In business as well as in life, you need to schedule everything.

This concept seems so simple, but a problem so many entrepreneurs struggle with is scheduling. It’s difficult but so important to set aside dedicated time for personal development, your kids’ events, quality time with your partner, and even personal care appointments, like visiting the doctor or getting your hair done.

One of my clients is a successful entrepreneur in the medical industry who struggled greatly with scheduling. He described the way he felt as being similar to a hamster on a wheel, going around and around but actually getting nowhere. He felt like he was flying by the seat of his pants each day, rushing from patient to patient, but neglecting many of the obligations he had in his personal life. Many of the things he said he wanted to make happen weren’t happening because he didn’t actually schedule them. For example, he said he wanted to make it a goal to work out every day, but he failed because he didn’t schedule it and let other things get in the way. As a result, he felt sluggish and tired and wasn’t the best version of himself. After he decided to really make exercise a priority, however, he scheduled workout sessions very early each morning before the work day began, so nothing could distract him. All he needed to realize was that taking care of himself is just as important as an appointment with a patient and that his personal time deserved the same level of scheduling as his work obligations do.

When you’re an entrepreneur, there isn’t anyone making you clock in at 8:00 a.m. and clock out at 5:00 p.m. Your schedule is completely up to you, which is a wonderful thing, but too much freedom can actually be detrimental. You must make a schedule that works for you and your lifestyle, or nothing will ever get accomplished. A schedule makes you feel in control of your environment. If you’re protective of your time and schedule everything that’s important to you, your personal and professional life will reap the benefits.

Make time for the things that are important to you and stick to it. Most people make a schedule for their work obligations, but neglect scheduling their personal life, which leaves them feeling unfulfilled and like they’re coming up short. My friends laugh at me because I have a very strict schedule that I follow every day: waking up at 4:30 a.m., working out, meal prepping, getting to the office at 7:15 p.m., working until 4:00 p.m., and then going to bed at 9:00 p.m. It might seem like a lot, but it helps me feel in control of my day and it allows me to dedicate the necessary time and effort to each item on my list. Plus, this schedule allows me to spend a lot of quality time with my family after work, which is so important to me. It’s all about identifying what your personal and professional priorities are, creating the right routine, and sticking to it.

My Google calendar is truly my best friend. Every single thing I do is on the calendar, whether it’s work appointments, deadlines, nail appointments, or even Saturday yoga with my mom – it’s all there. If I don’t put it in the calendar, it’s not getting done. I encourage anyone to use Google calendar, because it syncs up with your phone and gives you reminders when you have tasks coming up. Having a digital calendar in our day in age is so important, and allows you to be flexible. Even when you’re not at the office, you can access the calendar on your phone and make changes on the fly.

I always try to treat my personal care and personal development appointments just like I would an appointment with my number one clients – they are non-negotiable and are equally important! If you don’t dedicate time to take care of yourself, you won’t be able to show up and do your best each day for your team, clients or customers.

The phrase “I just don’t have enough hours in my day” really isn’t true. A great exercise to do is map out your day and record where your time is really being spent. Once you write everything down, decide which items are important for you to do and which can be delegated to a team member. Look at where you’re overcommitting and under-committing your time and make adjustments.

Which areas are you failing in because you haven’t properly scheduled your time? Maybe it’s a relationship, your nutrition, or wanting to learn a new professional skill. The most successful entrepreneurs I coach schedule out everything in their lives and stick to it.

Here are my seven best scheduling tips:

  1. Understand what you can realistically achieve with your time each day and schedule it accordingly.
  2. Make sure you have enough time for essential tasks. If you don’t, you may need to re-prioritize your time or get up earlier.
  3. Add contingency time for the unexpected.
  4. Avoid taking on more than you can handle. ‘No’ is a powerful word.
  5. Schedule things you have to do daily to reach your financial and business goals. These are the non-negotiables.
  6. Have enough time for family, friends, exercise and hobbies – these are just as important as work!
  7. Achieve a good work-life balance.

Time is the one resource we can’t buy, but we often waste it or use it ineffectively. Scheduling helps you think about what you want to achieve in a day, week or month and it keeps you on track to accomplish your goals. You got this!

Deedra Determan, Founder

Deedra Determan started her career working in television for one of the top media companies in the country and later became a marketing consultant in the television industry.

Determan went on to launch a niche website for moms in her local market with over 100,000 moms visiting the website each month using the power of Facebook. After one year from launching, Determan sold the website to Oklahoma Media Company, Griffin Communications. Determan went on to launch a digital marketing agency, D2 Branding in Tulsa that was recently recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur360.

Determan is the host of the Do It My Way Podcast Show, empowering women business owners and CEO’s to do business on their terms with no regrets, hesitation or fear. Determan coaches these women on how to create a personal brand so they can live a life of financial freedom, working when they want to work and making the money they want to make!