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.

Need a Personal Assistant? Download Donna.

We all have days where our meetings run back to back. Sometimes we get a break when they are in the same office or general area, but sometimes we are jumping across town to fight traffic. How can we predict that? We can’t. Maybe a Personal Assistant can help. Download the Donna app.

We know the phrase, “If you’re on time, you’re late” and before I started using Donna, I was always running late. I used to blame it on traffic because it was true, but after I used the excuse I realized it wasn’t a valid, professional excuse. I researched and found the rating to be favorable to try asking Donna for help.

If you are comfortable sharing Donna your GPS location, then you are going to appreciate its features! The account preferences include setting favorite locations such as home, work, or regular meeting spots. The notifications will allow Donna to alert you of an upcoming meeting in your calendar up to 30 minutes before the meeting.

 

How my looks like...

My iCal and Google Cal has been shared with Donna, so the app knows when my meetings take place on any given day. Under each appointment, Donna will ask where am I coming from and where is the location of the meeting. Set the two locations and choice of preferred method of transportation (walk, bike, public transportation, or car) and it will estimate your departure time. Note, this does change throughout the day because it calculates with traffic and weather updates.

My rule of thumb is to check this the night before and set my locations accordingly. My notifications are set to 30 minutes before my meeting so I can glance at when I should be ready to leave. If the locations worry you because you don’t know the physical address, you are in luck. The GPS feature can help you search for the meeting place and pinpoint it.

Now, I’ll never be late for a meeting again…unless I get stuck in traffic.

Donna was featured in the L.A. Times.

How Do You Do Your Morning?

Whether you have to punch a time clock or not, you have to be ahead of the clock. What projects need your attention today? What can wait until tomorrow? Sometimes the answers to these critical questions begin with a good start to your morning.

Do Morning

How do you do your morning?

Fuel. For me, it starts by getting up early. I have had bad allergies for as long as I can remember so my morning “pick me up” is not coffee, but Naked juice “Blue Machine”. An eight ounce glass gives me enough B vitamins to wake my senses and ward off my allergens. I love oatmeal and bagels that contain more blueberries to double my intake of antioxidants.

Refresh. I am my own worst critic. If I think I should be further along on a project than where it is, I can beat myself up over it. These thoughts are not good in the morning, so as I drink my “Blue Machine” juice, I pray and count my blessings. When I focus on the positive things is in my life, it creates an empowerment for me to tackle projects and life.

Top 4. Every morning I check my “Reminders App” on iMac and decide what is today’s “top 4” items to get done. By narrowing down my never-ending to do list, this helps me feel eager to do four instead of a daunting billion.

E-mails before lunch. I don’t check or respond to e-mail until about mid-morning to early lunch time. If it was urgent, I am sure someone would have called before then. When I go through my e-mails, I include news articles and daily buzz to see if my content is relevant on my platforms.

How do you start your day? How do you do your morning?

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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