have. And yet we treat it like it either needs to be minimized. It's that time are spent in the office like for example four hour workweek, which is actually a good book, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great principles in there.

Or we treat it as though whatever. And I know a lot of you are probably more in between and I get that so what I want to talk about is just different ways you can own your calendar, different ways you can start putting things in there in a way that that will give you momentum throughout the day help you to be more available to your team when they need that when they need you but also maintain that time for your focus from when you need to be left alone to accomplish the hard tasks that we know we get where we just can't be bothered because you'll hear this a lot. Military is notorious for this like saying I have an open door policy if you tell your team you have an open door policy it means you don't let's be perfectly frank what that phrase what it means versus how people perceive it. People even hearing that means that leave me alone. Right or wrong, fair or not doesn't matter. That's how that phrase has been perceived.

So I'd advise against ever telling someone you have an open door policy instead. Tell them something very simple book a time on my calendar. Because that puts them in the the or the ball in their court because imagine like let's say you tell someone, even in a perfect world, you tell someone I have an open door policy and they come in and you're like I really can't talk right now. Can we talk later? I have three meetings lined up, can we talk later? How were they supposed to know that now you've actually communicated the exact opposite.

There's so many things in our business in our leadership, where if we just give a slightest bit of control into someone else's hand, what that enables internally to them, is gargantuan. It means more than you could ever imagine it to mean. And I think you're gonna find it to do the same thing. For you. The first suggestion is that we know we're gonna have meetings, right, that's part of what we do.

Leadership syncs departmental meetings, marketing meetings, mentorship meetings, I mean, meetings are just it is what it is. Okay? What I would recommend is that you turn these into a cadence. So you have a steady, stable and predictable meeting schedule. So if you're supposed to meet with your leadership team, every week, put it at the same time and the same day of the week, if your team meeting is this is happening, put it same day, same time a day, departmental meetings, all of these things needed to be stable, because now you can plan your day around them, and you can find your energy around them. And those become like the Do Not book over this kind of thing, where you're not sitting there every week, like when are we going to meet and everyone's checking their calendars trying to figure out when they can meet.

Instead, it's stable, that will just that alone, releases a lot of pressure that we often feel in our days.

Now, I mentioned like open door policies, but what about open office hours. So this is something I've experimented with, you know, to varying degrees of success, it kind of depends on what's going on.

But if we're in the middle of a major mega project, and I know my team is going to need me, I will deliberately just block out time and put open office hours for this project. And during that hour, I'll start zoom.

So they can jump in at a moment's notice and find me there, I might not be paying attention the whole time when no one's on the call. So open zoom, and I'll go about my day working on other projects were another task. But the moment someone says, Adam, boom, on their cameras, turn the camera on, and I'm there, I'm immediately available for them. Like the speed at which you are available, communicates the importance of what you are placing on their needs. And that's huge that is perceived and felt throughout the team. And people go wow, even if they don't have to use it, just knowing that it's available.

It's amazing what that does. Just knowing that safety and security is there, and someone is out there to reach out to at an almost moment's notice gives people a lot of just security and good feelings as they move forward throughout the more difficult parts of their task.

So the big mistake I made when I started getting really diligent about my calendar was I would go and I'd try to block out the entire week and be like, these two hours, I'm working on this project, this project over here, and then I'm going to take two hours of reading time. I mean, like, it was absurd, I'd block out my whole week.

And I would never keep to it.

