Time Management Tips: The Incredible Shrinking Calendar

Is your calendar suffocating you? It’s time to turn it into The Incredible Shrinking Calendar so you can get more done in less time. This week’s video has a productivity hack you don’t want to miss!
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Introduction

Today we’re going to talk about something I call “The Incredible Shrinking Calendar.” When I think of The Incredible Shrinking Calendar, I am reminded of that scene in the first Star Wars movie when they’re in the trash compactor. The walls are closing in on them, and they’re all in there yelling and screaming. Luke is trying to figure out something to save them and R2-D2 is somewhere else on the ship trying to stop the trash compactor. Finally, Chewbacca took some big old pole and put it in between the walls closing in on them and just in time R2-D2 is able to stop the compactor. 

I want you to imagine your calendar’s four walls closing in on you. A little bit of pressure is good, but too much pressure is not good. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to your calendar’s four walls, go back and watch last week’s video where I show you how to build out your calendar for the week.

When you picture your calendar, it has four walls: a top and a bottom, which is when you start and end your day, and a left and a right, which is when you start and end your week. That calendar is going to look different for everybody but the point is that it’s got boundaries. When I started working with my coach about getting more done in less time, I was working 15-16 hours a day and 7 days a week. I said I want to work a little less, and she said, “Great! Let’s eliminate Sunday. You can’t work on Sunday anymore!” I said, “Fine, but there’s going to be things I don’t get done.” Her reply was, “No you can’t work on Sunday anymore. But you need to get the same amount of stuff done, just in less time.” Eliminating Sunday worked so well that we elimited half of Saturday. Same thing happened. I had to get the same amount of work done in less time. Then we eliminated the second half of Saturday. Then we eliminated Friday afternoons.

We started shrinking the times and eventually after about two years we ended up with a very manageable boundary of time. I work a lot Monday through Thursday and I work Friday mornings, but I try to take Friday afternoons off. I can’t always do it, and I’ll explain more about that later. The point is I still work a lot of hours, but I work the hours I want when I want. We have shrunk my calendar down to a point that is very manageable for me, but the key was I couldn’t get less done. If anything I had to get the same amount of work done in less time or get even more work done in less time. There’s a word for that, and it’s called efficiency.

Shrinking down your calendar

Let me break this down for you in two rules or steps that I think will dramatically help you shrink your calendar. Some of you are owners and managers, you want to be able to get more done in less time, be able to go home, take some time off and spend some time with your family but you have so much to do in the office. Here are two keys to get this done:

  1. Efficiency. You have to do tasks faster, be able to transition from task to task faster and have less distractions. Distractions are a big one and we’re going to talk a lot about distractions in next week’s video. But those are the general rules for efficiency.
  2. Delegating. We all have the same amount of time in our days but how do some people get more done than others? While some are just more efficient, some just delegate better. I’m sure you’ve been told that you can improve delegating, and you need to delegate more. You’ve got this team of people that should be helping you. Let me let you in on a little secret – the problem with delegating is you don’t have a system. Even when you do delegate, it usually doesn’t get done right and  then you end up doing it yourself. Here’s a simple rule: if something has to get done two times or more, you have to have a system for it. A process, procedure, documentation or something so you can better delegate that to your team. 

Summing it up

If you want to shrink your calendar down and build what I call “The Incredible Shrinking Calendar” (a calendar where you don’t work 6-7 days a week at 14-15 hours a day), if you still want to move your business forward, make more money, take a little more time off or have a little more freedom, then you have to get better at building systems, processes and procedures. Part of the answer is moving faster but that’s not everything. The other part is delegating or outsourcing depending on what role you’re in. The challenge that most people have with delegating and outsourcing is that they don’t have a system or process. 

Everything I do is about systems, processes and procedures, so if you need more help on that please check out some of our programs. Our best program is called SCALE. You will learn a lot more about building systems, processes and procedures in that program. We also have some other programs that you can check out at therestaurantboss.com

We have one more video in this series about time management, and it’s about eliminating distractions and getting rid of what I call the time-sucking vampires. I hope you enjoy this week’s video. I look forward to bringing you the next one next week. 

If you missed any of the past week’s videos in this series, check them out:

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