Do you get sweaty palms every time you open up Google Calendar? Groan when you get a “new meeting scheduled” notification? If so, you might need to spring clean your calendar and set some new boundaries when it comes to your schedule.
Ready to simplify, organize, and spring clean your calendar? Here’s how to get started!
What’s the Point of Spring Cleaning?
Spring cleaning is the practice of deep cleaning your home to help you recover from winter and get ready for spring. And while it typically refers to your physical space, there’s no reason you can’t use springtime to give your business a much-needed tidying up as well.
Just like a clean home, a tidy business improves your mental clarity and productivity. When you spring clean your business, you create an environment that makes work more peaceful and enjoyable.
4 Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Calendar & Learning to Say “No”
Ready to start your spring cleaning? Start with these four steps.
STEP 1: Set real working hours.
Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you can’t set a real work schedule. Decide when you want to work every day, and set those as your “office hours.” Outside of that time, you don’t do any work–no client emails, last-minute Voxer messages, or brainstorming sessions. Put your working hours in your email signature, and turn off notifications at the end of the day to avoid getting sucked back into work.
During your working hours, make sure you’re devoting the majority of your time and energy to work. It’s okay to run out for a long lunch with a friend every once in a while, but the more you dip into your work hours, the more tempted you’ll be to dip into your personal hours.
STEP 2: Limit your daily to-do list.
Nothing’s worse than getting to the end of your workday and realizing you have a ton of tasks left to complete. The best way to avoid this isn’t to make your workday longer, but instead to make your to-do list shorter.
Personally, I keep my daily to-do list limited to three to five items. These are the tasks I have to get done that day to stay on track with my goals. If I finish them early, I can work ahead on other projects. But keeping my to-do list small helps me manage my expectations and avoid working late or on weekends.
STEP 3: Learn how to say “no thanks” to unpaid work.
I know what you’re thinking: I never take on unpaid work! But if you really think about it, you probably spend a lot of your work hours doing work you’re not being compensated for. Learning to say no might feel uncomfortable at first, but is crucial in order to protect your energy. This might include…
- Coffee dates. It feels nice to meet with prospective mentees and people who want to “pick your brain.” But if you’re spending several hours of your workweek in these meetings, you’re basically performing coaching or consulting work without being paid for it.
- Excessive client communication. Ever answer a client email outside of working hours? Attend a meeting that’s outside of your contract? Guess what–that’s unpaid work, and unpaid work is clutter on your calendar.
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- Consulting outside of your contract. If a client pays you to perform a specific task, you do that task. It’s so easy to get caught up in your clients’ businesses, but beware of scope creep. If they want to ask you questions and get your advice on things outside of your contract, offer them a consulting rate.
It might feel harsh to say “no” the first time, but trust me, it does wonders for your work-life balance. Plus, the more focused you can be during work hours, the more time you can spend on yourself after work!
STEP 4: Plan well in advance.
Once you get a handle on your daily and weekly calendar, you can start planning even further in advance. Look at the coming month or quarter, and block off personal days, holidays, and focused work days when you don’t want to take meetings. If you use a scheduler like Calendly or Honeybook, make sure these days are reflected in your calendar in the app as well.
Planning a few months in advance has allowed me to better prepare for big changes in both my life and business. I can take a week off without cramming the week before, or I can schedule a work-only week where I don’t make plans with friends. I can finish client projects far in advance and wow them with early deliveries. And the best part, I no longer hold my breath when I open my Google Calendar. I know exactly what I have planned for the next few months, so I can go about my day-to-day life with confidence and ease.
Want to declutter your business and invite ease into your life?
Your environment–physical, mental, and digital–plays a huge role in your wellness. If you want to invite more ease into your life, check out my free class “3 Steps To Stop Letting Your Business Run You.”