Are You Flying Off The Seat of Your Pants? Forecast Before You Launch

Are you flying off the seat of your pants? Are you moving from one appointment to the next? Does your week run together? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, this article is for you. This article will highlight tips to forecast your week, tools to use, and how to manage your time better. And if you have any tips to share, we’d love to hear them.

The term forecast is related to weather, but as a noun it is a prediction or estimate of future events. If you run a business or are trying to accomplish a goal, you might forecast upcoming events to attend, appointments to make, and other work that needs to get done. Simply put, to forecast your week can be your guide of what you needs to get done instead of what can be done.

Forecast Before You Launch

What does it look like to forecast? We know to map out your week can be tiresome. How are you suppose to know what the next few days will bring? Try to pick a weekly schedule or routine and stick with it. We like to have a daily agenda made at least two weeks in advance for meetings, projects, daily business demands, etc. to commit the time it takes to do whatever IT is.

What does a weekly routine look like? We are a business that runs Monday through Friday with business and outside client commitments. This is a brief description of what we aim to do:

Sunday:  Day of rest, forecast for an hour with calendars*

Monday:  Work half day

Tuesday:  Work full day / Schedule and Attend Meetings

Wednesday:  Blog / Work Full Day

Thursday:  Work half day/ schedule Friday Focus

Friday:  Work half day

Saturday: Evaluate week / Make Note of High’s and Low’s

This routine is a general guideline of what we hope to accomplish each week. It is flexible to a degree where we can move items around. We have learned the more consistent our schedule is the more productive we are on those days.

How do you forecast? We use calendars to remind us of what is important and what isn’t. We limit our forecasting to an hour on Sunday to save us a time later. We have noticed our productivity has increased throughout the week instead of backtracking and flying off the seat of our pants to the next appointment.

We love electronic and hard-copy calendars. We use iCal for Apple and synced it with Google Cal. We know not everyone uses Apple or Google so we chose to use both to maximize our availability and diversity.

iCal synced with Google Cal

We send meeting requests by inviting whom we are meeting with to the meeting through Google Cal. (Since our electronic calendars are synced, the invitation shows up on our iCal as well.) We keep our Google Cal meetings “private” so each meeting shows us as “busy” to those who can view our calendar. Clients who ask to see our calendar can, but we keep the privacy of other client meetings and appointments private. Do you like privacy or public calendar settings?

The hard-copy calendars we use are from Get Buttoned Up (under the Productivity Section). Other great resources can be found here. We download and print out the “too many to-do’s” and make out our weekly list. We use a daily calendar to map out the day here and fill in our productivity for the week here.

The idea is to get ALL your to-do’s off your mind and on a the “too many to-do’s” list.

Too Many To-Do's

When you print out the daily calendar, you can put the to-do on which day fits your schedule or routine best.

Daily ScheduleAnd lastly, evaluate your productivity to see if this is working for you or not. We have used this system for a while now and found the first two to be the most beneficial for us and our focus. The last form we don’t always have time to go back and fill out, but try to review the days to see if we accomplished what we had set out to do.

Weekly Time Management

Now, where to begin? Use the resources we had mentioned or find others to forecast your week better. The key is find what works for you. Not everyone has the same method that will work for you. Ask friends or business partners for tips. And lastly, share your best practices with us and we will be glad to tell others about them.

If you LIKE my business page on Facebook, you will see a common thing happening on Fridays I call a “Friday Focus”. The topic varies by what you suggest or what comes to mind. My goal is to help YOU, the reader, to take away something valuable than you may not have considered before. If you want to contribute to an upcoming Friday Focus, please leave me a comment and we can make it happen.

Focus, Plan, Rest, and Repeat.

Ask any entrepreneur whose clock he or she is on and they will tell you, someone else’s. I thought I would have plenty of “me time” when I branched out on my own, but it has be far from the truth. I report to clients, assistants, contacts, and many more at any given time of the day. The best way to secure some time aside for rest is to make it.

An average work week consists of me working 5.5 to 6 days a week. During that time frame, I schedule time for meetings, e-mails, online relationships, in-person relationships, projects, and the list goes on. I take a half day on Sunday to rest and focus for what lies ahead. I take another half day on a slow day to catch up on other things off the to-do list.

Even with all the technology we have today, I still favor the pen and paper to focus and plan my week. On Sunday’s, I map out my week that starts like this:

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When I can visually see how my work week looks like, I see where I need to rest, focus, or plan. Since scheduling works best for me, I block out adequate time or me to rest in between.

Rest, to me, includes:

– Leisure Reading
– Floating on Pinterest
– Exercising
– Taking a Nap time
– Meal Prep
– Cooking/Baking
– Netflix break
– Yobe run
– Grocery Shopping
– Meditation
– Going for a Walk
– Instagram feed

After resting in the one or more of the events above, I am energized to repeat the process all over again.

How does your week look like?

When Was The Last Time You Did Something For the First Time?

Last time I wrote about “whatever I think, I become” and have used this time to focus on positive thinking. There have been days when this was easy and others when it is the furthest from my mind. Since I wrote it, I decided to fill my head with outside inspiration.

I admire my friends who find the time to read. Seriously. I miss the days I was assigned to read because I knew it was expected of me. Today, I cannot join a book club without my schedule getting most of my time. If I want “me” time, or a break from the norm–I have to schedule it or it just might not happen on its own.

I used a “Friday Focus” status update on Facebook to talk about “scheduling a balanced work week”. It has been a comfort knowing what needs to get done on what days. I add mini projects on each day. This past week, I scheduled myself a longer lunch to catch up on reading. I had a meeting at 4:30 in the afternoon, so I went to Starbucks three hours early to have lunch and read.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Read in Starbucks (or anywhere for that matter) on your own time? “Tall passion tea for Rachal.” It’s a rush! I encourage you to reach out and experience it for yourself! All you need is a good book and an open mind to absorb what new adventures your mind will take you.

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