What's the point of doing this if you can't keep to it. So rather, I encourage weekly and daily scrubbing of your calendar. So I tend to do a pass on a Friday of what's coming up in the next week. Commit to anything that's that's been requested, I may make sure that they go into the weekend knowing that I've said yes to their calendar request. But also starting to think about where I want to put my block time because I do do blocked focus time throughout the week. And that's the next bullet point. Let's not jump to that. The point is, if we're doing it one week ahead of time, we're able to more accurately predict where we're going to be. If we try to block off anytime that we're not being booked, you're not going to have a good time. So rather instead of putting like a block and then an activity, I'll just sometimes put a block so I might put a block on Wednesday afternoon on the calendar but not indicate what I'll be working on because I want to make sure that whatever I'm going to be working on is something that I have the right energy for the right resources for you know, if you block focus time for a marketing project and you didn't get the copy, how can you possibly do that focus time? See how this can backfire? So rather instead, at the start of the day, I'll look i Okay i had this period blocked I have this period blocked out this period blocked what's on my to do list and then I'll start populating the things in their order priority so that I'm getting the things that are the most important done first. And that's really part of part four which is blocking time for focus hours.

You know having that time on your calendar, not too much of it, if you're exceeding about 20% of blocking time, you're you're probably doing it wrong and you're shutting your team out and honestly, you're not going to be at your most productive because you've you've just put these huge blocks of time on your calendar and focus work let's be realistic unless it's, I mean, there is some really heavy in depth stuff that you you might be doing that will take a concentrated block, but are in that I mean, you know 5060 minutes Sprint's tend to work better for most of us. So really start to think in terms of those hour long Sprint's the final step really is to start using schedulers. I mean, we've seen schedulers we've all booked time on a scheduler, but how many, how many of you are using them in your intra team relationships? We always use it to book a call with someone else over here or you know, book a call to be on a podcast. But how often are we using it internally, you know, so many of the tools that we're using, they're free, right? Like Calendly has a free level, I use, the new version of Click Funnels has a scheduler within it, I like that for some things. But I also have a schedule one, or schedule one subscription, because that allows me to do something really fun where I can make them select a couple of different times. So I'm still in the driver's seat.

But this is all synced up to that calendar that I that we've been populating. So someone wanting to book a time for me, if they don't have access to my calendar, they can still access me through the scheduler, and be able to see when I'm available that the times that I've made available for that day. And I'm not in a meeting. Because again, all of this is synced up. So it again puts that person in the driver's seat where they can feel like they have a little bit of control, and how they're going to book a meeting with you.

All right, so that was a quick dive into owning your calendar, why it's important and some practical tips to get started. This is one of those disciplines that once you really get the ball rolling, I think you're going to find it a very enjoyable process if you aren't enjoying it, or you're finding yourself feeling restricted, back off how many obligations you're putting on your calendar, and just maybe keep the most important ones. I mentioned, like I put on focus time, but unless I have something I really need to focus on, I might remove that time to give myself a little bit more breathing room and leeway to move about different projects as I please. Rather than feeling the need to always have stuff blocked off for that focus block of time, you're going to find the right balance for you. And as in all things really, that's the objective. It's finding what is a balance for you personally, while also being able to communicate with people that are working with you or people external to the company, so that they still feel empowered and enabled to book time to speak with you. I hope that helped.

Do you share any practical tips that you've come up with, I'm always learning new things, always trying new things. Love to hear from you. It's Adam at Adam liette.com. Now in just a couple of days, we're going to be having our first virtual dinner party or virtual happy hour I should say.

During this event, we're just going to be coming together having a couple adult beverages starting to connect, really just sharing things that are working with the objective for this first virtual Happy Hour being looking at our operations and our data. Cuz some interesting findings that I discovered over this past week that I want to share with you and get those get those wheels turning. So if you haven't blocked that time on your calendar yet to attend virtual happy hour, it's at the end of the workday on Friday. So take the time off, pour a beverage I'll see you there until next time operators lead the way.

Hey operators, I believe that within each and every one of us lies a warrior in waiting this warrior is able to conquer any obstacle that comes their way to discover how to awaken your warrior spirit and conquer what's holding you back. Go to Adam liette.com and join awaken the Warrior Within.

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Within each and every one of us lies a warrior in waiting.

Awaken Your Warrior Spirit...

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© Adam Liette Marketing

© Adam Liette Marketing

© Adam Liette Marketing