When thinking or having a conversation about an opportunity, people are good at asking and answering Who, Why, Where, and How, but not so hot on When. You don’t believe me? Look at the calendars of 10 people you know, then look at their to-do lists. If people were really as good at When their calendars would be filled with the most important things on their to-do lists. In her book, “Busy Being Busy” my friend Michelle Prince says, “You can learn a lot by paying attention to where you end up in the bookstore.” So true! I would add that you can also learn a lot by paying attention to what’s on your calendar.
Why is the calendar so important? Here’s what I know. What matters gets scheduled and what gets scheduled is more likely to be completed when it matters most. To-do lists are wish lists. Calendars are commitment lists with minute-by-minute calls to action.
Suppose you are a busy business owner and you are invited to a professional development event. You believe there is value in participating, but you hesitate. So, let’s start with a When question. “When do you want to start being more productive, making more profit, better serving your customers, and having more free time for yourself?” Typical answers to a question like this are: Immediately, Soon, Eventually, Some Day, and When I Have More Time.
Every one of these answers is vague and shows a lack of commitment. Each would be easily made specific by assigning to it a date and time AND more real by putting it on the calendar. So, here is your formula for success:
- Always choose what matters most.
- Always schedule what matters most.
- What gets scheduled gets done.
- What gets done, makes a difference.
Life is simpler than we realize when we prioritize and organize!