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Tactics to help protect your schedule


Time preferences

Successful entrepreneurs, investors, athletes and artists all end up structuring their days.

Even though it sounds constraining at first, when your environment becomes chaotic with requests coming left and right, this structure will help you stay in control, reduce stress and navigate the craziness of the week.

Most people use this technique one way or another, creating time blocks for some activities, from family time, sport etc.

Nicole Glaros, a partner at Techstars, is known to be extremely available for all the entrepreneurs she supports. You can call her at 3am and she will pick up to deal with an emergency. However, she makes it very clear to everyone that she is unavailable in the morning until 10am. This is her time! She uses that time for personal activities, sport and reflection. This is her way to recharge her batteries and deal with the craziness that will hit her throughout the week.

You need to find what works for you and define a structure that leaves you with a feeling of control. For me, the morning is about making progress on tasks that requires focus. I use the afternoon for meetings. Some people prefer to focus in the evening when the kids have been put to bed.

Find what works for you!

Once your structure defined, try not to break it even though it is not always possible as emergencies occur.

For instance, it would make little sense to tell an investor visiting your city for two days that you can only meet with her next week on Tuesday between 5pm and 7pm. This is an extraordinary situation. You can and should make an exception.

However, catching up with another entrepreneur is likely not a priority. It would be best to take into account your preferences and postpone the meeting until next week so as to save some time for you to complete your tasks of the week.

You obviously need to be flexible but the structure must come first; exceptions come after. The way you are operating right now is likely the opposite with exceptions taking over the priorities you have defined at the beginning of the week.

This methodology will help you protect your schedule against intrusions from colleagues but, most important, from yourself because it is easy to lose control and fall back to your bad habits.